A-Z of Making Pasta Shapes: Dough

Updated: Dec 16, 2021

Making homemade pasta in Italy is an ancient art and a very important culinary tradition.

Each region or even town has its own pasta shape made and dressed with what is locally available.

I know it may sound confusing but what all those different shapes of pasta have in common is the dough. You can use the same dough to make hundreds of pasta shapes.


In Italy, we have two main doughs: EGG DOUGH made with flour and eggs, which is used in the northern part of Italy and SEMOLINA DOUGH made with flour, water, and salt, used mainly in the South.

Now I am going to show you how making homemade pasta is really quick and easy. Read on to discover the tricks to kneading correctly, how to keep the dough from drying out, and how to cook and store it.


It doesn’t take long to make a fresh homemade pasta recipe: 15-20 minutes for a nice smooth and elastic pasta dough, 30 minutes of rest, 15 minutes to roll it out, and in about one hour, your fresh homemade pasta is ready!

So you just need to choose one of the doughs to get started!



How to Make Homemade Egg Pasta Dough


Ingredients for about 500g handmade pasta dough:

· 300g (1 + ½ cup) 00 soft wheat flour

· 3 large eggs


Yes, you basically need flour and eggs, that's all!

The ratio is 1 egg (If we want to be precise the weight of the egg should be 55g without the shell) for 100g of flour.


Tools needed:

- a medium-sized bowl

- a fork

- a wooden board

- pasta machine


What is 00 flour?

In Italy, wheat flour is categorised on how finely ground the flour is.

The grading system includes 2, 1, 0, and 00. Double zero — also referred to as doppio zero or 00 flour — is the most refined. The texture is silky soft, similar to baby powder, and will result in a silky and smooth pasta.

In Australia, you can find the Caputo 00 flour (probably the golden standard) in some Italian shops, but Woolworths has the Molino brand 00 flour that is also great.


Can you substitute all-purpose for 00 flour?

The simple answer is yes, you can. Many recipes that call for 00 flour will often call for all-purpose as a substitute. There shouldn’t be any problems using it, but you will notice a slightly chewier texture with the all-purpose.


How to make homemade pasta dough by hand

STEP 1. MIXING THE INGREDIENTS

Place the flour in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it.

Gently combine eggs with flour using a fork from the middle outwards.

With your hands, gradually incorporate the flour from the outside of the well towards the centre, kneading gently until the mass of dough comes together.

I find that starting in a bowl it's a less messy way to make pasta.



STEP 2. HOW TO KNEAD THE DOUGH

Put the dough on a wooden surface and knead it until it is smooth and resilient.

If the dough is sticky or extremely pliable, knead more flour in.

Using the heel of your hand, push the dough down and away from you, fold it in half back toward you, rotate a quarter turn, and repeat the kneading motion.

Work the mass of dough with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour for about 10-15 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic.



STEP 3. RESTING

Cover the dough in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before using. The plastic wrap is useful not to dry out the dough and let it go crusty around the edges while rolling it. The resting time is really important. That's when the magic happens! During the resting time all those tangled up gluten nets will rest


How to make homemade pasta dough in a stand mixer

You can choose to knead by hand as in the steps above or use a stand mixer (like the KitchenAid stand mixer).

Pour the flour into the bowl of your stand mixer and start mixing with the spiral dough hook at speed 1. Add the eggs, one at a time, and continue to mix for 5-6 minutes until the mixture is smooth but not compact. Now increase the speed to 2 and knead for another 5-6 minutes until a ball forms.

Turn off the machine, put the dough onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Knead by hand for 1 min. Now take the ball, wrap it in plastic, and rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.


How to make homemade pasta dough in a food processor

There is also another way to knead the dough, a rather time-saving and modern way that uses a food processor.

Firstly put the eggs into the mixer, then add the flour and pulse for three minutes until the mixture resembles wet sand. Continue mixing till the dough comes together and forms a ball.

Put the mixture onto a work surface lightly dusted with flour. Knead by hand for one minute. Wrap it and place it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before using it.



STEP 4. ROLLING

After the resting time, dust the work surface with some extra flour; divide the dough into three portions using a knife. Work with one portion at a time and keep the rest of the dough wrapped to prevent drying out. Press the portion of dough out flat with your fingertips.

Set the pasta machine at its widest setting— usually ‘0’ on my Marcato, but it depends on the kind of machine you use.

Pass the dough through the rollers once.



Fold the resulting strip into thirds.

Roll and fold the pasta dough through the widest setting three times until your dough has a rectangular and even shape. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it is at all sticky.



Narrow the setting of the pasta machine to position '1' and roll the dough through.

Continue passing the dough through the rollers, reducing the thickness by one setting each time until it reaches the desired thickness. It should now be very delicate, elastic to the touch, and slightly translucent. If the strip of fresh pasta is too long, divide it in half.


What shapes of pasta can you make with the egg dough?

Agnolotti al plin, Cannelloni, Cappelletti, Farfalle, Garganelli, Lasagna, Maltagliati, Marubini, Pappardelle, Ravioli, Sorpresine, Spaghetti, Tagliatelle, Tajarin, Tortellini, Tortelloni.


