Fresh Pasta. Granny's Style - the Red Beetle Travelling Food - The Red Beetle Travelling Food Ltd

Fresh Pasta. Granny's Style.

August 08, 2015

Fresh Pasta Recipe - Ciufelli - the Red Beetle

Witnessing our Italian Granny Josephine making fresh pasta was an incredibly special experience. That's one of those traditions that should never be lost and we feel very lucky we were there to grab all her secrets.

You see, the hardest part is to get the recipe right. Most Italian Grandmothers will give you some variation of the following:

Flour          un po' (some!)
Eggs          2 (well, at least we got this right)
Water        un goccio, quanto basta (a little bit... just enough!)
Salt           un pizzico (a pinch, whatever that means!)

Now, try make a recipe with "some" flour, 2 eggs, "enough" water, a pinch of salt, and appreciate the endless possibilities of your results!

However, during one of our recent scouting trips, we managed to get the exact recipe, stealing her ingredients to weight them, or at least to get some more precise quantities. A lot of Italian passionate attitude and relatively high amount of screaming was involved!

So... Here the ingredients:
  •     400G Fine Semolina Flour ,  plus some extra for dusting
  •     2 Eggs
  •     100ml Water - admittedly however, that may vary depending on how the flour reacts to the eggs (technically called "strength" or "W" of the flour). To make sure, always add water a little bit at the time
  •    A pinch of Salt ... we liked to keep it that way, it adds a little mystery, and anyway you can fix it by salting the water at cooking time

Here are the tools you ideally would need:
A wooden board - Granny says "you need to work the pasta on a wooden board, it needs to stick to it. Marble is not good!".
A sharp knife with non-serrated blade, to cut through the dough
Love, patience and time
Someone to share it with

In case you wonder, yes we made a video!
Just sign up here and it will be with you in seconds. You'll see Granny Josephine in action, step by step!

The process is quite simple:

Place the flour in a volcano shape, the eggs and the salt in the middle. Then start incorporating the flour with the eggs in a circular motion. It will get very sticky on your hands, but keep working until the dough starts to be a bit drier and harder to roll. Remember to work the dough moving your arms from your shoulders, this way your hands don't get tired.

Now Granny did something that we've never seen before, or we didn't know we were supposed to do: she washed her hands. Mind you, not with water, with flour. This way, all the bits and pieces attached to her hands came off, and she incorporated them within the dough. Nothing went to waste.

She worked for about 20 minutes, until it was smooth and without lumps, then she placed it in a plastic bag (the ones from the fruit and veggies section at the supermarket) to rest, for about 1/2 hour.

You can then create anything you want: you can make thick pappardelle, pici, orecchiette or ciufelli (the ones in the picture). For the latter, divide the dough in small balls and start working some at the time, leave the rest in the plastic bag. Roll it with a pin until you get it to 2mm thick, then cut 4cm wide stripes and again, smaller strips of about 5mm. Then the movement is quite gentle: you need to roll this small strips under your three central fingers.

Pasta can rest on the wooden board under a tea towel until it's lunch or dinner time, or you can put it in a plastic bag and freeze it for another time.

Boil a lot of water, add salt and then cook the fresh pasta for a couple of minutes. The idea is that the flour in excess needs to get out. When ready, before you strain it, add some cold water and stir. Granny said "this way the pasta doesn't get gooey".

Use your favourite sauce or get some beautiful To witness my Italian Granny Josephine whilst she makes fresh pasta is an incredibly special moment. It is one of those traditions that should never be lost and we feel very lucky we were there to grab all her secrets.

You see, the hardest part is to get the recipe right. Most Italian Grandmothers will give you the following:

Flour - some (un po')
Eggs - 2 (well, at least we got this right)
Water - a little bit or enough (un goccio or quanto basta)
Salt - a pinch (quantity may vary)

However, during one of our recent scouting trips, we managed to get the exact recipe, or at least some more precise quantities.
Here the ingredients:

Fine Semolina Flour 400G plus some extra for dusting
Eggs 2
Water 100ml (however, it might be less or more, depending on how the flour reacts to the eggs. Always add water a little at the time)
Salt a pinch... we liked to keep it that way, it adds a little mistery

A wooden board - Granny says "you need to work the pasta on a wooden board, it needs to stick to it. Marble is not good!".
A sharp no serrated knife, to cut through the dough
Love, patience and time
Someone to share it with

In case you wonder, yes we made a video. Quite easy to get, sign up here and it will be with you in seconds. You'll see Granny Josephine in action!

The process is quite simple: place the flour in a volcano shape, the eggs and the salt in the middle. Then start incorporating the flour with the eggs in a circular motion. It will get very sticky on your hands, but keep working until the dough starts to be a bit drier and harder to roll.

Now Granny did something that we've never seen before, or we didn't know we were supposed to do: she washed her hands. Mind you, not with water, with flour. This way, all the bits and pieces attached to her hands came off, and she incorporated them within the dough. Nothing went to waste. Oh, remember to work the dough moving your arms from your shoulders, this way your hands don't get tired.

She worked for about 20 minutes, until it was smooth and without lumps, then she placed it in a plastic bag (the ones from the fruit and veggies section at the supermarket) to rest, for about 1/2 hour.

You can then create anything you want: you can make thick pappardelle, pici, orecchiette or ciufelli (see picture at the top). For the latter, divide the dough in small balls and start working some at the time, leave the rest in the plastic bag. Roll it with a pin until you get it to 2mm thick, then cut 4cm wide stripes and again, smaller strips of about 5mm. Then the movement is quite gentle: you need to roll this small strips under your three central fingers.

Pasta can rest on the wooden board under a tea towel until it's lunch or dinner time, or you can put it in a plastic bag and freeze it for another time.

To cook, boil a lot of water, add salt and then cook the fresh past for a couple of minutes. The idea is that the flour in excess needs to get out. When ready, before you strain it, add some cold water and stir. Granny said this way the pasta doesn't get gooey.

Use your favourite sauce or get some beautiful Genovese Pesto from our pantry. Make sure to share you pictures on our Facebook page!