Pantry Basics: How to make semolina pasta at home
Posted on August 24, 2012 by S
This is one of my favourite recipes for homemade pasta because it results in a perfectly al dente noodle. The key to the success of this recipe from The Harry’s Bar Cookbook is the addition of semolina (which is what you’ll find in most commercially prepared dried pastas). If you like a more velvety, slippery texture to your pasta, my other preferred recipe (which happens to call for butter) is here.
While I will be the first to admit that it isn’t necessary to make your own pasta – many great chefs that I’ve had the fortune to interview have assured me that the top pasta producers deliver a superior product and are far more consistent – I do indulge in making a batch now and then for a special dinner party. The appeal of homemade lies in the fact that I can determine the profile of my pasta. By this, I mean its cross-section. I like the square cut spaghetti (using the tagliarini cutter) that our Marcato machine produces. In my mind, the edges give the pasta sauce a little more to cling on to. I also like the added flavour that eggs bring to spaghetti made using this recipe. Because this dough is resilient, I can also make thin tagliatelle that will not overcook rapidly while still retaining that all-important toothsome bite. One day soon, I intend to make this XO sauce and pair it with homemade tagliatelle. Yum! This is also the pasta I try to have on hand when CH makes his crab pasta with shellfish broth.
Semolina egg pasta dough
Adapted from The Harry’s Bar Cookbook by Arrigo Cipriani. This recipe results in pasta with a firm bite. I like that the dough is relatively easy to handle. While I use it for spaghetti, you can choose to use it to make tagliolini, tagliardi or tagliatelle as well. At Harry’s Bar, the same dough is used for ravioli and cannelloni. If you need a larger quantity of pasta, make multiple batches of this recipe. The dough is difficult to handle if you simply increase the quantities and try to make one large batch.
Makes 330g pasta (enough for 6 tiny appetizers or 4 heartier appetizers)
105g unbleached all purpose flour
105g semolina flour
2 large eggs (room temperature)
Combine the two flours in a large bowl, forming a small mound. Crack the eggs into a small jug and lightly whisk them with a fork.
Form a well in the middle of the mound of flour and add some of the egg, using a fork to incorporate the flour from the inner rim of the well. As you incorporate more flour into the dough, gradually add more of the egg until it is entirely incorporated. Knead the dough using the palm of one hand, folding the dough over with your other hand. Continue to knead the dough for 2 to 3 minutes until all the flour is evenly incorporated and you can shape the dough into a ball. It will not be perfectly smooth (as my picture illustrates), but that’s fine. Wrap the dough with cling wrap and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
Set up your pasta machine. Work with a quarter of the dough at a time, keeping the rest wrapped in cling wrap. Flatten the dough portion with the palm of your hand so that it can fit between the rollers positioned at their widest setting. Roll the dough once and fold the dough into thirds like a business letter (this means that you end up with a squat rectangle NOT an extremely skinny rectangle). Press down with your fingers so that the 3 layers are melded together. Pass the dough through the widest setting again. Repeat rolling and folding 7 to 8 times until the dough is smooth and elastic. Next, stretch the dough by moving the rollers to a narrower setting (do not fold anymore). Pass the dough through the rollers once (if necessary, dust with a little flour). Move the rollers down a notch then pass the dough through the rollers once. Keep repeating this process, moving the rollers down a notch until you get dough of your desired thickness.
I dust both sides of the rolled out dough with a little flour then trim my sheets to between 11 and 12 inches in length (basically to fit onto my tea towels) before cutting them into noodles. Lay the cut pasta on tea towels and set aside to dry slightly before cooking.