Pasta Dough, Positano Style

My tastebuds vividly remember my first night in Positano, Italy in 2012.  Mike and I ate dinner at a beachfront restaurant {Tre Sorelle, translated means three sisters}, which offered the freshest seafood and pasta.  With the first bite of my pasta, I knew pasta was made differently in southern Italy.  It was so tender, it almost melted in my mouth, but it was resilient enough to hold up to being twirled on the fork.  

While in Positano, we participated in cooking classes held at La Taverna Del Leone.  The Positano secret to pasta making was revealed to us!  They cook the dough.  This was such a new and different way for me to make pasta dough.  I normally make pasta dough using the flour well method; adding eggs and a pinch of salt inside the well of flour, then using your fingers to whisk the egg picking up flour as you rotate your hand.  After learning this new technique, I'm not sure if I'll go back to the other way.

Beside preparing the dough differently, the Italians also use a different type of flour, "00".  They call it "double oh", like in the James Bond movie... 007, but when I purchased Granoro Farina "00" flour at the Kitchen Conservatory the staff calls it "double zero".  

"00" flour is a finely ground wheat semolina flour which boasts a high protein and gluten content.  This allows the dough to become elastic, resilient, and more porous which allows sauce to adhere to it's surface.  The higher protein also reduces the surface stickiness of the dough which would otherwise gum up the cooking water.  "00" flour is recommended for pasta dough, pizza dough, and bread.

Although I have a pasta maker, I decided to make this dough by hand.  The cut of my noodles are very rustic, but still tender and delicious.  Since this recipe is directly from Italy, it is written in metric units.  You can find inexpensive cooking scales at Amazon or even at the Kitchen Conservatory in St. Louis.  I hope you give this Positano Style of pasta dough a try.  Mangia bene!

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Ingredients for Pasta Dough, Positano Style (make about 24 large ravioli or 6 servings of linguini) 

  • 300 grams of water
  • 10 grams unsalted butter
  • 300 grams "00" flour
  • 2 large eggs
  • pinch of salt, pepper to taste

Directions for Pasta Dough

  1. In a medium sauce pan, bring the water to a boil.  Add the butter, salt and pepper.
  2. Add the flour to the saucepan stirring with a wooden spoon until liquid absorbs.
  3. Place mixture into a mixing bowl and allow to cool.  Once cooled, add 1 egg at a time, mix with electric mixer, and the 2nd egg and mix.
  4. On a well floured countertop, form dough into a ball.  Divide dough into 4 to 6 pieces; roll out using a rolling pin or pasta machine into desired pasta shape.  
  5. Cook  100 grams of pasta in 1 liter of water that is well salted (10 grams of salt per 1 L of water).  Fresh pasta should only take a few minutes to cook, pasta will rise to surface of cooking water.