Is there anything more wonderful than pasta? It is easy and inexpensive to make, so versatile and convenient. I ate pasta at least twice a week growing up. I learned how to make pasta at a fairly young age and as time went on, I realized all the unique and creative ways you could prepare homemade pasta, transforming it from something simple to something spectacular.
One of my favorite ways to prepare pasta is by forming a “pasta textile”. You can achieve this in the simplest form by adding fresh herbs to transform a plain pasta dough sheet into something beautiful. Once you create your textile, you can use it to create longer noodles such as pappardelle or fazzoletti (handkerchief pasta) or smaller shapes such as farfalle (bow ties). There are endless pastabilities!
Garganelli are one of my favorite pasta shapes. It is similar to penne, which is an extruded shape without a seam. Garganelli are formed by hand rolling a sheeted, square cut noodle into a tube shape, so there is a seam. Garganelli can be formed on a smooth surface, or as I prefer, a ridged surface. You can use a small gnocchi board, or a silicone sushi mat (easily found online). You can also use different sized wooden dowels depending on how fat or thin you want the final shape.
1 portion basic pasta recipe (see below)
Fresh flat leaf herbs, cleaned and stemmed (mint, basil, flat leaf parsley, sage all work well)
BASIC PASTA RECIPE (Yield 12 ounces of pasta) Ingredients
2 cups 00 flour (can also use AP)
3 large eggs
Wooden cutting board
Pasta machine or rolling pin
Pasta cutter or sharp knife
Baking sheet lightly dusted with flour
Gnocchi board or silicone sushi mat
Dowel (I use a 1/4” or 1/2”)
1. In a food processor, pulse flour and eggs until you have a couscous like consistency. Remove the dough from processor onto a wooden board, knead a few minutes, shape into a ball, wrap with cling film and let sit at room temp for 30 minutes.
2. Take a portion of the dough ball to sheet, keeping the unused dough covered to prevent it from drying out.
3. Sheet pasta dough using a pin or pasta machine to ALMOST your desired thickness.
4. Once you have rolled out a sheet to ALMOST the desired thickness, lay your sheet onto a work surface lengthwise.
5. Place herbs onto 1/2 the sheet, close together but not overlapping, and then fold over the remaining 1/2 sheet of dough and press lightly together. Return your pasta sheeter to a slightly thicker setting to accommodate the doubled sheet and continue to slowly sheet until you achieve the desired thickness. As you continue to sheet to thinner settings, you will see the new pasta textile being formed.
For garganelli, you do not want a super thin sheet as you will be forming thicker shapes. I usually stop at the second to last thinnest setting.
Cut your textile into 2 inch squares. Place a square on your gnocchi board or sushi mat so that it lays in a diamond shape. Place the dowel at the bottom of the square and fold the bottom tip over the dowel. With a bit of pressure roll away from you around the dowel. The gnocchi board or mat will press ridges into the pasta square. Remove the pasta from the dowel and place on your baking sheet. You can cook these immediately in boiling salted water. The cook time will depend on how thick/large you have made the garganelli, check after a couple minutes if making them fresh. You may also flash freeze the tray of garganelli and then store in an airtight freezer bag.
I usually serve these with fresh tomato sauce but any sauce would work well with this shape.
FRESH TOMATO SAUCE
3 cups chopped tomatoes
2-4 minced garlic cloves
1 small chopped onion (shallots work well too)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoons crushed red pepper if you like some heat
Fine sea salt and black pepper to taste
Mix all together and let sit at room temp for several hours.
If you do not have a dowel, you can easily purchase one at a home improvement store and have them cut the dowel to size.
You can change the garganelli finished size by using different sized dowels.
De-stem the herbs so that the stem does not puncture through the dough when sheeting.
You can use one herb or mix and match, the ones I have listed work well alone or together.
The pasta squares can be 2” or larger if you prefer, there is no right size.
Photos by Adam Yosim and Laurie Boucher
Laurie Boucher has been practicing law for 25 years, and currently maintains her law office while practicing part time as a mediator. In the last couple of years, as her family has grown and evolved, she decided to shift her priorities and pursue her passion for cooking more seriously. Laurie is currently enrolled as a Culinary Arts student at Anne Arundel Community College in the HCAT Program. She is an avid home cook, but appreciates the knowledge she is gaining with a formal culinary education.
"My biggest passion is PASTA! I have been making pasta since I was a young girl. There is nothing more fulfilling than taking some humble ingredients and turning them into a delicious meal. I am fascinated with regional pasta shapes, and have even come up with some of my own creations! I also love the artisan side of making pasta textiles through colors using all natural herbs and vegetables. I enjoy transforming those textiles into something that is not only delicious, but beautiful."