Chef Michael Tusk of Quince and Cotogna is a master of pasta. We had the privilege of attending his pasta demo at this year's Relais & Châteaux GourmetFest in Carmel. As an aside, Tusk is also very fashion conscious and shares our love for Lanvin sneakers and beautiful watches, but we digress...Read on for his pro tips on how to make professional handmade pasta at home.
The type of flour is important. For this pasta, which you can either roll by hand or through a mechanical roller, you need Italian "00" flour. We buy this one because it's always worked reliably for us.
Tusk demonstrated the process of rolling out the dough by hand, using a traditional mattarello (essentially a long rolling pin). It's a workout, but it's amazing to watch as the dough repeatedly stretches and expands as its rolled around itself, ultimately yielding a large, thin sheet. This is the same process used by experienced women in the traditional pastifici of Bologna.
The pasta sheet can then be cut and formed into filled pastas (in Bologna, especially Tortelloni and Tortellini, which is smaller), or folded and cut into Pappardelle or Tagliatelle.