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Old 10-06-2004, 08:07 AM   #11
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Here's my contribution:

White Pasta Dough

4 oz flour
1 egg
pinch of salt

Blend the egg into the flour and knead. It will be very dry to begin with and crumbly, but after a while will start to form a stiff, elastic paste. Depending on the exact constituency of the flour, you may need to add some water. USE THE EGGSHELL AS A MEASURER, and add only a little water at a time. If you mess up you can allways add a little more water or flour.

NOTE: This is the recipe invariably given by Ada Boni in all her books. Although I have seen and once made a pasta dough with the addition of olive oil, I do not think this adds anything to the flavour or texture of the dough. I usually add a TINY pinch of turmeric to give a yellow colour to the dough, or you can use some other food colouring-just like the manufacturers do.

Wholewheat No Cholesterol Pasta Dough

Measure equal quantities of white and wholemeal flour and mix. Substitute two egg whites for the egg. Proceed as above.
(You can use dried egg white). This makes a surprisingly light pasta which is nevertheless very satisfying (an important point for people on complex carbohydrate diets). Basically, you can reduce portion sizes by approximately 50% with this dough.

Mixing and Kneading

Both of these doughs can be mixed by hand. But it is hard work. I now use a food processor. Just throw all the stuff in the bowl and blend it. Add any necessary additional liquid in SMALL amounts until the dough starts to form large breadcrumbs. If it forms one lump and whizzes round the bowl, it is too wet, and when you cook it it will be soggy and not al dente. (So add some more flour).

You can now remove the dough from the processor, form it by hand into one lump, and put it through the roller on the coarse setting. You will get a ragged strip of dough. Fold it in half back on itself and force it through again. Repeat until you have a cohesive strip. At this point you can add flour as a lubricant or to make the dough a bit drier if you have overwetted. Then you can roll it out to the required thickness. To get thin, light tagliatelle or lasagna, roll out on 6, cut out lasagna format pieces with a knife. Allow to dry a little.

NOW flour one side heavily, fold in half over the flour, and put through the machine on 5. IMMEDIATELY separate and peel apart. The flour should have stopped the pasta sticking to itself. Repeat for all the pieces. Use either as lasagna or put through the cutters for tagliatelle.

NB If making tonarelle (square spaghetti), roll out to 5 only.


This is a notorious problem in any international cooking forum. I have read some things that surprise me in this thread. Basically, pasta is made from durham wheat, a hard (high in gluten) wheat that is also used in bread making. Italy imports vast amounts of it from Canada directly to make it's pasta. The recipes above use Canadian wholewheat and white durham flour. Since most of you appear to live in the USA, and Canada is just a stones throw away (comparatively), you SHOULD be able to get proper flour.

But if not, then you should use a strong bread flour. If it is not strong enough, you can add one or two tablespoons of cornflour to the wheat to increase the gluten content.

Cooking Noodle Pasta

Probably already dealt with, but here goes:

Noodles, like fish, must swim. Bring a LARGE pan of water to the boil, add salt and put the noodles in. Fresh noodles are done when they come to the surface (probably about 4 minutes). ALLWAYS test for al dente by biting the cooking pasta. They should not stick together if you have enough water in a large enough pan. A few drops of olive oil will also help keep them separate.

I shall deal with tortellini in another post.

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Old 10-06-2004, 08:58 AM   #12
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Darkstream, a special thanks for this information! Wow. Lots to digest and learn here.

Incidentally, I took a different tact entirely yesterday in making dough, which was very close to what you described above. I used the ratio of 1 Cup of flour to 1 X-Large egg, omitted the olive oil entirely, and used just enough water (maybe a tablespoon) to bring the dough together. For some unknown and miraculous reason, I stopped adding water just as the dough became crumbly. (I've always been guilty of adding water until that "ball" started spinning.) Turned it out from the food processor and kneaded by hand for about ten minutes (longer than usual). Left it on the counter covered with a bowl for about 30 minutes, then started rolling. I made some fettichini rolled out to a 6, which I later used as noodles in a soup, and rolled the rest into lasagna at a 5 for use later this week. Without question, the noodles were so much better, texture-wise, this time...not "rubbery" in the least.

