Being Italian I adore pasta, however this carb is playing havoc with my figure! In any form, fresh or dry, for breakfast, lunch or dinner, I’m not fussy. Any shape goes too, along with incredible mouthwatering and highly flavoured sauces. Making fresh pasta has to be one of the most rewarding tasks in any kitchen, I just switch off and think of nothing else but making pasta.

My Nonna Carmela would always roll her pasta by hand and never use a pasta machine, just a very thin rolling pin and large wooden tombagnio board, but then again she would also wash her clothes over the bath tub with a wooden wash board. Things change, times change and move on and I welcome pasta machines with my arms wide open, a modern Italian mama.

Teaching pasta classes is my passion along with writing, and I find that pasta machines are an invaluable asset to have in any passionate kitchen. However saying that, quality is paramount too. I have had to throw away 2 pasta machines over the past six months. Very sad as one of them was my baby blue machine (a favourite) a red pasta machine I sent back to the seller and a stainless steel machine form my mother which she had for ten years.

I basically killed them, they could not keep up!! The machines were not strong enough, too light weight and the red one (which was a Gino Di Campo machine) was very poor quality badly made and was sent back in disgust. I will say too , do not buy any item that is backed by a celebrity chef………I don’t think they know what they are endorsing half the time……..

Now I have invested in three ‘Imperia’ pasta machines. The Rolls Royce of machine. Solid, sexy and stylish. I am extremely happy with this machine. I can make a KG of pasta now and roll it effortlessly with my ‘Imperia’. Well worth every penny…
I also have a kMix and Kitcheaid and have also the pasta attachments for both of these stand mixers. Superb and leaves you completely hands free. If you have a stand mixer then I would definitely recommend a pasta roller attachment for it. 

Flour, eggs, pinch of salt and a little elbow grease, gives you a simple fresh satisfying egg pasta. I need nothing else. A ravioli can be filled with anything from thyme and mushrooms, sun dried tomato and Parma ham, basil and ricotta or my favourite ricotta and spinach with a pinch or nutmeg.

You do need a little time to make fresh pasta, but to be honest at the moment I am absolutely rushed off my feet. If I’m not tending to the children, I’m teaching, writing or cooking. All of which I love, but I never seem to stop. I never have ‘Me time’. I’m not really bothered about me time. All I want is to be able to cook in peace. Music on, pinny on and I just let my imagination go wild. Even though I have over 300 cookbooks, I find it very difficult to follow a recipe, I don’t like feeling restricted. So I tend to read all my book and learn, then find my own way. Children at school, husband at work and me in the kitchen, perfect!!

Fresh spaghetti and ravioli was the choice of the day, so here I go.

500g 00 flour
5 large eggs, plus one yolk
pinch or salt
1 tbsp olive oil

After making the dough, I split the recipe and made half the dough into spaghetti and the other half into delicious ravioli.

Ricotta filling
250g ricotta
40g spinach, chopped
salt and pepper
a pinch or nutmeg
(mix all ricotta fillings together and set aside, until needed)

Ready to get mixing with my finger tips. To form a dough…..
1. Use a mixer, bowl or on a board. Your choice. I fancied getting a bit messy so I opted for the board.
2. Tip the flour onto a board and make a well in the centre. Tip in the eggs, pinch or salt and oil, be careful because they will spill over!! Now using your finger tips, carefully start mixing and combine all ingredients into a dough.
3. Add a sprinkle of flour on the board and knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Hard work but persevere for as long as you can. Cut the dough in half, wrap in cling and pop in the fridge for 30 minutes. Let the dough rest and prep your pasta machine.
Ricotta and spinach filled ravioli………………
Get your pasta machine secured on your counter.
1. From the thickest setting start rolling the dough. Work your way through to the thinnest setting. Lovely and thin is what your looking for. You want to see your hands through the pasta.
2. Use flour between the pasta layers so that it doesn’t stick.
3. With half the dough I made spaghetti and the other half ravioli.
4. Once the dough is rolled run it through the spaghetti setting, cut and hang on a wooden hanger until ready to cook. 
5. Cut the second half of the dough in small circles or squares for your ravioli and fill with the ricotta mixture. Be careful again to not over fill. Secure with a tiny amount of water and place on a floured tray.
To cook both the ravioli and spaghetti they will take no more than 3 minutes in salted water. Perfect with a sage butter and grated Parmesan.

Spaghetti for my bambini

Carmela x