Friday, March 30, 2012


I purchased a torchio pasta press principally to make bigoli, a long, thick spaghettoni most closely associated with the Veneto region. The press (here) came with two bronze dies: one to make bigoli and another to make gargati, a short tubular pasta. As I worked with the torchio and acquired a range of bronze dies I began to experiment with different dough recipes. I wondered if an egg yolk rich dough would work in a torchio. (Most of the dough recipes that I came across for the torchio only used an egg or two; all called for a hard, firm dough.)

Happily, the experiment worked. Although a yolk-rich dough starts out sticky, it becomes quite firm and dry after a long kneading. If you are interested in trying a different dough in your torchio, here’s one recipe:
  • 9 medium egg yolks
  • 150 grams Caputo tipo 00 flour

1) Weigh out the flour and sift it into a heavy mixing bowl.

2) Make a well in the flour and add the eggs yolks. Beat the yolks with a fork and incorporate them into the flour with the fork until a crumbly mixture forms. Clean the dough off your fork and add it to the bowl.

3) Holding the bowl with one hand, reach into the bowl with your other hand and continue to mix the dough by hand. The goal is to incorporate all of the flour in the bowl into a rough dough that holds together. (If this mixture is too dry and will not come together, add a quick spritz or two of water from a spray bottle.)

4) Turn your dough onto a clean work surface. Wash your hands to remove any dough before kneading.

5) Begin to knead the dough ball by forcefully pushing it down and away from you with your palm’s heel. Fold the dough back over itself toward you. Slightly turn the dough counterclockwise, and knead again. Knead until the dough becomes quite firm (generally between 20 to 25 minutes). The dough should weigh approximately 290 grams.

6) Wrap the dough in plastic. Let the dough rest at room temperature for about 20 minutes.

7) Attach your torchio to a work surface and insert your die of choice. Unwrap the dough and lightly dust it with flour. Roll the dough into a thick cylinder and slide this into the torchio’s chamber. Insert the torchio’s piston into the machine’s chamber and turn the torchio’s handle until the pasta extrudes from the die. Cut to your desired length and place the pasta into a bowl containing flour. Lightly coat the pasta to prevent sticking. Continue turning and cutting until the dough runs out.

To date I’ve tried this dough with a gargati die. Although it’s not a traditional dough for the torchio, your pasta will have a wonderful, firm bite.

If 9 egg yolks seem too much for your taste, you can reduce the number of yolks to 6 (while still using 150 grams of flour). If you use 6 yolks, knead your dough for 15 to 20 minutes. (With fewer yolks the dough starts out fairly dry and needs less time to firm up.)

I enjoy this pasta with an artichoke sauce. It would also work with a rich offal sauce. The recipe serves 4 as a starter or 3 as a main course.