2-Ingredient Strozzapreti Is the Homemade Pasta Absolutely Anyone Can Make

updated Feb 3, 2021
How To Make Strozzapretti

Absolutely anyone can make this simple hand-twisted pasta, which is made with just flour and water.

Serves4

Prep1 hour

Cook3 minutes to 4 minutes

Jump to Recipe
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

When I’m feeling low or in a cooking rut, I turn to project cooking to soothe me. More often than not, I opt for homemade pasta. The process of learning something new and overcoming a challenge makes me feel accomplished, and there’s something so meditative about putting all my emotions into kneading dough until smooth.

If making fresh pasta intimidates you, I get it: We’ve all watched the Pasta Grannies prepare pasta with ease and speed, and how could we ever live up to that? But the truth is, fresh pasta is pretty easy to make — and the more you do it the easier it gets. Even the most unskilled hands can make something delicious (and, honestly, “bad” fresh pasta is still going to taste better than anything you buy at the store).

I’ve been making pasta at home for a few years now, and it’s always been more about the process than perfection. I started my journey with a simple egg and all-purpose flour-based dough — perfect for rolling into sheets and slicing into wide tagliatelle — and I’ve since worked my way up to stuffed pasta and alternative flours. But there are still so many shapes and varieties I have yet to make and learn about! My latest project has been strozzapreti, a super-simple twisted pasta. Here’s what you need to know.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

New to Homemade Pasta? Start with Strozzapreti

Strozzapreti is thought to come from the Emilia Romagna region in northern Italy, but is served throughout the country. According to Evan Funke’s American Sfoglino, the word strozzapreti translates to “priest stranglers.” As the myth goes, a hungry traveling priest stopped at a convent and demanded food from the sisters. They served him strozzapreti and he was so ravenous that he gobbled down the pasta and choked. Don’t worry — he didn’t die! A sister smacked him in the back of the head and dislodged the pasta.

What I love about strozzapreti is that it’s easy to prepare and very forgiving. You don’t need a pasta machine or even any eggs! All you need is flour and water. That’s it! It’s the perfect dish to make on a date, with friends, or with your children. (I speak from experience: My 9-year-old twisted pasta without frustration.) Plus, this pasta takes on many forms in Italy — from the twisted strand method to a dumpling — so there’s really no wrong way to do it.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Choosing the Best Flour for Strozzapreti

This pasta begins with a base of flour and water, and the type of flour you use will affect how easy the dough is to work with. Here’s how to choose.

  1. All-purpose: If you’re a beginner pasta maker, start with all-purpose flour. This dough will be easy to work with, and you can get to know how it feels in your hands.
  2. 00 flour: This flour is higher in protein and will yield a more tender, silkier pasta than all-purpose. That said, the dough will also be more tender, which makes kneading and shaping a little trickier.
  3. Flour + semolina: When you combine flour with semolina, you get a more toothsome pasta that really clings to sauces. My personal pasta guru and friend Chef Scott Cavagnaro said he prefers 75% all-purpose or 00 flour and 25% semolina, which is what I recommend here.

Regardless of which flour option you choose, if your dough feels too moist and sticky at any point, dust the surface with flour and knead it in until it’s absorbed and the dough no longer sticks. If your dough is too dry and shaggy, dampen your hands under the faucet and knead the dough until all the dry pieces are mixed in.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Shaping, Cutting, and Serving Strozzapreti

After mixing and resting the dough, it’s time to roll. Start by cutting the dough ball in half and rolling it out until it’s very thin. It doesn’t matter what shape the rolled-out dough is, as long as it’s around 3-mm thick (about the thickness of 6 to 8 stacked sheets of paper). Using a pastry wheel, a pizza cutter, or a knife, cut the dough into 1-inch strips, then, working with one strip at a time, pinch the strip about 3 inches from one end. Gently twist until you have about a 2-inch-long twisted piece of pasta. Using a pinch-and-twist motion, separate the twisted pasta from the rest of the strip and place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet that’s been dusted with flour.

This pasta doesn’t refrigerate well, so if you’re not cooking it right away, transfer the baking sheet to the freezer. Once the pasta is completely frozen, you can transfer it to a resealable plastic bag until you’re ready to use it. Cooking from fresh or frozen takes mere minutes: The pasta will be perfectly al dente in three to five minutes. It’s incredibly versatile, and can be served with many types of sauces, from Bolognese to pesto (I served mine with Bolognese, broccoli rabe, and sausage — yum!). I guarantee that once you’ve tasted it, you’ll understand why homemade pasta is so special.

Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell
1 / 15
Here's how to make easy 2-ingredient strozzapreti.

How To Make Strozzapretti

Absolutely anyone can make this simple hand-twisted pasta, which is made with just flour and water.

Prep time 1 hour

Cook time 3 minutes to 4 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

Option 1: All-purpose flour

  • 2 1/3 cups

    all-purpose flour (310 grams), plus more for dusting

  • 3/4 cup

    plus 1 tablespoon water

Option 2: ‘00’ flour

  • 2 1/3 cups

    ‘00’ flour (304 grams), plus more for dusting

  • 3/4 cup

    water

Option 3: Semolina blend

  • 1 3/4 cups

    all-purpose or ‘00’ flour (233 grams), plus more for dusting

  • 1/3 cup

    semolina flour (55 grams)

  • 3/4 cup

    water

For cooking:

  • Salt, for the cooking water

Equipment

  • Scale (optional)

  • Measuring cups

  • Fine-mesh strainer

  • Bench scraper

  • Rolling pin

  • Plastic wrap

  • 2

    baking sheets

  • Parchment paper

  • Chef’s knife, pizza cutter, or pastry wheel cutter

  • Large pot

  • Colander

Instructions

  1. Sift the flour. Sift the flour(s) through a fine-mesh strainer into a mound on a work surface.

  2. Create a well. Make a well in the center of the mound about 6 inches wide with sides high enough to hold the water in the center. Gently pour 3/4 cup water into the well.

  3. Incorporate some of the flour into the water. Using a fork, gently whisk some of the flour next to the water into the water until the mixture looks like thick pancake batter.

  4. Finish combining the flour and water. Once the mixture is too thick to whisk anymore, use your hands or a bench scraper to finish folding the dry flour into the dough. Working from the outside in, fold the flour into the wet dough mixture until everything is completely combined into a shaggy dough. If the mixture is too dry, wet your hands and continue kneading.

  5. Knead the dough. Pull the top edge of the dough over the center and press down with the palm of your hand. Rotate the dough by a quarter of a turn and repeat. Repeat until you have a rough, slightly shaggy ball of dough, about 5 minutes.

  6. Check the dough for moisture. If the dough still appears dry on the outside, wet your hands and continue to knead until the dough is smooth with light lumps on the outside, about 5 minutes more. Press the dough with your finger, it should gently bounce back. (Alternatively, if the dough appears too wet, then dust some flour.)

  7. Wrap the dough and let it rest. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let rest at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes. Meanwhile, clean up the work surface.

  8. Divide the dough. Generously dust the work surface with flour. Unwrap the dough and cut it in half with a knife or bench scraper. Rewrap one piece in the plastic wrap while you roll out the other.

  9. Roll the dough. Using a rolling pin, roll the dough until very thin, about the thickness of 6 to 8 stacked sheets of paper (about 3 mm). The shape doesn’t matter, but it can be rolled into a rough 10x16-inch rectangle.

  10. Cut dough into strips. Using a pastry, pizza wheel, or sharp knife, cut the dough into 1-inch wide strips. Cover the strips with plastic wrap while you twist the pasta one strip at a time.

  11. Twist the pasta. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and lightly dust with flour. Working one strip at a time, gently pull the strip from the work surface. Using your non-dominant hand, gently pinch the strip about 3 inches from one end. Using your dominant hand, gently twist the strip as much as you can until you have about a 2-inch long twisted piece of pasta. Remove the twist from the rest of the strip with a pinch and twist motion, then place it on the baking sheet. Repeat with the rest of the strip, then repeat with the remaining strips, placing the strips in a single layer on the baking sheet. Let pasta dry on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. (The strozzapretti can be frozen on the baking sheet at this point.)

  12. Repeat with the remaining dough. Repeat rolling, cutting, and shaping the remaining piece of dough, placing it on the second baking sheet.

  13. Cook the pasta. Fill a large pot with water, bring to a boil and season generously with salt. Add the pasta and cook until just al dente, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain and serve with your favorite sauce.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Uncooked pasta is best frozen on a baking sheet, then transferred to a freezer bag until ready took. Cook frozen, adding a little cook time as needed.