Fresh Macaroni “with the Iron”

16 ounces semolina
6 ¾ ounces warm water

Combine the semolina and water in a large bowl and mix until a rough dough forms. The dough will seem very dry at this point, but resist the temptation to add more water. Transfer to a work surface and knead for about 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for about half an hour.

Cut the dough into eighths. Keeping the remaining dough covered as you work, roll 1 portion of dough into a 3/8-inch thick rope. If the dough springs back as you roll it, cover it with plastic wrap and let it relax for a few minutes before continuing. Using a bench knife, cut the rope into 2-inch pieces. Press a fusilli iron lengthwise into a piece of the dough. Roll back and forth, applying light pressure. The dough should wrap itself around the iron and form a 4 to 5-inch long tube. Gently slide the macaroni off the iron. If it’s stuck, give the iron a slight twist while easing off the macaroni. Make more macaroni with the remaining dough in the same manner. As you work, arrange the macaroni in a single layer on lightly floured parchment-lined baking trays. Let dry for a few hours. 

Makes about 1 ¼ pounds, enough for 4 to 6 main-course servings. This recipe yields a relatively dry dough. Still, the trickiest part is keeping the macaroni from sticking to the fusilli iron, and you might have to experiment with the amount of pressure you apply when rolling and elongating it. If a macaroni gets stuck and you smush it removing it from the iron, never fear: simply ball it up and try again. By the way, if you don’t own a fusilli iron, a bamboo skewer will work just as well if not even better, as dough sticks less to wood than to smooth metal. Knitting needles are often used as well. Cook the macaroni as you would any other pasta, in a large pot of boiling, salted water for 6 to 8 minutes, or until al dente. It’s pictured here with Angry Tomato Sauce made with bacon instead of pancetta. 

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