We were taught to make three different kinds of pasta. We made ravioli, gnocchi, and tagliatelle. First we made the filling for our ravioli; it was made from a combination of spinach, ricotta, and nutmeg. It was mixed together in a large bowl and placed to the side while we began to prepare the pasta dough. The recipe we used for the pasta was eighty to one-hundred grams of flour, one egg, a teaspoon of olive oil, and a pinch of salt. We dusted the board with flour and made a “bowl” out of our ninety grams of flour. Next, we cracked the egg into the “flour bowl” and added the oil and salt.
We then slowly started mixing the egg in with the sides of the “bowl” until it formed a sticky dough. Once the majority of the egg was mixed in the dough was kneaded by hand just until the dough was no longer sticky. Next we rolled out the dough and placed the filling on top of half of the dough before folding the remaining dough over the top to form our ravioli.
We then began working on the tagliatelle. It is the same recipe as before only cut differently. After rolling out the dough we cut the pasta into long thin strips rather than filling them.
Finally, we began working on the gnocchi. We smashed the boiled potatoes (golden potatoes) and added half a bag of flour(all-purpose flour this time) to start.
We then added an egg, a pinch of salt, and some olive oil. This dough was much more difficult to knead. Any time it was touched it became very sticky and hard to handle. After roughly fifteen minutes of hard work the dough was ready to be rolled and cut. To make the classic shape of gnocchi you pinch off some of the dough and roll it into a long cylinder then slice it into smaller (shorter) cylinders.
The flour we used during this pasta making class was a type of durum wheat flour. This flour is very high in protein and has the highest amount of gluten. This makes the pasta dough formed from this flour fairly elastic rather than rising like a cake would. I have been told that this kind of flour (semolina flour) can be difficult to find in the States. Many people will return with a bag of flour from Italy if they plan to make their own pastas.