TOTAL TIME: 45 minutes
MAKES: Makes about 1 pound pasta
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 2 cups durum flour (see note) plus more for dusting
- 1/8 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
- SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: a gnocchi board or garganelli board (see note) or table fork
Dissolve salt in 3/4 cup warm water (warm, not tepid, water is used here, helping gluten network in durum flour form quickly for a smooth and uniform dough). In a large bowl, mound flour, then form a well in center. Add water mixture and saffron to the well. Using your hand or a fork, slowly incorporate flour from inside rim of well. Continue until liquid is absorbed, then knead in bowl until dough forms a mostly complete mass (dough may be slightly sticky). Transfer dough to a clean work surface and knead 8 to 10 minutes more to form a smooth dough (dust with flour, as needed, just to keep dough from sticking to hands). For this shape and others that do not require rolling pasta into sheets, dough can be used immediately; resting is not required (resting relaxes gluten, making dough easier to roll out).
Break off about 1/8 of the pasta dough; wrap remaining dough in plastic wrap. Roll unwrapped dough into a 1/4-inch-diameter rope, then cut into 1-inch-long pieces. Pressing with your thumb, roll each piece on a gnocchi board (or down the back of a fork) to give it the characteristic ridges, and put on a lightly floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining dough.
Note: Look for durum flour at Italian or other specialty markets, or mail order from Piazza Italian Market, piazzaitalianmarket.com, (410) 820-8281. Gnocchi boards can be found at kitchenware shops or ordered from Fante’s Kitchen Shop, fantes.com, (800) 443-2683. A garganelli board (but not a comb) can also be used.
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