How To Make Garganelli Pasta

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Garganelli pasta in tomato sauce on a red and white checked cloth

Emilia-Romagna is the home of rich egg pasta, with 1 egg used for every 100g of flour to create pasta sheets that are then cut into an endless variety of shapes. Garganelli are similar to penne rigati but instead of an extruded flour and water dough, they’re hand-rolled squares of fresh egg pasta (see video below). They’re rolled around a wooden rod, traditionally across a set of strings in a wooden frame (called a comb), though today a gnocchi board is more commonly used. I had garganelli with a delicious duck ragu at Hosteria Giusti in Modena in Emilia and learnt to make this simple pasta at Casa Artusi cooking school in Forlimpopoli in Romagna. The ridged hollow shape holds sauce well and you can dress garganelli with whatever you like, from a classic ragù Bolognese to this simple tomato sauce; Parma is the home of Mutti after all. Keeping it northern, I like to enrich my sauce with plenty of freshly grated Parmigiano and sometimes a knob of butter at the end.

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 200g plain flour
  • Pinch salt flakes
  • 2 eggs
  • Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
  • 25g cold butter, diced (optional)

 

Tomato Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ small red onion
  • 200g canned Italian tomatoes, chopped
  • A few basil leaves, finely sliced
Method
  1. Mound the flour onto a clean, dry work surface and make a deep well in the centre, leaving a little flour covering the base. A wooden bench is ideal as it absorbs some of the moisture, reducing the need to add extra flour to stop the dough sticking.
  2. Add the salt then the eggs to the well.
  3. Use your hands to mix the eggs, slowly working in the flour from the edges of the well to form a dough.
  4. Knead for 5–10 minutes until smooth and elastic; this can be done by hand or using an electric mixer with a dough hook.
  5. Shape into a ball, wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 30 minutes or so; you can refrigerate it overnight, just return it to room temperature before rolling.
  6. Meanwhile, make Tomato Sauce: place oil and onion in a saucepan with a good pinch of salt, cover and cook for about 10 minutes, until tender, stir in tomato, simmer for a minute or so then set aside.
  7. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough as thinly as possible.
  8. Cut into a neat rectangle about 30cm x 21cm. Cover the trimmings and set aside to make other pasta shapes (see FAQ below).
  9. Cut the rectangle into 3cm squares.
  10. Put a square onto a gnocchi board in a diamond shape (with a point facing towards you) and place a 1cm wooden rod (the handle of a wooden spoon works well) in the top centre of the triangle.
  11. Roll the pasta forward around the rod along the gnocchi board, pressing firmly to ensure it seals where the points overlap.
  12. Set aside and repeat with remaining squares.
  13. Bring a large saucepan of well-salted water to the boil (10g salt/litre water).
  14. Add pasta and cook for about 4 minutes, until tender; cooking time will depend on how dry the pasta has become, so start taste testing after 2 minutes.
  15. Meanwhile, return sauce to a low heat and stir in basil.
  16. As soon as garganelli are cooked, scoop them out of the water into the sauce and toss to coat well.
  17. Add a tablespoon or 2 of the pasta cooking water to give a creamy consistency.
  18. Spoon into flat bowls, dot with butter and grate plenty of Parmigiano over the top.
  19. Serve immediately.

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How To Make Garganelli Pasta

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FAQ – Other Fresh Pasta Shapes

What do you do with large pieces of pasta off-cuts?

Use the large pieces of pasta trimmings to make maltagliata. The name of this rustic pasta literally means ‘badly cut’, referring to its irregular shape. Simply cut the trimmings into irregular strips or shapes and cook as you did the garganelli and serve with your favourite pasta sauce or add to soups like pasta e fagioli.

What do you do with smaller pieces of pasta trimmings?

Any small scraps of pasta dough needn’t go to waste. They can be chopped up finely to make pastina (literally ‘little pasta’) which goes into soups just like risoni, stelline and Sardinian fregola does. Pastina cook in a couple of minutes in boiling water, but can simmer in soups for longer without falling apart.

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