Try to get hold of tipo 00 flour – this is a very finely sieved flour which is normally used for making egg pasta or cakes. In Italy it’s called farina di grano tenero, which means ‘tender’ or ‘soft’ flour.
- 600g/1lb 6oz tipo 00 flour
- 6 large free-range or organic eggs or 12 yolks
Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with a fork until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together – with a bit of work and some love and attention they’ll all bind together to give you one big, smooth lump of dough!
You can also make your dough in a food processor if you’ve got one. Just bung everything in, whiz until the flour looks like breadcrumbs, then tip the mixture on to your work surface and bring the dough together into one lump, using your hands.
Once you’ve made your dough you need to knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it, instead of springy and al dente.
There’s no secret to kneading. You just have to bash the dough about a bit with your hands, squashing it into the table, reshaping it, pulling it, stretching it, squashing it again. It’s quite hard work, and after a few minutes it’s easy to see why the average Italian grandmother has arms like Frank Bruno! You’ll know when to stop – it’s when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Then all you need to do is wrap it in clingfilm and put it in the fridge to rest for at least half an hour before you use it. Make sure the clingfilm covers it well or it will dry out and go crusty round the edges (this will give you crusty lumps through your pasta when you roll it out, and nobody likes crusty lumps!).
Nutritional information is based on using whole eggs.