If someone had told me about a year ago that one day I would be making my own pasta and that my whole family would love it I would have laughed at you until I fell over… I always thought that making your own pasta required a massive amount of skill and effort, needing mad crazy tools such as a pasta rolling machine and the like and requiring a ton of space to hang your pasta to dry like an edible indoor laundry but it’s absolutely not! You don’t even need a bowl! Just your ingredients, a bit of time and a rolling pin!
Strozzapreti is a great place to start making your own pasta because it is ridiculously easy to make and form into pieces and when ready, it only take 2-3 minutes to cook. It tastes great with most sauces and everybody can have a go making it.
The name Strozzapreti is a funny one, it means “priest choker” in Italian and the legends are many, my favourite one though is that in times gone by, the Catholic Church owned much unused land which they used to rent out to families in exchange for food cooked by the wives of the men who worked on the land. The husbands would be so angered by these corruptible and greedy priests that they would wish them to choke whist stuffing their faces with their wives food which in this instance was quick and easy to make for them, hence the name priest choker. Another is that gluttonous priests would be so enamoured by this type of pasta that they would literally stuff their faces with it, choking themselves, sometimes to death! Geesh, I know I have a good appetite, but please!
Anyway, this pasta is a little different from most in that it isn’t made just with flour, eggs and salt. I actually replace most of the eggs with chopped tomatoes and their juices which give the pasta a lovely flavour. Of course you can make Strozzapreti with eggs but I prefer it this way. Try using ’00 flour instead of plain, it’s made with a finer grain specifically for pastas.
This recipe gives you a heck of a lot of pasta, 6-8 servings in fact and be warned… it is VERY filling, so if you want to freeze some for another day, then do it in a ball and defrost it when you want to make more.
- 500g ’00 flour
- 1 large egg
- 3 large tinned plum tomatoes and their juices, finely chopped
- Salt to taste
- Here comes the fun part… Begin by putting a large pan of salted water on the boil.
- Tip the four onto your work surface and make a well in the middle, kind of like a flour volcano on your kitchen worktop.
- Pour the egg and tomatoes into the well and slowly start to bring it all together until you have a dough, much like a bread dough. You might find it becomes either a bit dry or wet, in which case you either add a bit more tomato juice or a bit more flour depending on which it is.
- Take about 1/4 of the dough and place it onto a lightly floured surface. Place a cloth over the remaining pasta dough to prevent it drying out while you work.
- Roll the dough you have on your work surface until it is about 3-5mm thick. Them using a sharp knife, cut it into strips about 3/4 inches wide.
- Take a strip of pasta and using your thumb and forefinger, pinch it together until you can roll it, sort of like a sausage, this will form a long twisted tubes which you then need to cut into 2 inch pieces. Don’t worry about being precise, it’s not about maths!
- Place your cut pasta onto a floured board so that none of the pieces are touching, and when you have as much pasta as you need ready (a board full feeds 2 of us happily), tip it gently into the boiling water.
- Give the pasta a good but gentle stir straight after it all goes into the water to prevent it from sticking together.
- Once the pasta floats to the top of the surface, give it another minutes and add it to whichever sauce you are using (I use my Crazy Simple Rosemary & Garlic Pasta Sauce) along with a splash or three of the starchy pasta water.
- Serve in the pan with crusty bread and salad.