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Oct 21, 2011 12:39 PM

Semolina pasta dough recipe?

I recently toured a professional kitchen where the chef had a big, expensive pasta machine that would produce flat, stuffed or extruded pastas. The "dough" the chef used had only semolina flour, egg and water in it (the chef said he couldn't use any oil or salt in his pasta machine). I say "dough" in quotes, because in the machine's mixer, the dough looked very dry and crumbly, but it came out of the machine (which apparently compressed it) beautifully. He also said that by using 100% semolina flour and no AP flour, he had no issue with the undried pasta sticking together. He even rolled long flat sheets around a roller (for lasagna or ravioli) with no concern of the pasta sticking together.

All recipes I have found for semolina pasta dough have a mixture of both AP and semolina (generally 50/50 or so). The pasta recipe I have used so far with my Atlas pasta roller is 100% AP flour (2 cups), 3 eggs, 1 tbsp salt and 1 tsp olive oil. I need this into a smooth ball, let rest 30 minutes, then begin processing through the Atlas until smooth, then gradually rolling to desired thickness. It doesn't seem to me this would work with the dough I saw this chef using - it just seemed to dry for that approach.

Does anyone have a 100% semolina dough recipe, and is that something that would work with an Atlas roller? Any thoughts?


P.S. The chef also introduced me to a new extruded pasta shape I had never heard of or seen on any many called "gigli". It's name comes from its resemblance to a flower of the same name. Is this new for anyone else as well? It's sort of conical like a calla lily, but with a frilly edge at the top.

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  1. Emeril and Mario both have a semolina only pasta recipes on the food network site

    I think the pasta sounds like Campanelle?

    1. I've used both a few types of pasta machines, a large commercial machine that mixed the dough in a hopper and rolled out flat sheets, then by changing the dies, would cut the dough into various shapes, and also the smaller Atlas; we used 100% semolina flour in the commercial machine (it was in a professional setting.) It's completely possible to use just 100% semolina flour, eggs and salt for the dough, especially when using a machine to roll it out. It your dough is too dry, spritz it with a little water. I recommend letting the dough rest before rolling, and unlike your chef, I would add a little olive oil, a teaspoon or so per cup of flour. As ROCKLES said, there are plenty of semolina only dough recipes on the web.

      On the matter of your pasta shape, there is a gigli, also referred to as cornetti; check this link for the photo:

      1. I have not had luck with all semolina with a regular roller pasta machine. But I can use up to one half semolina if I put the semolina and eggs--with a dolop of olive oil-- in the food processor (I don't mix my dough by hand) and process that for a minute--it will be soupy--and then let it sit for another minute to get more hydrated. I then proceed with the AP flour until the right consistency, just short of turning into a ball. Let it rest wrapped and proceed with rolling.

        1. I have made pasta with semolina with no problems but you need to keep it a little thicker than pasta made with regular flour. I would not add water though, if your pasta dough does not roll well and stays too crumbly add egg yolk. As I live in Italy the semolina we use is rather finely ground. If the flour you use is too course you might also have problems keeping it together.

          5 Replies
          1. re: madonnadelpiatto

            You can also make the semolina finer by putting it in the food processor or blender dry and letting it whir.

            1. re: madonnadelpiatto

              I have the hardest time making semolina pasta. I have tried with every recipe that I have found. I always end up with hard pasta. It really can't even make it thru the machine. Its too hard. I started running my semolina in my Vitamix for a while to make it finer. I just tried again tonight using 1C semolina, 1C flour, 3 eggs, 1tbl EVOO & 1 tsp salt. I mix the flours & salt together, meanwhile I whisk eggs & oil then slowly add wet to dry in my tabletop mixer. Once it comes together its too hard to use.
              Any suggestions?

              1. re: jwalter007

                My company makes artisanal pasta and in my opinion pasta is not made by formula, it is made by feel. In addition, most people make the dough backwards. By that I mean adding wet to dry. In the most basic of methods, the well, you start out with eggs in the well and pull dry ingredients into it, stopping when the dough comes together. Working with a machine as we do is no different. Put the wet ingredients into your mixer and add dry to it while it is running. Allow the dry ingredients to become hydrated before continuing to add more. The tackiness of the dough will tell you when you've got it right, not a measuring cup. For filled pasta we use a slightly tackier dough because it will be stretched to accommodate the filling. Generally you want it to be wet enough to feel a little sticky but not wet enough to stick to your hands when you knead it.

                1. re: Den

                  I'm with you Den that it's the hydrating of the semolina that is key. When I use semolina (usually 50/50 with AP flour) I add it to the FP which has the blended eggs in it and let that sit for a few minutes before adding any other flour. It makes all the difference.

                  1. re: Den

                    I made perfect ravioli last night, thanks to this thread. I ended up making a second batch of dough where I let the semolina sit in the wet first then added the A/P slowly while it mixed. Work like a charm.
                    Thanks everyone :-)

              2. I have worked in restaurants that use only semolina flour pastas. 10 whole eggs to 1kg semolina flour, no water. Additional flour may need to be added as a result of humidity, just gotta feel it after its been in the mixer for a bit.