Pasta Povera

One of my online friends was interested in a recipe for an egg-free home-made pasta that I’ve been using for a good few years.

The recipe comes from a pocket-sized Sainsbury’s cookbook of Italian vegetarian recipes by Sara Heathcote-Laing , published in 1992, before the second major foodie revolution, and from a time when it was well-nigh impossible for amateurs to source pasta flour, arborio rice, and other present-day supermarket staples.

This recipe uses plain flour instead of pasta flour, but I have made it with pasta flour and got good results.

So, here goes. this will make about 500g of pasta that you can then roll and shape.


300g plain or pasta flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
about 150ml water

  1. Put the flour in a bowl with the salt and make a well in the centre.
  2. Add the olive oil, then gradually add the water, working it in until all the flour has been incorporated into a ball. Do not allow the dough to become too sticky or it will tend to dissolve during cooking, but if it is too dry, it may break up when rolling.
  3. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead well for at least 5 minutes, or until it is smooth and firm but elastic.
  4. Put the dough in a covered bowl or polythene bag, and leave it to test for about 30 minutes.
  5. Use the dough as you will; in a pasta machine, or roll out by hand and cut.