Tonnarelli is a traditional pasta from Rome that is square shaped spaghetti. This is one of the oldest pasta shapes and is also known in other Italian regions by other names like spaghetti alla chitarra.
Reserve a couple of tablespoons of flour. Tip the remaining semolina flour onto the work surface and make a well in the middle.
Break eggs into the well in the flour
Using a fork (or fingertips) whisk the eggs like you’re making scrambled eggs. As you whisk, bring in a little bit of semolina flour from around the edges and incorporate it into the eggs.
Keep working more semolina flour into the dough. A pastry scraper is useful or just use your hands.
Add more flour as needed. The dough should not be sticky. If you are rolling by hand do not add too much flour.
Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes until it is smooth. You’ll feel the change in the dough.
Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and allow it to rest for 20-30 minutes.
To roll the pasta using a pasta machine
Cut off a small piece of dough and keep the remaining dough covered.
Adjust the pasta machine rollers at the widest setting.
Press the portion of dough flat into a thick rectangle and dust lightly with semolina flour. Guide through the rollers.
Fold into half and pass again through the widest setting. Repeat this 6 to 8 times until the dough is smooth. Dust lightly with semolina as needed.
When the dough is smooth and has been folded a few times, start to reduce the settings of the rollers one setting at a time. For tonnarelli the pasta should be quite thick - a little under ⅛ inch or 2-3 mm. On my Imperia pasta machine I used setting #3.
Set aside on floured tablecloth to dry for about 20 minutes while you roll out the remaining dough. Turn the sheets over to assist drying.
To cut into tonnarelli
Select the cutter attachment which will cut the pasta as wide as it is thick.
Guide the pasta sheets through the cutter.
Gather up the tonnarelli and spread out onto a floured cloth.
Repeat with remaining pasta sheets.
To cook the tonnarelli
Bring a large pot of water to the boil.
When boiling, add two or three tablespoons of salt.
Put the tonnarelli into the boiling water and stir to make sure nothing sticks.
Cook the tonnarelli for 4-5 minutes or until tender but still firm. Check by tasting.
Drain well and mix with desired sauce.
Tips for success
As always, when making tonnarelli pasta at home it's important to knead the dough by hand so that you can feel if it's too sticky or too dry.
It is very important to knead the dough well in order to develop the gluten which creates a stronger pasta.
Tonnarelli are much thicker than most homemade pasta, so don't roll it too thinly.
FAQ'sHow do I fix dough that is too sticky?Simple knead in a little bit more semolina flour until the dough is no longer sticky.How do I fix dough that is too dry?Dough that is too dry won't come together, so just add a little bit of water, a teaspoon at a time and knead until it form a smooth ball. Keep in mind that the dough will hydrate a little on resting.Can I use a food processor or stand mixer to make the dough?I much prefer making the dough by hand however I'm sure you could. Start with eggs, adding the flour gradually. Finally finish by hand to properly work the gluten in the dough.Can I make tonnarelli without a pasta machine?Yes you can! Make the dough a little softer than usual. Use a wooden rolling pin and a light dusting of flour to roll out the dough. Once rolled to the desired thickness, dust well with semolina flour. Then fold the pasta and use a sharp knife to cut into tonnarelli.