Meet Alessandro he’s crazy, loud and the pasta guru at Ollie’s Italian (self claimed). Here’s Ale’s top five tips to creating Italian quality pasta in the comfort of your own home… or if you cbf just come to Ollie’s and we’ll make it for you.
Is the flour really that important?
The flour you use to make pasta is verrrrryyyy important according to Ale (we experienced a lot of hand gestures when asking this question).
“Every type of flour has a different strength to it or coarseness. 000 flour is the finest flour and 00 more coarse. The coarseness will change the texture of the pasta. It is not true you can use any flour to make pasta. To make pasta with good texture you need to semolina flour, as it has a coarser grain and different starch. To make pasta you use 00 and semolina flour, this will give your pasta the texture you will find in Italy.”
What’s the deal with putting egg in pasta?
“Whenever we add egg to pasta it adds more elasticity to the pasta. More elasticity means the pasta is easier to manipulate. If you add more egg yolk to pasta you will end up with pasta richer in flavour. The more egg yolk the harder the pasta will be to manipulate. For a lighter pasta use whole eggs. For pasta perfection always use a combination of flour, whole eggs, egg yolks, oil, water and salt.”
How long should we work the pasta for?
“The more you work your dough, the more heat generated. If we work the pasta for too long the gluten will stretch and it will become tough to work with. You will know when the pasta is ready when you touch it and it bounces back. Also, you can run a finger over the pasta and if the texture is smooth it is ready, if it has a rough exterior it has been over worked. Typically, the time to work pasta is about 6-8 minutes. You need to work the pasta by hand as your hand will generate more heat and will produce better pasta than by doing it with a machine.”
Should I rinse by pasta after I cook it? Why?
“No, NEVER. When the pasta cooks it absorbs the water, so when you wash it you are washing off the starch and it will become slimy.”
What should we always remember when making pasta?
“In Italy we don’t scale the pasta, we go by heart, so always use your heart when making your pasta. Also remember to have boiling water before putting the pasta in the pan. Move your pasta in pan so it does not stick and always make it al dente. ALWAYS. Also anytime you make pasta after you work it leave your pasta to rest for half an hour this relaxes the pasta. Have fun or if pasta making is not your thing just marry an Italian.”