According to the legend it was cardinal Cornelio Bentivoglio d’Aragona’s cook who invented garganelli in 1725 when she had to improvise on making dinner. She used a reed or “pettine” to roll the pasta, giving them their characteristic quill-like shape and ridges. Not uncommonly garganelli are also known as “maccheroni al pettine“.
Nowadays, only an old “nonna” might use the traditional pettine to roll garganelli and instead a gnocchi board is more commonly used. The pasta resembles penne and the 2 are sometimes mixed up, but unlike penne garganelli have perpendicular ridges and a clearly visible seam.
- Type 00 flour (very fine durum wheat flour)
There are lots and lots of pasta recipes: some use all purpose flour, some use only egg yolks and others use water instead of eggs. If you have your own favorite recipe, by all means use that to make your dough.
If you haven’t got a recipe, here’s mine: I use 1 whole, medium size egg for every 100 grams of flour. This usually is enough to serve 2 people, but if you need more, you can easily double (or even triple) the recipe.
On a clean, level surface make a little mound with the flour and create a well in the center. Break the egg into the well and start working the flour into the egg using 1 hand. As soon as the dough is coming together, start using both hands and knead it for 10–15 minutes until it becomes firm but elastic. Don’t skimp on the kneading! If you don’t knead the pasta enough, it will break when you try to roll it out. After you’ve made the dough, let it rest in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes.
After resting the pasta it’s ready to be rolled out into a thin sheet using a pasta machine, or if you’re really old school, a (long) rolling pin. You should be able to just see the work surface through the dough. Then cut the pasta in little squares.
Lay a square pointing towards you on the gnocchi board…
…fold the lower end corner over a small rod…
…and roll the pasta using a little pressure…
…and remove the gargenello you just made from the rod.
Repeat until you’ve used up all the pasta and leave the garganelli to dry before cooking them.
If you find that the pasta sticks to the board, you can slightly dust it with some flour. If the seams of the garganelli don’t hold up, use a little water to wet the top end corner and it’ll stick better.