Thursday, 31 July 2014

Homemade Semolina Pasta

Homemade Semolina Pasta
All my life I've seen homemade pasta being made with bread flour and eggs. That's how my grandma makes it,  how I've always made it and how I re-learned it in cooking school. 
Then not long ago I was watching a cooking show where the chef recommended using semolina because it is more nutritious than regular flour.
I'm not a nutritionist so I can't confirm if this statement is true or not, but through a quick Google search I could see that Semolina appears to have more Calcium, Vitamin D and Vitamin B-12 than our good and old bread flour. 
So I decided to modify my homemade pasta recipe and use semolina instead of flour. I had to go through a few tests to achieve a great, if not the best, pasta recipe. During my experiments, I noticed that the semolina noodles dry out pretty fast. Therefore, this might be the perfect recipe if you want to dry out your pasta for storage.However I would like to bring your attention to the fact that this recipe contains raw eggs and although the process of drying should eliminate the risk of bacteria contamination, I strongly recommend the use of pasteurized eggs. If you have questions and doubts about dried pasta storage, I found this interesting article online Dried Egg Pasta: Hidden Danger or Perfectly Safe? 

Homemade Semolina Pasta
Last but not least, I also have to point out that, due to the fast drying process this pasta goes through, I did not have much luck making Raviolis and Tortellini. The dough dried out too quickly and I had problems making the end of the little pillows glue together. 
You can serve this delicious semolina pasta with any sauce you like. In this post, I'm sharing a delicious, tasty and easy sauce, perfect for a beautiful summer evening meal. 

Mediterranean Style Sauce

Mediterranean Style Sauce

Preparation time: 2 hrs
Yield: 4 portions

Ingredients for the pasta dough
  • 300g Semolina flour
  • 2 Large eggs
  • 3 tbsp Water
  • 1 tsp Salt

Mediterranean Sauce
  • 5 tbsp Olive oil
  • 4 Cloves of garlic - chopped
  • 1/2 Large Chili pepper
  • 1/2 cup Black olives
  • 1 and 1/2 cups Cherry tomatoes
  • 250g Feta cheese
  • 2 tsp Dried oregano
  • 2 tbsp Parsley - chopped
  • 1 tbsp Basil - chopped
  • 2 tsp Thyme
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Salt and pepper to taste
For the pasta dough start by placing the semolina and salt in a large bowl. Form a well in the middle of the semolina and add the two eggs. Start by mixing with a fork until the eggs are incorporated by the semolina then knead with your hands, adding water as needed. You might not need the whole amount of water (depending on the weight of your eggs). You want to end up with a moist, firm and not sticky dough. Wrap it with plastic wrap and set it in the fridge to rest for 30 minutes. 

You have a couple of options to make up your noodles:
1) If you have a pasta machine, cut the dough in pieces, spread them with a rolling pin and using the press setting, start to run the dough pieces through the press from the largest opening to the smallest.Then you can use the linguine (or spaghetti) setting to cut the noodles. Dust them with more semolina and set them aside to dry or later use.
2) If you don't have a pasta machine, you can still flat the dough out with the rolling pin. It will take a bit of time but it's completely doable. Once you reach a 1 mm thickness, you can cut your noodles using a knife. This process will give you a more rustic look. ;)

To cook the pasta, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Once it's boiling, drop in noodles. It shouldn't take too long to cook, maybe a couple of minutes. My suggestion is to try a piece and check if it's to your liking. 

For the sauce heat up the olive oil to medium in a large skillet. Add chopped garlic and chili slices and fry them until the garlic starts to develop a caramel color. Turn off the heat, add the juice of one lemon, dried oregano and the olives. When the sauce temperature has cooled considerably, add the herbs, salt and pepper to taste (you want to be careful with the salt because the Feta cheese is already pretty salty). Then toss in your pasta, tomatoes and Feta cheese. Optional: you can add another 2 tbsp of olive oil for a fresher taste. 

These items can help you prepare homemade pasta dishes:

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  1. Giovanna, looks delicious! It's been too long since I last made homemade pasta of any kind. This goes on my list!

  2. Thanks Jean, it was indeed very tasty! I love making homemade pasta.. actually, I love making anything that involves flour and kneading! hehehe

  3. I have always wanted to try homemade pasta, and this looks great!

    1. It's delicious and totally worth it! Let me know if you try it :)