This is a very useful dough which can be used for all your egg pasta shapes: fettuccine, tagliatelle, pappardelle, lasagne, etc. Egg pasta goes very well with meaty sauces such as the ragù such as the Ragù alla Bolognese.
Watch the video to see the kneading technique, and hear some anecdotes on the history of Ragù.
10-15 mins of preparation,
1 hour of resting (if using dough on the same day), or overnight resting in the fridge (with additional 0.5 hour resting outside the fridge before shaping the pasta).
This recipe was prepared for a dinner of 5 persons.
- 500g of “00” Italian flour, in a big bowl
- 5 large eggs
- Wooden board for kneading
- Cling wrap
- Pinch of salt (Optional)
- Extra virgin olive oil (Optional)
- With your fingers, make a “volcano crater” in the middle of the flour bowl, and break the eggs into the cavity. Use the best eggs you can find, it will make a big difference. We use cage-free eggs.
- With a fork, slowly incorporate flour into the eggs in a circular motion.
- When the eggs are no longer visible (no liquid of the eggs is visible in the flour mix), continue to knead with hands for a few minutes. Your dough will start forming bits of sticky lumps.
- When the flour mix starts to form a loose lump (sticky bits with only about 10-20% powder of the flour), pour it onto the board and continue kneading. At this point, your dough is still a bit sticky to your fingers.
- Knead for 10-15 minutes by flattening and stretching with the lower palms of your hands until dough has an elastic texture. At the end, your dough should not stick to your fingers or the board. See kneading tips below.
- Shape into a thick disk, wrap tightly with a cling wrap, and set aside to rest (outside for 1 hour, or in the fridge overnight).
We used a pasta machine to shape our dough into fettuccine the next day. See the recipe here.
Where we bought our ingredients in Singapore:
- “00” Italian Flour – Scoop, the nearest to us at Great World City
Other options: Phoon Huat, Little Farms
- Cage-Free Large Eggs – Any big supermarkets, refrigerated (usually near dairy items) – Fair Price, Cold Storage, Little Farm.
- As you knead, remove the dry flaky bits that are not absorbed into the dough. Do not force them into the dough as they will not be fully incorporated. This is common for egg pasta dough.
- If sticky, your dough is too wet and you should sprinkle some flour as you knead.
- If you feel that your dough is too dry, wet the tips of your finger.
- Your dough is ready when it is no longer sticky and has developed enough resistance to your kneading as a smoother big lump.
- Do not over-knead as your pasta will develop too much gluten and become too chewy.
- Do not use a mixer to knead your dough, as a mixer uses too much strength even at its lowest setting and your dough will develop too much gluten.
Alternative Kneading Technique
My wife uses a different kneading technique — the “菊花 chrysanthemum” / “spiral” wedging technique used to prepare clay before throwing, which she learned from her ceramic class at Ceramic House. You may have seen videos of Chinese/Japanese chefs using the same technique to prepare noodle dough.
“Strong” vs “Weak” Flour Types
“Strong” flours have a protein content of 12% and above, and are used for bread, pizza, focaccia and the likes.
“Weak” flours have lower protein content and are typically used for pasta and cakes. The “00” Italian Flour is a “weak” (but no less delicious) flour.
My grandmother would give the dry flaky bits of flour that were otherwise thrown away to the chickens and pigs outside. Unfortunately, we do not have any in Singapore.
To Egg or Not To Egg
The egg pasta was traditionally from the North of Italy. In the South where I come from, the traditional pasta uses semolina and water (and a pinch of salt). My paternal grandmother, for example, used only the no-egg dough. My maternal nonna who was more adventurous (she had a pen pal from even further north, in Germany) made the egg pasta sometimes. The egg pasta is of course now a staple all over the country.
The types of two pasta doughs have different textures. As I mentioned, the egg pasta can be accompanied by meaty sauces such as the ragù such as the Ragù alla Bolognese, Napoletana, Siciliana, Pugliese, Calabrese, etc.