FLOUR is a fashionable ingredient nowadays. In the last couple of years a variety of flours has appeared in Italian food shops, even here in the province! Manitoba, spelt, rice, barley, chick peas flours. Flour for pizza, flour for flat breads, flour for… you-name-it-it’s-there.
However, the average Italian home cook uses two types of white flour :
“00″ flour : finely ground, soft-wheat flour, suitable for cakes, pastry and pasta
“0″ flour : relatively coarse white flour , suitable for pizza, focaccia and bread
Traditionally fresh pasta is made with “00″ flour to obtain a silky texture and delicate taste. Durum wheat flour (semolina) is used to make dried pasta like spaghetti, penne, fusilli or homemade orecchiette e cavatelli.
Even though “00″ flour might not be available outside Italy, it is still possible to make very good fresh pasta using pastry or cake flour.
Adding different flours will change the taste and texture of the pasta. To avoid disasters, it is better to start with no more than 20% of the new flour.
Fresh pasta made with 100% semolina is chewy and hard to work with. Pasta dough made with regular baking or “0″ flour is often sticky. The resulting pasta lacks body even when dry and overcooks easily.
In my family, the only other ingredient used to make pasta is eggs. Fresh organic eggs if possible. And a bit of time. That’s it.