How ironic to find your incredible post this morning. I concur that the olive oil had little, if any, effect on my previous batches, because I certainly didn't miss it. It just hit me yesterday to set aside the pasta dough recipe I had acquired from Food Network and revert to my grandmother's method for egg noodles that were always so good.

Thanks to you, I now understand so much more.

Your flour analogy fascinates me and makes a lot of sense. I have always assumed (ahem) that high gluten was what made my pasta tough. Yet, if I interpret you correctly, you suggest high amounts of gluten is extremely important. In fact, I now wonder if the gluten content of my dough was not high enough! So, if gluten was not the culprit in my tough pasta, was too much water, too wet a dough the problem?

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Old 10-06-2004, 03:02 PM   #13
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Dear Lady,

The key is in the flour. You have to handle it, literally, to know it. I must admit that I do not understand this idea about a piece of spahgetti or tagliatelle being tough. If it is tough, you have not cooked it properly. It must swim AND it must boil, HARD. So that it is softish on the outside, but hard on the inside. This is "al dente". If your pan is not overflowing and burning on the hob, then you are not cooking it hard enough. And when it does, just blow hard on the top of it. It will reduce the froth without stopping the cooking.

I am not sure that you need to knead by hand. Ever since I got a pasta machine, I knead in the machine as I said. Much easier. I can make fresh tonarelle in the time it takes to boil the water to cook it in. And unless you find it an a real effort to knead by hand, or are a professional baker, then your pasta is probably too wet if you can.

Nota Bene: my measurements are all Imperial, including 20 fluid ounces to the pint.

In my experience, egg noodles are pretty much the same all around the world.
And you can allways tell the good ones when they are cooking, because they smell (like a good loaf) so good before they are ready that you would eat them plain out of the pot without sauce. If your grandmother was German, Jewish, Italian or Chineese, I think there is a very good chance she will make good noodles.

As to flour........well.....tricky. But if you do not have enough gluten, the pasta will not "make". I am afraid you will have to work this one out by yourself. But given that you live in a "flour deprived area" of the USA, you must take the wheat by the horns and experiment! You WILL get there if you want to, do not be discouraged by failures. And when you do, share it with other flour deprived US citizens.

Ravioli and Totelini tommorow. Its my bedtime.

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Old 10-07-2004, 02:49 PM   #14
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Making the Ravioli, Tortellini, etc.

Assuming you now have your pasta dough, as outlined above, or by any other means, you now have to stuff it.

Like most pasta preparations, it CAN ALL be done by hand, but is more effort.

You have to roll out the dough so that it is so thin that you can see the pattern of your work surface through it. If you leave it thicker, you get very solid tortellini which are quite unpleasant.

Rolling without a Machine

Flour both sides of the dough, and now roll it with the pin to as thin as you can get it. If you have made the dough properly it will be quite stiff and reluctant at first. Considerable initial pressure may be needed so LEAN ON IT! Keep it well floured so that it does not stick to the pin or the work surface. If it does it may well tear AND YOU WILL HAVE TO START AGAIN.

When it is as thin as you can get it:

flour the bottom

flour the top heavily

fold in in half over itself, enclosing the heavy flouring.

Now ROLL AGAIN. The pasta will now spread even more thinly. Keep opening it up and re flouring, and change the top to bottom from time to time. Try to produce an even shape.

Rolling with a Machine

Take it through number 6.

Cut off a suitable length of pasta that will make about 10 to 15 by 2 or three ravioli and THEN fold back on itself, so that you have the top and bottom for that number of ravioli. Now use the technique of flouring and rolling described above to finish off AND MAKE THE TOP SHEET WIDER THAN THE BOTTOM SHEET.

You should ALLWAYS have your filling prepared first.

You are now ready to stuff.


BE AWARE that the secret of successful ravioli, tortellini, capaletti, etc., is to ensure a good seal between the two enclosing sheets of pasta so that the filling does not burst during the cooking. There are few sights in the world as sad as a ravioli served up without it's filling (and remember, mistakes stay in the kitchen!)

The WORST enemy of good sealing is oil/fat, and most chefs know that oil WILL NOT stick to oil. So ensure that you filling is sufficiently dry (by adding parmesan or breadcrumbs if necessary), or cool so that the oil/fat is not runing, or add a little beaten egg to bind it (the egg will bind the oil-remember, the great frescos of the cinquecento were constructed on this very principle. Mayonaise came later.)

