Whenever I’m in the grocery store buying pasta, I find myself gravitating toward the most obscurely shaped noodles. There just seems to be more life and fun to a pasta dish when you use interesting noodles. Enter, Garganelli pasta. On a recent trip to visit my mom in SoCal, she took me to one of her favorite spots, Eataly LA. This place has all things Italy: Fresh made pasta, kitchen knick-knacks and do-dads, Extra Virgin Olive Oils on tap, a fresh produce section, European Cheeses, a butcher, desserts, coffee shop and multiple restaurants. Seriously, if you find yourself in LA/West Hollywood, check this place out. Now, back to my funny noodle obsession. While we were there, we ate at one of the restaurants. I had a Tagliatelle Bolognese, and it was incredible. But wait, you say, this is about Garganelli?? I didn’t actually eat the Garganelli, but I DID see it while exploring the multiple aisles of assorted pastas. I began wondering how in the heck do these people make such a fun pasta?
Once I got home from my trip, I explained the pasta shape to the hubs and I did it no justice; “Well it was this rolled pasta with ribs, and it looks kinda like penne but cooler and, well, I think we should try it..” So, here we are. PS. I just stopped to take a sip of my new favorite spin on a mimosa, “POGmosa”. Check it. Anyway, we decided to give this cutie little pasta a try. I used my traditional Pasta Dough recipe, but per a conversation with a pasta maker at Eataly who suggested Semolina Flour for pasta, I decided to switch it up a bit.
Before this conversation, I didn’t even know what semolina flour was. How are there so many types of flour? All purpose was literally the only flour in my life until maybe a year ago. Better late than never, I guess. According to Google, Semolina Flour is coarse, purified wheat middlings of durum wheat. To me, it feels much coarser than an All-Purpose Flour. Almost like a corn meal, but this texture does not transfer to the pasta itself. It creates a soft, delectable, mouth feel that has just the right amount of melt in your mouth and al dente crunch.
So, let’s get to the nitty gritty. As I said earlier, we used our ravioli pasta dough recipe but substituted half Semolina flour. To start, flour a large working surface. Pile your flour onto your surface and create a well in the middle. Add your whole eggs first and then the egg yolks. You have to make a pretty large well for all eggs to fit. Add the salt to the eggs in the well.
Using a large fork, begin whisking the eggs, incorporating a little bit of flour at a time. Soon, the mixture will be too thick to whisk. This is where you get dirty. Get some flour on your hands and work that dough. Once the dough is combined enough to hold, get rid of the excess flour/egg that didn’t stick. Don’t worry about saving this, you’ll have plenty of noodles, promise! Add smidge of fresh flour to your surface. I usually work the dough by hand for around 10 minutes. Take the dough, use the heel of your hand and push the dough away from you. Fold, push, repeat. The dough will take shape and become a pliable, yet firm consistency. After 10 minutes or so, form the dough into a ball. Lightly oil the exterior and wrap in plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 30-40 minutes.
After 30-40 minutes, take the dough and separate into smaller, workable pieces. We usually separate ours into 6 pieces. Here’s where the nifty kitchen tools come into play. We’ve always used our KitchenAid Pasta Roller to the make the pasta sheets. You can roll these out by hand, but get ready for about 45 minutes of added work. If you have a KitchenAid, the pasta roller accessory is a wonderful addition. We use ours ALL THE TIME. Keep in mind, Hubs and I have full time jobs, hobbies (outside of food) and social lives. We still make pasta a lot. We also like pasta A LOT.
Once you know what you’re doing, it’s pretty easy. Follow the instructions included, and you should be just fine. We usually roll to a 7 setting, 8 being the thinnest. We like our pasta to be pretty thin and it works well for this pasta. As you work through the settings, go through 1 a few times, then 3, then 5 and finally, 7. Once you get to 7, you’ll likely need extendo arms or another human. Hubs and I have it down. He slides the pasta sheet all the way down his arm and I snag the last little bit and lay it on a large working space. For this pasta, we cut the sheet down to small, symmetrical squares. We had piles and piles of little squares. Here’s where the fun part begins. Oh wait, that’s right. It’s ALL FUN.
My mom gifted me the cutest little pasta thing. It’s meant for gnocchi, but it is perfect for this too! It’s a small, wooden block with a handle. You roll the pasta along the grooves. It creates a pasta that is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Spoiler Alert: grooves in pasta serve as sauce catchers. TA DA! We used a reusable straw and the wooden block to roll the pasta. Take one square, start with a pointed end on the edge of the straw and run it along the grooves in the block. This will create a grooved, spun pasta. With the right amount of pressure and wrist flick, you can create a sealed pasta tube that is both beautiful and sauce catching.
Once you’ve got your army of Garganelli, you can either toss them in a big pot of boiling, salted water until al dente (usually 3-5 min), or you can dry them out and use them later. We cooked ours up ASAP because we can’t handle suspense. I made a simple, Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage Sauce to go with them. One of my most favorite pasta sauce creations to date. Top your pasta with some fresh, Italian parsley and grated Parmesan et voila! A delicious, date night worthy, dinner for you and your favorite Pea.
- Gnocchi Board
- Reusable Straw
- Large Pot
- KitchenAid Mixer
- KitchenAid Pasta Roller
- 1 Cup 00 Italian Flour
- 1 Cup Semolina Flour
- 3 ea Eggs
- 2 ea Egg Yolks
- 1 tsp Salt
- On a large, floured surface, add both flours to make a mound. In the center, create a large well. Add eggs, egg yolk and salt to the center of the well.
- Using a large fork, whisk eggs, slowly incorporating the flour. Once the flour is too thick to be whisked, use hands to combine remaining flour until a loose ball is formed.
- Discard any bits of flour and egg that didn't stick to the ball and clean surface. Add a bit more flour and begin working the dough.
- Using the heel of your palm, push the dough away from you, fold and repeat. Continue this process for around 10 minutes.
- Once the dough is pliable, use a very small amount of olive oil to cover the exterior of the dough and wrap in cling-wrap. Let the dough rest for 30-40 minutes.
- Once your dough has rested, separate into small sections, around 6 pieces. Flatten each piece to fit into your pasta roller. Follow the instructions on your pasta roller to until you have a very thin sheet. For a KitchenAid, we roll to a 7 setting. You should be able to almost see through the dough.
- Lay out each sheet and cut off the ends to make a long rectangular shape. Begin cutting each sheet into small squares. The more symmetrical, the prettier the pasta!
- Take the point of a square and line it up against the reusable straw. Roll the straw along the board. This should create grooves in the pasta and create a cylindrical shape. It takes some practice, but with the right amount of pressure and wrist flick, you'll get a nice, sealed noodle.
- Bring a large salted pot of water to a boil. Add your fresh noodles to the pot for about 3-5 minutes. Add the pasta to your favorite pasta sauce, like our Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage sauce, and enjoy!