How to store homemade pasta

Let pasta dry on a wooden board or make some nests (for tagliatelle, tajarin, spaghetti, or pappardelle) with your hands and place them to dry on a tray dusted with flour. Either way, if you don’t cook the pasta immediately, store it in the refrigerator for one or two days.


How to freeze fresh homemade pasta

You can even freeze the various shapes of handmade pasta. For example, you could make tagliatelle and freeze them, so they will be ready to be cooked whenever you want.

Here’s how to do it:

Arrange them in nests and place them on a tray layered with some baking paper or a clean tea towel.

Then place the tray in the freezer. Wait one or two hours for the pasta to freeze. Now take the nests, which will be very stiff, and place them in a freezer bag or glass container.

You can keep fresh pasta in a freezer for about one month. After this period, it usually starts to crack.


How to cook frozen fresh pasta

When you want to cook it, don’t defrost but put it STILL FROZEN in plenty of salted boiling water. Stir often and cook for a few minutes.



How to Make Homemade Semolina Dough


Ingredients for about 500g handmade pasta dough:

  • 400g 00 Semolina flour (Semola Rimacinata in Italian)

  • A pinch of salt

  • 200ml warm water

Tools needed:

- a wooden board

- a fork



What is semolina flour?

Semolina (semola in Italian) is flour made with a particular species of wheat called durum wheat, which is hard wheat. Semolina and Semola Rimacinata flour have different grinds.

Regular semolina is coarse, similar to cornmeal, and is typically used for extruded pasta shapes. Semola Rimacinata is the very finely ground semolina flour used for making pasta in the southern Italian tradition. Rimacinata means twice-milled, resulting in a more fine flour compared to semolina. The Italian Semola is called ‘Semola Rimacinata di Grano Duro’.

The gluten content of this flour makes it perfect to create a firm pasta dough that helps the pasta retain its shape and ‘bite’ during the cooking process. It creates a nice chewy, al dente texture you cannot get using any other flour.

Semola Rimacinata flour (like Caputo brand) can be found in larger supermarkets, Italian specialty markets, and online.


Can you substitute the coarse ground semolina for Semola Rimacinata?

You can use the coarse ground semolina flour to make this dough, but it will take more time and strength to develop into a pasta dough by hand.

To make the kneading a bit easier, you could use 70% of semolina and 30% of all-purpose flour.


How to make homemade Semolina pasta dough by hand

Making this pasta dough could not be simpler.

A general guide is two parts Semola Rimacinata, one-part warm water. I usually don’t add all the water to the flour all at once as different factors such as the temperature and humidity will affect how your pasta dough comes together.


Place the flour on a wooden board or marble surface. Make a well in the centre and add a pinch of salt. Gently mix to combine.

Slowly incorporate the warm water into the flour, using a fork or your fingers to mix.

Knead the dough until it is smooth and resilient, about 10 minutes.

Cover the dough with a bowl and let it rest for at least 20 minutes on the bench before using.



What shapes of pasta can you make with the semolina dough?

Busiate, Cavatelli, Culurgiones, Fileja, Lagane, Lorighittas, Malloreddus, Manate, Orecchiette, Paccheri, Pezzetelli, Sagne Incannulate, Scorze di Mandorla.


How to store homemade pasta

Let pasta dry on a wooden board or a tray dusted with flour. You can leave this pasta to air dry for one or two days and then store ikt in a container for a couple of weeks.


How to freeze fresh homemade pasta

You can even freeze the various shapes of handmade pasta. For example, you could make cavatelli and freeze them, so they will be ready to be cooked whenever you want.

Here’s how to do it: arrange them on a tray layered with some baking paper in one layer.

Then place the tray in the freezer. Wait one or two hours for the pasta to freeze.

Now take the pasta, which will be very stiff, and place it in a freezer bag or glass container. You can keep fresh pasta in a freezer for about one month.


How to cook frozen fresh pasta

When you want to cook it, don’t defrost but put it STILL FROZEN in plenty of salted boiling water. Stir often and cook for a few minutes.


 

THE A-Z OF MAKING PASTA SHAPES

The A-Z of Making Pasta Shapes series is well underway on my social platforms, and I'm already having so much fun teaching you how to make pasta shapes. Have you managed to join in? I hope so, but if not, here's a recap.


Every week I share how to make particular pasta shapes corresponding with letters of the alphabet. Every letter will represent one or more pasta shapes.

So far, I've covered A for Agnolotti, B for Blecs and for Busiate, C for Cannelloni, Cappelletti, Cavatelli, Corzetti and Culurgiones. I'm esploring the letter D this week by showing you how to make the perfect Dough!

Tune in to @_pastajourney_ social posts and stories to discover the best pasta recipes and how to perfect the shapes.

FIND THE A-Z OF MAKING PASTA SHAPES HERE AND HERE







#Pasta #Eggdough #Handmadepasta #Lasagne #Flour #Tagliatelle #pappardelle, #noodles, #maltagliati #sorpresine #ravioli #lasagne

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