Eggless Semolina Pasta
I was fortunate to learn how to make fresh pasta from a true expert, Sfoglina Simonetta Capotondo. Simonetta is an artisan pasta maker from Ancona, Italy who visited the US last summer to teach a high-end Italian restaurant chain new pasta shapes and techniques. Simonetta won 2nd place in all of Italy for the best professional handmade pasta. I was lucky enough to attend half a dozen of her workshops and it became my new obsession.
[READ!] Important Pasta Facts:
Generally speaking, from the center of Italy to the north, pasta is made with eggs and 00 flour. From the center down to the south, it's made with just semolina flour and water.
Semolina flour and 00 flour are both made from wheat, but they differ in their levels of protein, "hardness".
Many recipes mix the flours, but a "purist" approach from Bologna (considered an epicenter of Italian egg pasta) only uses 00 flour.
Ingredients [AS A RATIO by weight]:
2 parts remilled semolina flour to 1 part water and a pinch of salt
Make sure to weigh the flour -- the ratio would not work by volume in cups.
The type of flour is very important. You need "remilled semolina flour" sometimes called farina di semola rimcinata, depending on the brand. Caputo or Bob's Red Mill are good brands.
Dump the flour onto a work surface in one single mass. Use a small bowl or your fingers to create room in the middle for the water with a ring of flour as a barrier.
Using a fork, gradually add the flour from the inside of the wall, still mixing with the fork.
Once the middle of your mixture has a decent amount of flour mixed in, meaning it's no longer in danger of running all over the table, you can start kneading -- preferably with a bench scraper at first while it's still very sticky.
Knead vigorously for 10 minutes straight (set a timer!), turning 90º often to try to keep a single seam on top. When the dough is totally smooth, form a ball and cover with a bowl.
Let it sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. The flour will hydrate and the gluten will relax.
Cut the dough and roll shapes as you please.
If you're not using your fresh pasta within the same day, freeze it in a Tupperware. You can boil it from frozen. Fresh pasta can cook in 30s-2mins in heavily-salted boiling water. It's done when it floats and makes lots of white bubbles in the water. The frozen pasta will take a bit longer to cook.