Most British mammas might have bought it from the supermarket but making pasta from scratch is as easy as pie. Follow this simple how to guide to perfect pasta and you’ll never use shop-bought spaghetti again
1. The quickest way to make pasta dough is using a food processor. Tip in the flour, egg yolks and oil and pulse until the mixture is breadcrumb-like. Check the consistency and add a little water if the mixture looks very dry. You can add extra flour if the dough gets too wet, but adding liquid to dry dough is tricky. Keep pulsing until the mixture comes together into a dough.
Tip the dough out and wrap it tightly in cling film. Chill it in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
2. Divide the dough into pieces about the size of a tangerine. Any bigger and the rolled pasta will be too large to manage. Dust the dough and pasta machine lightly with flour.
With the pasta machine on the widest setting, roll the dough through with a swift and smooth motion. Fold each end in to meet in the middle then roll the dough back through the machine with the uneven unfolded edge going through the machine first. This’ll help give the pasta sheets straight edges.
Keep doing the same, feeding the dough through, folding and repeating until the dough is silky smooth.
3. When the dough is smooth roll it through each setting, right up to the next to last notch.
4. Lay each finished sheet on a board and lightly dust with semolina before rolling the next piece of dough.
5. With the dough well dusted, fold each sheet lightly back and forth, concertina-style, till you’re left with a small rectangle. Now you can personalise your pasta into a ribbon shape of your choice.
To make tagliatelle use a sharp knife to cut the rectangle into strips as wide as you want your pasta ribbons to be. At this point you could turn your pasta in tortellini or ravioli too.
The pasta then needs to dry out a little. Cupboard handles or two wire racks propped up make good drying supports. Leave until the pasta looks and feels leathery.
6. To cook the pasta, bring a large, roomy saucepan of water to the boil. The Italians say the water should be as salty as the sea. Tip in the pasta and cook for 2-3 minutes, but taste as it’s cooking and drain once ‘al dente’ – with bite.