Makes 4 portions
Fresh Pasta Dough is easy to make, you’ll wonder why you never did this before. If you can find Italian / strong flour, use it to make very delicate, yet chewy pasta. If not, all purpose flour works really well.
500g/1lb all-purpose flour (strong flour), plus more for dusting
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
1. To make by hand, sift flour onto a clean working surface. Make a large well in the centre. Crack your eggs in a bowl and break up with a fork. Pour the egg mixture and the olive oil into the centre of the flour and keep whisking with a fork, flicking in the flour by hand as you do this. A dough ball will eventually form and use your hands at this stage to finish it off. Knead briskly for 1-5 minutes. (To make in the processor place the flour in a food processor and pulse it. Add the eggs and olive oil and keep whizzing until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs (it shouldn’t be dusty, nor should it be a big, gooey ball). This take 2-3 minutes. Tip out the dough and knead to form into a ball shape.
2. Knead it briskly for 1 minute, it should be quite stiff and hard to knead. Wrap in cling film and leave to rest in a cool place for 30 mins before using.
3. Now cut the dough into 3 pieces. With your surface dusted with semolina, roll the pasta into a rectangular shape. For each piece, flatten with a rolling pin to about 5mm thickness. Fold over the dough and pass it through the pasta machine at its widest setting, refolding and rolling 7 times (not changing the setting) until you have a rectangular shape 7.5x18cm (3×7 in). It is important to work the dough until it is nice and shiny, as this gives it the ‘al dente’ texture. Repeat with the second piece of dough.
4. Now you are ready to roll out. Start with the pasta machine at its widest setting, pass the dough through the rollers.
5. Do not fold but repeat this process, decreasing the roller setting down grade by grade with each pass. For most uses, I take the pasta down to the penultimate setting – especially for ravioli, as you are sandwiching two layers together when it is folded. Use straight away to make the ravioli. Helpful hints: – Always cover sitting dough with cling film or a damp tea towel to prevent it drying out. – Do not dredge the pasta in flour to prevent sticking, as the flour turns to glue when cooked and, ironically, causes the pasta to stick together (using semolina flour from Italian delis instead will help).
Rolling the pasta by hand:
1. Remove the dough from the cling film and knead lightly to incorporate any moisture back into the dough. Flatten the dough a little with your hands to form a round disc.
2. Begin rolling the dough from two thirds of the way down the disc using the rolling pin. Turn the disc 90 degrees and repeat until the dough is around 6mm thick.
3. Roll the top edge of the dough onto the pin and gently stretch the dough, roll the dough and turn 90 degrees and repeat this process,until the dough is transparent.
4. Leave on a dry tea towel to dry for a few minutes. The dough is now ready to shape into tortellini, ravioli etc, or to cut into sheets for lasagne or cut into tagliatelle.
To learn how to make pasta which will impress at your next dinner party come to our next Modern Pasta workshop.