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How to make fresh egg pasta

Fresh pasta has a texture and flavour that is discernibly different from even the finest dried pastas. In some recipes it is almost essential. If you are put off by the high prices in the supermarket, why not learn how to make fresh egg pasta?

First, find your flour. It's important to use the right kind, which is durum wheat flour, preferably the Italian 00 fine kind, available from specialist Italian delicatessens. You could use plain flour but the results might be disappointingly soggy.

To make around 500g of pasta, add three eggs to 350g of flour. Create a hill of flour and hollow out a space to resemble a volcano. Crack the eggs into the hollow with a pinch of salt.

Slowly work the eggs and flour together to form a dough, and knead gently for around 15 minutes. The dough should be firm and elastic and a little glossy.

At this stage that beautiful pasta-maker that has been lying at the bottom of the cupboard comes into its own, as you roll the dough into smooth sheets. If you haven't a pasta-maker, you will need to be quite skilled with a rolling pin. Roll the dough to a thickness of about 3mm.

You are now looking at a delicious array of lasagne sheets. If you want different pasta shapes, get busy with the pasta-maker or a knife. Roll up your sheet loosely and then slice for tagliatelle or linguine. Wind into a loose nest to dry out. For ravioli, dot the sheets with filling, fold over and cut out.

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