Semolina tagliatelle and clams
Fancy a project? Make your own silky semolina tagliatelle, then toss it together with fresh clams, the best cherry tomatoes you can find and parsley – it's well worth the effort
- Serves: 2 persons
- 200g semolina rimacinata flour, plus extra for dusting and cutting
- 400g clams (Palourde are great)
- 60ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tbsp
- 100ml dry white wine
- 2garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 300g Datterini or cherry tomatoes (try getting a variety of red, yellow and orange)
- pinch of dried chilli flakes
- large handful of finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
- 1lemon, zested, plus juice of ½ a lemon
Step 1Put the flour into a large mixing bowl and put on top of a damp kitchen towel on a worksurface – this will help keep the bowl steady. Use one hand to pour a light stream of tepid water into the bowl – roughly 100ml but add gradually as it can vary – and the other to start mixing the flour and water together. You can start by using a spinning motion to get the water evenly distributed through the flour, then start pressing the dough on top of itself to build structure and start forming a dough. If you add all the water and it’s still a little dry, add a splash more. Once it’s incorporated, transfer to a clean worksurface.
Step 2Start to knead the dough into a smooth ball by putting one hand on top of the other, using your whole body to apply pressure. Try to fold the dough into itself using a centre point, making sure no holes are created. Keep kneading for 10-15 mins or until the surface is completely smooth and the dough bounces back after pressing a finger into it. Cover and leave to rest at room temperature for an hour (or in the fridge overnight – but don’t leave in the fridge any longer as the dough will over-hydrate).
Step 3Uncover the dough and separate into eight pieces, covering those you’re not using. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough enough so that it can comfortably fit through the widest setting of a pasta machine without too much difficulty. Roll through the widest setting twice, fold the dough like a book, and drop the machine down to the next setting. Roll the dough through again twice, continuously folding and dropping the machine down to the next setting until the sheet is 1.5mm thick. Cut into even 25cm-long sheets and repeat the process with the remaining dough, leaving the rolled sheets on clean tea towels.
Step 4Lay three sheets of pasta on top of each other, with ample semolina between them. Fold them onto themselves twice then use a sharp knife to cut approximately 2cmwide tagliatelle. Unfurl them gently and keep the pasta in plenty more semolina until needed.
Step 5Soak the clams by either keeping them under running water for 20-30 mins or putting them in a large container of heavily salted water for 30 mins, changing once – this is to get rid of any grit.
Step 6Bring a large pot of salted water to a rapid boil. Thoroughly drain the clams. Heat a large frying pan to a high heat. Add 1 tbsp of olive oil (it should ripple immediately if the pan is hot enough) followed by the clams and white wine, and immediately cover with a lid. Shake the pan for a minute or two. Remove the lid, add the garlic, tomatoes and chilli flakes, cover and shake again briefly. Keep the lid on for 3-4 mins or until the clams have opened. Uncover and continue cooking for 3-4 mins until the tomatoes have broken down and the liquid has thickened.
Step 7Meanwhile, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook for 2 mins or until al dente. Drain, reserving a scoop of the cooking water, and add the pasta to the pan of clams, along with a little of the cooking water, tossing to combine. Add the remaining olive oil and keep tossing until a thick sauce is created. Add a splash more cooking water if it seems a little dry.
Step 8Off the heat, add the parsley, lemon zest and lemon juice, and taste for seasoning. Add another good pinch of sea salt to taste. Serve and enjoy with a glass of crisp white wine.