Extruded Pasta Dough
- 500 grams semolina flour, plus more for dusting q.b. (preferably Rustichella d’Abruzzo semola rimacinata)
- 175 grams water, at room temperature
- Like all pasta dough, extruded pasta dough begins with a ratio. Mine is 25 to 30 percent water to semolina by weight. Most home pasta extruders have a capacity of 500g at a time, which will yield about four regular portions of pasta or six smaller portions, once you account for losing about one-quarter to one- third of the batch at the beginning of the process(more on that later), hence the flour and water measurements for this dough. Feel free to use smaller amounts, so long as you keep the ratio intact. From here, pretty much the entire process diverges from the making of fresh pasta.
- To begin, attach your preferred die to the machine and open the hopper. Add the full volume of semolina, and then turn the machine to “mix.” While the machine is in motion, gradually add the water about 1 Tbsp or so at a time. Before you add the full amount of water, pause the machine and check the hydration. (I do this once I’ve added three-quarters of the water.) Open the hopper and grab some of the “dough” in your hand. In the mixing chamber, it should appear loose and crumbly, like the top of a coffee cake. When you make a fist with the “dough,” it should bind together and hold the impression of your hand but still easily break up into a crumb-like texture. If it does not bind at all, add a very small amount of water—about 1 Tbsp—keeping in mind that the word dough is deceiving. The mixture should be fairly dry in the mix phase ,as it does not actually become a dough until it goes through the die.
- Return the machine to mix for 5 minutes. Pause it again and open the hopper to check the texture of the “dough,” scraping down any that is clinging to the sides of the machine. Let the “dough” rest in the machine for 5 minutes. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and generously dust with semolina. Set it next to the machine
- Switch the machine to “extrude.” As the pasta begins to emerge from the machine, it will appear both rigid and a bit gnarled and untrue to form, no matter what die you’re using. Texture is what you’re looking for on the surface of the pasta, but not so much that the pasta appears as though someone chewed it up and spit it out. This ragged debut is what happens as the machine heats up but hasn’t quite reached the optimal temperature for extrusion, and the dough is not yet binding uniformly. You will inevitably have to discard some of your batch (generally 50 to 100g), particularly on your first run. As the machine warms it up, the pasta will begin extruding with greater ease and the surface texture will reveal a delicate ridged pattern—looking almost like a strand of hair under a microscope. Use a bench scraper to cut the pasta, and set it aside on the sheet pan. (If you’re making a long pasta, be sure to pull it out of the machine gently, untangling any strands as they emerge.)When the entirety of the “dough” has been extruded, shut off the machine, sprinkle the pasta on the sheet pan with another layer of semolina, and set aside to dry uncovered at room temperature.