One of the biggest decisions to make before you embark on a pasta cooking mission at home is whether you are going to use shop-bought or homemade pasta. If you want to get pasta delivered to your door, check out Gigi’s Pasta. If you are cooking to impress your other half or a group of friends, you might decide that making pasta from scratch is the way to go. So what do you need if you go down the homemade route? It’s actually surprisingly simple, you will need ‘00’ flour, available in most shops, eggs, a rolling pin, and a pasta machine. You can either mix the flour and eggs in a food processor or by hand until you have a solid dough, and this is then popped in the fridge for 30 minutes. Once the dough is chilled you are ready to flatten it with a rolling pin and feed it into the pasta machine to get the type of pasta you want for your dish.
- Spaghetti bolognese – If you are looking for an incredibly tasty but pretty simple dish, this is the one for you. The sauce is made from finely chopped vegetables, including garlic, onion, carrot and celery, beef mince, herbs and tomatoes. The longer you can leave the sauce cooking for, the thicker and more delicious it will be. If you want to impress your dinner guests by making an authentic dish, you should use a thicker pasta such as tagliatelle as Italians would never serve a bolognese sauce with a thin pasta like spaghetti. Once you’ve served this dish you can make it even more delicious by adding a generous handful of cheese and a twist of black pepper.
- Spaghetti carbonara – Another absolute winner of a dish, you cannot fail to impress if you serve this up. Although it is slightly more complex than spaghetti bolognese, this dish is still one that you can put together fairly quickly and simply. The dish consists of fried garlic and pancetta, and the sauce is made from beaten eggs and grated parmesan and pecorino cheese. Once your spaghetti is cooked you mix it all together, ensuring everything is coated but whatever you do, don’t end up with scrambled egg!
- Lasagne – The great thing about this dish is that once you’re confident with making bolognese sauce, you can also use it in your lasagne. You assemble the dish by spooning in bolognese, then a layer of pasta sheets, and then some white sauce. You can either use shop-bought or homemade white sauce: if making from scratch you will need to heat flour and butter and slowly add milk until you have a smooth sauce. Repeat the layering process until you have 3 layers of pasta. Once you have added the final layer, cover with white sauce and top with cheese. Delizoso!
There are many more tasty pasta dishes that you can have a go at cooking but these are a great starting point for your Italian culinary journey.