Garganelli are an impressive but easy handmade pasta that teams perfectly with a variety of sauces.
Follow my step by step instructions and be prepared for the compliments that are bound to come your way!
Why you’ll love this recipe
This is a traditional pasta from my father’s region in Italy – Emilia Romagna. While each region takes pride in their own special varieties, Emilia Romanga’s are well known and admired throughout Italy. This recipe, Garganelli, resemble ribbed quills with points at both ends similar to penne. Like other handmade (think busiate or cavatelli), these are ideal for special occasions like Christmas and family gatherings.
To make these, delicious egg pasta flavored with Parmesan and nutmeg, is rolled and cut into little squares. Each square is shaped into a hollow tube using a dowel and a small grooved board. Or you could substitute a clean pencil and new comb. Sauce clings to the ridges of the pasta and fills the tube so you get more sauce with every bite!
Because it’s handmade, you can choose to make this pasta smaller or larger making this one of the most versatile shapes. The smaller ones are perfect cooked in chicken broth and the larger one catch all the meaty goodness of a ragu sauce for pasta.
Along with the usual flour and eggs, this pasta dough contains are a couple of extra ingredients. Traditionally included when making these at home, the following ingredients add a delicious taste and aroma to the finished dish.
- parmesan cheese – this needs to be finely grated so that it blends into the pasta dough
- nutmeg – buy whole nutmeg and grate finely for this recipe
- freshly ground black pepper
First you will need to make homemade pasta (similar to making tagliatelle) and rest it. Then the shaping begins.
- Make a well in the flour and add the remaining ingredients
- Using a fork combine the flour with the eggs
- Form a into a ball and set aside to rest
- Roll out, cut into small square and create the handmade pasta
How to create this shape
- Place the square of dough on the grooved board or sterilized comb with the point facing you. Roll to mark with a wooden dowel or clean pencil.
- Flick the point closest to you over the dowel
- Press and roll the dough up joining the ends
- Continue until all the dough is used up
Gather friends and family to help. In no time, you will have made enough garganelli for everyone!
Tips for success and FAQ’s
To create this shape, some equipment is essential. Firstly, a pasta machine is handy however a rolling pin does the job just as well – you just may need a bit of muscle power!
Secondly you need a grooved board (a gnocchi or gargnelli board) like you see in the photos and a dowel. Use ¼inch/6mm dowel to make the size you see here. Alternatively a new comb and pencil are a perfect substitute. In fact, in Modena this variety is called maccheroni al pettine – “macaroni of the comb”.
Last of all, you need time. This shape is not hard to achieve but, I won’t lie, it does take time. This is where you gather a friend or two to help.
Add a teaspoon or so of water and continue kneading until it forms a cohesive mass. The dough will relax and soften on resting so don’t make it too soft!
Yes! Simply add all ingredients into the bowl and mix until combined. Once the dough comes together, remove and knead by hand until smooth and supple.
Use a clean ruler to measure precisely or cut by hand aiming for uniform squares.
If you are not using this pasta immediately, allow to dry for 15-30 minutes (this depends humidity) then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. For longer storage, freeze for up to one month. Cook from frozen.
This makes 10oz/280g fresh garganelli pasta which is perfect for adding to broth for 4 people. However the recipe can easily be double or tripled.
To serve, simmer in salted water for 3-5 minutes or until just cooked. Tasting is the best way to test if it’s done. Drain and stir through you favourite pasta sauce. Garganelli also make a delicious soup. Just simmer in chicken broth and serving with lots of parmesan cheese!
This updated and improved recipe was first published on April 16, 2013.
Amazing Garganelli Pasta
- rolling pin or pasta machine
- wooden gnocchi board or sterilized comb
- wooden dowel or clean round pencil
- 1½ cups (7oz/185 grams) all purpose flour
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup (1oz/30 grams) finely grated Parmesan cheese
- ⅛ teaspoon nutmeg freshly grated
- ⅛ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon ground black pepper
Make the pasta dough
- Remove and set aside 2 tablespoons of flour. You will use this later if the dough is too wet.
- Tip the remaining flour, parmesan, nutmeg, pepper and salt onto a work surface. Make a well in the middle and crack in the eggs.
- Use a fork to beat the eggs, gradually taking in flour from around the edges until you form a shaggy dough with no runny egg.
- Knead well for 5 to 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and supple. Add a teaspoon of water if it's not coming together but try not to add much more. OR if the dough is too wet, add the reserved flour.
- Wrap in plastic wrap and set aside for 10 minutes to 1 hour to rest.
Make the garganelli
- Work with a ¼ of the dough at a time. Keep the remaining dough well wrapped with plastic.
- Lightly flour the pasta machine rollers and press the dough flat. Using the widest setting on the pasta machine and guide the dough through. Fold and reroll several times until smooth. Then gradually reduce the width of the rollers until you can see color through the sheet.
- Cut the thinly rolled pasta dough into 1 or 1 ½ inch squares. Excess dough can be added back into the main ball to be reused.
- Place the square on the gnocchi board or sterilized comb with the point facing you. Roll to mark with a wooden dowel or clean pencil.
- Flick the point closest to you over the pencil and carefully roll the dough up pressing to seal and join the ends.
- It only takes a little bit of practice to soon have a garganelli production in place.
- To serve, boil in salted water for 3-5 minutes or until just cooked and serve with your choice of sauce. Alternatively, simmer in broth for a delicious soup.