Despite its rather regal-sounding name, strapponi pasta couldn’t be easier or more accessible in terms of making it from scratch. It’s a rustic pasta rolled by hand with an unfussy method and no special equipment or fancy cutting techniques. And it’s ideal for novice and experienced pasta makers alike. The fresh pasta that results may just ruin you for dried pasta forevermore. The spare yet sophisticated sauce of seasonal mushroom sauce that accompanies it is quite lovely…yet not so showy as to overshadow the fresh noodles cut by hand.–Angie Zoobkoff
Strapponi Pasta with Porcini Mushrooms
For the homemade pasta
- 3 1/3 cups 00 flour or all-purpose flour
- 4 large eggs
Make the homemade pasta
- On a large cutting board or clean countertop, mound the flour into a pile. Use your fingers to make a shallow well in the center, making sure the rim is fairly high.
- Pour the eggs into the well. (If you see danger approaching, shore up the height of the rim so the eggs don't overflow.) Use your fingers or a fork to scramble the eggs together. They’re mixed sufficiently when you lift the fork and you have a homogeneous, non-clumpy liquid that falls smoothly from the tines.
- Slowly draw your fork along the inside of the flour wall so a small quantity of flour falls into the egg mixture and then whisk it in, smashing any lumps, so you gradually start to create a thick batter.
- Repeat until you have a mixture that won’t run all over your work surface. At this point, you can cave in the flour walls with a bench scraper by scraping the flour inwards and over the batter and mixing it all in. (Alternatively, you can beat the egg and flour together in a bowl or in a food processor, but it’s not as fun.)
- Mop up any flour with the dough and give it a quick knead. If the dough feels sticky, add a tablespoon of flour and gently knead it. The dough should feel soft and pillowy and not too sticky.
- Brush away any excess flour on your work surface.
- Knead the dough for at least 10 minutes. Think of the movement of your hands as waves, with the heels of your hands pushing the dough away from you, while your fingers are pulling it back. Once your dough has become a log, stop and turn it 90 degrees and then fold it in half and continue kneading. You want to work at a brisk pace, as air is the enemy of decent pasta—it will dry it out, so don’t dawdle. (Alternatively, you can knead the dough in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook.)
☞ TESTER TIP: If the pasta feels too dry, dampen your hands with a little water as you knead to lend some moisture back into the dough.
- You're done kneading when your dough feels silken and smooth. It should be ever so slightly elastic so when you press your thumb into the dough, it should bounce back.
- Place the dough in a medium bowl and cover it with a lid or plastic wrap to keep it from drying out. (You can leave the pasta dough in the fridge overnight. The color will darken but it will taste the same. It’s important to bring the pasta back to room temperature before you attempt to roll it.)
- Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes. This relaxes the gluten and makes it easier to roll out.
- When the dough has rested for 30 minutes, use a rolling pin or pasta roller to thin the dough to about 1/8 inch (3 mm) thickness.
Make the mushroom sauce
- In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the garlic and mint and cook until the garlic is golden, 1 to 2 minutes
- Stir in the chopped mushrooms, a pinch of salt, and the water. Cook until the liquid evaporates and then continue to cook the mushrooms until golden, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove the garlic.
- Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil, salt it, and return it to the boil.
Cook the pasta
- Gently roll the pasta dough around your rolling pin, hold the pin above and near the water (don’t burn yourself in the steam) and gently pull pieces off and drop them in the water. (Alternatively, you can simply tear off pasta strips/squares/odd shapes roughly the size of a credit card and then dump them in the boiling water.)
- Boil the pasta until it’s cooked through and the pieces are beginning to float, 2 to 3 minutes, depending on the thickness of your pasta.
- Drain the pasta and add it to the mushroom mixture. Give everything a good toss. Serve immediately.
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Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
Recipe Testers’ Reviews
This recipe is lovely for a couple of reasons: first, the results are utterly divine, and second, the recipe itself is a wonderfully informative pasta-making tutorial. The steps and instructions are so detailed that you actually feel as if you are in the kitchen with the recipe author! Whether you’re a pasta-making novice or a skilled pro, the recipe guides you effortlessly through the process and makes the reader feel at ease in the kitchen.
Simplicity is the key here; both in the traditional pasta-making technique and in the basic ingredients used to make this gorgeous homemade pasta with a garlicky mushroom sauce. As someone who has made pasta many a time before, I really do think the proportion of flour to eggs for the pasta dough was perfect. The dough didn’t need a tremendous amount of kneading and the results were eggy perfection.
The addition of fresh mint in the mushroom sauce was a pleasant surprise as well; I would have expected basil or parsley here, but the slight sweetness of mint actually is nice with the woody mushroom flavor. I used a 1 lb.-mix of sliced baby bellas, shiitakes, and oyster mushrooms.
I used my hands to knead the dough but I did use my pasta attachment roller to roll the dough.
The cooking time for the fresh pasta was minimal, right at 2 minutes—at this point the strands began to float to the top and I tested one to make sure they were tender and just right.
At first, I was tempted to add some grated Pecorino to the finished plates of pasta, but I held myself back. And honestly, it wasn’t needed. This recipe goes to show that for Italians, it is always more about the pasta than the sauce. If your pasta is homemade and is as dreamy as this torn pasta is, the sauce is definitely secondary to the dish. I really loved the rustic nature of this mushroom pasta dish, and will be making it again…and soon!
For those who think that preparing fresh pasta is difficult, start by trying this recipe. The pasta can be made by hand, which makes the experience much more enjoyable, but for those who don’t want to risk it, it can also be prepared with the help of a food processor. And if the fear is not being able to get the perfect shape, then this question is solved: simply cut pieces of dough, without a specific shape, that are then cooked in boiling salted water in a few minutes, like any fresh pasta must be.
I had the fun of mixing the dough by hand and I didn’t need to add more flour to the dough. The dough was soft, not too sticky. I kneaded the dough with a food processor, using a dough hook, for 10 minutes.
The taste of the pasta is delicious: al dente, sautéed with mushrooms and mint, and the aroma of garlic, which, as in many Italian recipes, is added for flavor and removed before serving. I used mixed wild mushrooms.
I was hesitant to try this recipe because it just seemed too plain to be worth the effort of making fresh pasta. Thankfully, I was so, so wrong. The flavor of the dressing is brilliantly rich and fresh all at once; the unexpected addition of the mint is perfect.
I could only get half the amount of porcini required so I followed the author’s recommendation and used chanterelles as well.
The instructions for the pasta were easy enough to follow and yielded noodles that were quite tender and a perfect complement to the mushrooms. The amounts given worked well; I didn’t have to add much in terms of water or flour while kneading. I kneaded the dough by hand for 12 minutes and then rolled it out with a pasta machine, after letting it rest. I didn’t feel confident to pull the pieces off my rolling pin so I just tore it into pieces and dropped them into the boiling water. I had rolled it as thin as possible so the noodles were ready in less than 3 minutes.