Or do a little of all three.

You can now place small spoonfuls of filling over the sheet. Or use a forcing bag. Normally I use one of those cake icing syringes with the attachments off.

For the inexperienced, it is easier to make large tortellini than small. Leave a wider margin to seal the stuffing. With practise you can make them much smaller.

Brush the top sheet with a little beaten egg or egg white, and then place the top sheet loosely over the bottom sheet with the fillings.

Now, starting with the middle row of fillings, gently secure the top sheet to the bottom sheet, pushing out the trapped air in and around the mound of filling. BE VERY CAREFUL NOT TO TEAR THE PASTA.

Work along the sheet until all the fillings are notionally sealed. Now, starting at one end, press down firmly to ensure the seal and cut off a strip of three. Press down between the three fillings and again cut to separate. Place on a floured sheet.

ALTERNATIVELY, you can use a ravioli tray (I have two, one a double row large, one a tripple row small). BUT you have to be very careful not to tear the dough when you are pressing it into the hollows in the tray. When it works though, it can provide a very professional finish indeed.

Cooking the Ravioli

The secret is simple:




Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Salt heavily. Put in the ravioli, tortellini, etc. gently. Make sure they are all swimming.

NOW turn the heat down and bring gently to the simmer. They will float to the surface. Simmer them till tender (use your mouth), and serve in the prefered way.

UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER TURN THE HEAT UP, OR THEY WILL BURST. You cannot get all the air out, so you just have to deal with it by simmering.

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Old 10-07-2004, 03:13 PM   #15
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Darkstream, I have spent the last fifteen minutes going over and over your submission here and cannot thank you enough. I sincerely appreciate the time and thought you put into your posts on my behalf and others, guidance I have personally not found anywhere else.

Ironically, I just noticed that my ink is now dry from printing out so many recipes and ideas I've found here, and I'm rather irked that the ink went kapput NOW!

This is one I have saved in my CPU for reference long, long after this thread disapears from the discusscooking screens.

Thank you, my friend.
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Old 10-12-2004, 01:57 PM   #16
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Hi Audeo.

First, wanted to say thanks for the welcome.

Re homemade pasta...a favorite cookbook is "The Good Cook - Pasta" by Time-Life Books. Great resource for homemade pasta, sauces, & terrific pics. I have a crank & feed pasta machine I adore. Also have a little plastic gadget I bought many years ago, & make wontons, with store-bought won ton wrappers. You can make all sorts of flavors of pasta, by adding beet juice, spinach, lemon, pumpkin, carrot puree, tomatoes. You're only limited by your imagination.

Also tried, laying flat leaf parsley, sandwiched between the dough, then feeding it through the machine, & there you have ravioli/won ton skins w the flat-leaf parsley embedded on the skin. Another way...pressing thru three different flavors of pasta, for a multi-striipe effect/flavor for your ravioli.

Saute some walnuts in butter, add some cream, herbs of choice (i.e. tarragon, sage), lemon juice, S&P, Parmesan cheese, cook down & reduce. Great sauce. Hope this gives you some inspiration.
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Old 10-14-2004, 10:48 AM   #17
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I make like darkstream

but since Argentina I listen to make it with two eggs but using only the yellow side of the egg,and it is because if you use all the egg then it taste like too much flour.I have never make it with two eggs but it must be nicer.hugs
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Old 11-06-2004, 04:20 PM   #18
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Ah ... you get the pasta machine and naturally the next step is to find that one true "authentic" Italian pasta recipe ... but you hit your head on trying to desypher what "Type 00" flour is .... and after a week or more of trying to figure out why what you "thought" typo 00 was isn't - you quickly realize your first step should have been to make sure your health insurance had 100% psychiatric coverage!

After going nuts for a couple or four months this is what I have figured out:

(1) There is no way to compare Italian and American flours. Throw out the notion that soft wheat is lower in gluten/protein than hard wheat such as semolina as a general rule ... some Italian Type 00 soft wheat flour is higher in protein than their hard wheat. If you want to have more fun - throw in the French and German standards .... which are similar but have a little different twist (and more grades) than the Italian standards.

