A fresh batch of pasta dough on the kneading board, a bamboo sushi rolling mat, a few thin bamboo skewers, dowels of various diameter and hands eager to work are the ingredients that went into the creation of this pasta shape. Last month I realized the potential of a bamboo sushi rolling mat as pasta-making tool and created spirali, so I wanted to explore it further.
I use the bamboo skewers to make maccheroni al ferro and fusilli al ferro, and the thinnest dowel to make garganelli (all shapes described in earlier posts all with attendand videos showing my hands at work).
To make fusilli, I roll a thin rope of dough around the skewer on the kneading board, while to make garganelli, I roll a square of dough around the dowel on the gnocchi board to get the ridged surface. By combining a bit of both shapes and using the bamboo sushi rolling mat as working surface, I created a shape I named fusilli rigati (ridged fusilli). The full name would be fusilli al ferro rigati, but it's a bit too long to remember.
The movements to create the shape are the same as in the case of regular fusilli, but they are executed on a bamboo sushi rolling mat, so the end result has ridges across its surface (like garganellli). In this short video, you can see my hands at work:
As I hope you can see from the video above, the piece of dough to make a fusillo gets wrapped around the skewer starting at an angle and the hands do not flatten the dough, but rather, make it roll by rolling the skewer to thin the dough and make the spiral tighter.
There are various types of bamboo sushi rolling mats. Look for a rather sturdy mat with the elements tied fairly tightly together. In my case, they are round and have a diameter of 3 mm / 1/8 inch. You only need a small piece of the mat, so its overall size is not important.
The dough I used is the semolina dough I have described before. As usual, I recommend to start with a small amount of it, so you can give yourself time to learn the hand movements without being overly worried about how much more dough is waiting to be processed. Once the pasta is ready, you can dress it as you prefer. For the photo op below, I used some slow-roasted tomatoes (recipe in an upcoming post).
Ingredients for the pasta dough:
- 100 g / 3.5 oz. semolina flour of good quality
- 50 g / 1.75 oz. warm water
- A pinch of salt
Note: I recommend weighing both flour and water.
How to make the dough and shape fusilli rigati
Make a dough with the ingredients and knead until nice and smooth. Let it rest, well covered (e.g., wrapped in plastic film), for at least half an hour.
Working on the kneading board, roll the dough into a thick salami and cut it into 5-6 pieces. Keep them covered while you shape the fusilli. Roll each piece into a thin snake (1/4 inch / 6 mm thick), then cut into 2 1/2 inch / 6.5 cm long pieces.
Working on the bamboo sushi rolling mat, shape each piece into a fusillo rigato with the skewer. Place a piece of dough on the mat on a diagonal with respect to the slats and not on the string that keeps the slats together. Place the skewer perpendicular to the slats at the bottom end of the piece of dough, then roll the skewer away from you until the dough is all wrapped around it. When you end up on the string, lift the skewer and place it again on the mat where there is no string, then continue.
Rock the skewer back and forth a few times while pressing gently with your hands to the right and left of the rolled dough. Do not press hard or the dough will stick to the skewer. Gently slide the fusillo off the skewer and lay it out to dry on a lightly floured section of the kneading board (or a baking sheet lined with a cotton kitchen towel).
Have at least two skewers ready to work with and exchange them every few pieces of pasta. Insert the skewers into some flour in between uses, so they dry.
Repeat until you have used up the prepared dough. Be very gentle in handling the hollow pasta, as it tends to flatten a bit.
Cook the fusilli rigati and dress as you like.
How to cook the fusilli rigati
Bring a small pot of water to a rolling boil, add some coarse salt, stir and then toss the fusilli in it. The time needed to cook them is a bit variable, depending on their size, how dry they are, but it is not long.
In the case of the photo below, I warmed up the slow-roasted tomatoes so by the time the pasta was cooked, the sauce was ready to go with it.
Taste and stop the cooking when the fusilli are ready. Pour a glass of cold water in the pot, stir and drain the fusilli. Dress and serve immediately.
The recipe makes two small portions (served as Italian first course).
A reminder that there is a page on the blog where you can browse the complete collection of handmade pasta shapes, some of them, like the fusilli rigati above, of my own creation.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the fusilli rigati fatti a mano audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]