The proportions given in this recipe can vary slightly and depend on the flour and the size of the eggs. The method given to produce the pasta dough is by hand and rolled out with a pasta machine which clamps onto a work surface. It is also possible to make the dough in a food processor. This recipe makes about
Put the flour and
Divide the dough into 4 equal pieces. Begin working with one piece, covering the others with a slightly damp cloth to prevent them from drying out. Flatten the piece of dough roughly into a rectangular shape to fit through the widest setting of the pasta machine. Roll the dough through — it should emerge longer and flatter. Fold the length of the dough in half and roll it through the same setting again. Repeat a few more times, as this helps to render a smooth dough. Lower the setting by one from the widest, and pass the pasta strip through once. (It may be necessary to cut the strips lengthways into two or three to be able to manage them more easily.) Lower the setting by one again and pass the strip through. Continue lowering the setting and passing the pasta through once, until the second last or even the last setting is reached, depending on the required thickness. Dust with a little flour if the dough seems a bit sticky.
For fettuccine, pappardelle, tagliolini and lasagne, roll the pasta to the second-last setting. For ravioli, tortellini and other stuffed pastas, roll the pasta to the last setting. However, as each machine is different follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Dust the pasta sheet with flour before passing it through the cutters to prevent the noodles from sticking together. If you don’t have the required cutter sizes, roll up the pasta sheet along its length and cut strips with a sharp knife. Sprinkle fine semolina flour or ordinary flour onto a tray, gently toss the pasta noodles through your fingers to separate and lay them onto the floured tray while you cut the remaining dough.
For 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) of pasta, use a large saucepan and bring about 2 litres (8 cups) of water to the boil with 1 tablespoon of salt. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, to prevent the pasta from sticking together. Add the fresh pasta. Depending on its thickness, it should take 3-4 minutes to cook. Test a noodle to see if it is ready. Cook for longer if necessary. Lift out the pasta with a slotted spoon, pasta spoon or wire strainer.
For 500 g (1 lb 2 oz) of dry pasta use a large saucepan with about 2 litres (8 cups) of water. Add 1 tablespoon of salt. When the water comes to the boil, add the dry pasta to the pan. As soon as it comes to the boil again, begin timing the pasta following the packet instructions. Give a quick swirl with a pasta fork to ensure the pasta doesn’t stick together. When the pasta is ready, lift it out of the water with a slotted spoon, pasta spoon or wire strainer and tip directly into your pan or bowl containing the sauce. Alternatively, drain the pasta using a colander, but reserve 1 or 2 cups of the pasta cooking water. Mix in the sauce and toss through. If the sauce seems a bit dry, add a little of the cooking water. Serve immediately with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.