(2) When an Italian cook says to just use AP flour to make pasta instead of fussing over finding Type 00 flour ... just accept it - they know the differences, we don't.

(3) In Italy, dried pasta is made of 2 things by law - semolina flour and water. Most Italian fresh pasta recipes I have found contain 2 things - Type 00 flour and eggs - no oil, salt, etc. - you get the salt when you boil the pasta in salted water which should be as salty as the sea (0.9% NaCl). The only other variation is to mix 50% "Type 00 for Pasta" flour with 50% extra-fine or fine caliber semolina for better flavor.

(4) If you are going to make your pasta totally by hand ... ie you're going to be rolling by hand - then you need to knead the dough and let it rest (so the gluten can relax so you can roll it by hand). If you're going to roll with a machine - just bring it into a ball (you don't really need to let it rest) and then you do the kneading when you run it though the machine (widest setting - fold it in thirds - turn 90-degrees, do it again ... repeat 5-6 times). I have never run across a recipe that suggested letting the dough rest for more than 5-10 minutes ... and NEVER refridgerated.

(5) I've watched all the "greats" make pasta by the well method - Lidia Bastianich, Biba Caggiano, Carlo Middione, Nick Stellino, Michael Chiarello (okay, Chiarello is a little "California" style - but his roots are Italian) - and others - for homemade pasta it's usually the 2-eggs and AP flour recipe - although Carlo did add an extra yolk into the mix for making ravioli and lasagna .. apparently the extra yolk added some strength to the dough. If you want to go back to the Frugal Gourmet days .. if I remember right he mixed AP and bread flour ...

I think in the final analysis it's like most Italian recipes ... while there is a general basic theme .. there are as many "authentic" recipes as there are authentic Italian Grandmas. Play with the variations, find one you like, and go for it.
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Old 11-06-2004, 05:22 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Michael in FtW
Ah ... you get the pasta machine and naturally the next step is to find that one true "authentic" Italian pasta recipe ... but you hit your head on trying to desypher what "Type 00" flour is .... and after a week or more of trying to figure out why what you "thought" typo 00 was isn't - you quickly realize your first step should have been to make sure your health insurance had 100% psychiatric coverage!
LMAO, Michael. If I were covered 100%, I'd be well by now. :) Maybe that's why I haven't made pasta in quite a while. If I have to remember all that stuff, I might stick w won ton skins & go with Lean Cuisine. I did wonder why it took my noodles so long to cook. (It was quite some time ago though.) I wasted money (again eons ago), buying the Ron Popeil Pasta machine. The motor made such a racket, & the pasta never came out of the holes. I'll stick with my hand cranking thing-a-ma-jig. HA.

Thanks, again for the chuckle.
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Old 11-14-2004, 03:19 PM   #20
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Sorry kids. I have to jump in here. Durahm wheat is a hard winter wheat with lots of protien The wheat kernal is made up of several particles, the hull, or bran, which is where most of the fiber is stored, the edosperm, where most of the protien is stored, and the germ, the genetic heart if you will. Each contain various nutrients and have differing characteristics. The edosperm is as I stated, where the protien comes from. It also has almost all of the starch. Semolina flour is ground entirely from the endosperm of the wheat kernal. It is usually made from a hard winter flour like durahm. This is because the hard winter wheats contain a higher amount of protien per unit volume. Bread flours and pasta require more protien for elasticity.

Semolina is preffered because of its elasticity. It generally holds together better than other fours. You could try adding a bit of essential wheat protien to your flour mixture. This will help it hold together even better.

The problems you are having are probably due to the use of fresh pasta. Fresh pasta cooks much more rapidly than does dried pasta. It is easily overcooked and will then fall apart, especially if it is very thin. A way to prevent this is to pre-cook the filling, make the raviolis, then cook just until the pasta is done (no more than five or so minutes). Also, I find ravioli much easier to make if I roll out two sheets of pasta, place dollops of filling in evenly spaced rows and columns. brushing the other sheet with egg-wash, laying it over the top, and pressing between the rows and collumns to form the ravioli pillows. It is also important to remove as much air as possible from the ravioli to prevent seperation or tearing due to air expansion from the heat.

This should help you solve your ravioli problems.

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