Home Made Pasta : The basic ratios

Being of an Italian heritage,  it’s no surprise that I grew up with pasta. It’s such a basic staple that can be whipped up in the same day with just a few basic ingredients. Of course, nothing can be more simple, homely and comforting than a bowl of pasta. It’s so easy to cook and prepare as well.Within ten minutes, a bowl of fettucine drizzled with some cold pressed olive oil, some minced garlic stirred through it and dusted with some fresh grated parmesan could be in front of you, a peasants meal that is fit for royalty.

When it comes to satisfaction, nothing beats home made fresh pasta.

The Therapuatic act of making it is only enhanced by the sensous silky texture of the pasta sliding past your lips.

So, let us start with the basics.There are only four base recipes for pasta. Actually, there is only one, but for the sake of argument, let us assume four:

“Basic” Pasta
1 cup Sifted Flour
1 Lightly beaten egg

“Egg” Pasta:
1 cup Sifted Flour
1 Lightly beaten egg
1 additional egg yolk

“Restaurant” Pasta
1 cup Sifted Flour
1 Lightly beaten egg
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pinch salt

“ButterMilk” Pasta
1 cup Sifted Flour
60ml Buttermilk
1 egg yolk

The deviations utilised for any particular pasta are always based on one of these recipes.

Flours

You may have noticed that there are different flours on the market. While there is no “wrong” flour to use in making pasta, some may be better suited to your goals. These goals may include ease of working the dough, flavour and final textures.

“00” (Doppio Zero) Flour – The traditional flour used for pasta-making, known as “00” flour. In Italy, flour is classified either as 1, 0, or 00 which refers to the fineness with which it is ground and how much of the bran and germ have been removed. Doppio zero is the most highly refined. It is talcum soft. It isn’t inexpensive.  But it’s worth its weight in pasta.

All Purpose Flour – is usually made from a blend of wheats. It’s usually a mix of lower protein and mixed gluten flours. All purpose flour is just that and can generally be used in all recipes, including making pasta. However, I tend to favour a few others.

Bakers Flour – contains a higher gluten content (more protein) in and of itself, but is usually mixed with a small amount of malted barley flour, Thiamine (Vitamin B1) and/or potassium bromate to increase the elasticity of the gluten, creating a dough with which can very easily be worked. This is a favourite base for my breads as well.

Whole Grain Wheat Flour – Thicker, grittier flours that contain a fair bit of extra fibre and roughage. Many shied away from these flours in the past because of the often small and varied amounts of white flour added to the base mix, but most are tried and true these days and and can be used successfully without adding any additional ‘white’ flour for the gluten.

Durham/Semolina Flour – A Favourite. Some italians won’t speak to you if you even think of using something else! This is due to its high gluten and protein amounts which can help you work and stretch that dough.

There are other types of flours, but to date, I haven’t played with them in making pasta. Maybe in the future I will, and when I do, I’m sure I’ll write about them.

I tend to make a “mixed blend” of 50% Semolina, 50% Doppio Zero to make my pasta. When I don’t have “00” pasta, I will use a mix of Bakers and Wholemeal flours instead.

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