Pasta is one of the humblest of ingredients... so comforting, yet so simple. We invited Michela and Romina from the Chiappa Sisters down to show us their secrets to making awesome pasta. Done properly... there is very little in this world that beats fresh, handmade pasta.
Good Quality ingredients: You should ideally use '00' flour to make fresh pasta. It makes the world of difference. Don't make life difficult; simply invest in good-quality flour. And make sure you have decent free-range eggs, they have better, brighter yolks and make the pasta a richer yellow in colour.
The secret formula... Find yourself a cup that can measure out 100g flour, and nickname it your 'pasta cup'… so you wont have to weigh stuff out each time. Then all it needs is one egg and a pinch of salt for every 100g cup of flour... that's enough to make one portion. Scale it up accordingly.
Play-dough consistency... knead the pasta until you have a dough with the consistency of play dough. If it;s sticky add a little more flour, too dry and a tiny amount of olive oil helps.
Wrap and rest... Always keep fresh pasta dough covered with cling film whilst it rests in the fridge, otherwise it will start to go dry and form a crust if exposed to air, and it will be more difficult to roll. The same applies to when you're rolling it... keep the bits you aren't using covered.
Fancy shapes made simple... you can cut so many shapes from pasta, but one of the simplest ways, that gives you fancy looking results is farfelle. Simply squish the middles of small rectangles together to create a bow-tie like shape. Leave the shapes to air-dry for a few minutes before cooking.
Secret semolina... Once you've made your pasta shapes, leave them to rest on a tray that has been lightly dusted with a little polenta or semolina. Don't use flour to dust the tray as too much flour will make your pasta heavy when it hits the water and forms a tacky paste around your beautiful pasta.
Aqua to pasta... make sure you have at least two-thirds more water than pasta in the pan and always heavily salt your water. This will give the pasta plenty of room to cook and means the temperature of water won't drop too low when the pasta is dropped in.
If you have any other tips, give us a shout in the comments... we'd love to see them!