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Garganelli Alla Vodka

Serves 4

For the dough:

  • 260g/9oz of Italian 00 flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 whole eggs + 3 egg yolks

For the sauce:

  • 30ml/1fl oz olive oil
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 50g/1¾oz tomato paste
  • 30ml/1fl oz vodka
  • 200ml/6¾fl oz double cream
  • ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
  • Parmesan, finely grated, to serve

First make the pasta dough. Tip the flour onto a clean worktop or board, make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into the middle of it. Break the egg yolks and start to whisk them, slowly incorporating the flour as you go. When everything starts to come together, use your hands to knead the dough and continue to work it for around 10 minutes.

If your dough is too moist, dust it with some extra 00 flour. If it feels too dry and crumbly, wet your hands under the kitchen tap and continue to knead. After 10 minutes your dough should be smooth and pliable. Cover the dough with an upturned bowl and leave it to rest for at least 30 minutes, while you make the sauce.

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds before adding the onion. Cook on a medium heat (setting 5) for 5 minutes until soft and golden but not brown, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste and keep cooking for 5 more minutes on a low to medium heat (setting 3 – 5), so that the tomato paste will coat the onion and garlic and absorb their flavours.

Reduce the heat to setting 2 to avoid lighting the alcohol as you add it. Once you have added the vodka, leave to bubble for a few moments before stirring. Keep cooking for two minutes, then add the double cream. Combine everything together by lightly whisking, then turn up the heat to setting 4. Now add the chilli flakes and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook for a further 5 minutes and then take off the heat.

Now it’s time to make your garganelli. Take one third of the dough and pass it through the first setting of your pasta machine (on mine this is setting no 0). Keep passing the dough through the machine, twice on each setting, stopping once you’ve rolled through setting no 6.

Cut the sheet into equal squares of about 3cm. Place your first square onto the garganelli board, place the wooden pin across the middle of the dough, then gently wrap the pasta around the pin and roll it to seal. You will have created a tube that you can now slip off the pin – if it’s a little sticky, then just dust it with some more flour. Place on a flour-dusted tray or work surface. Repeat with the rest of the dough.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil before adding a generous tablespoon of table salt, then drop in your pasta. Cook for a minute or two, then drain the pasta, leaving a small jugful of pasta water in case you need to loosen the sauce.

Put the sauce back on the heat (setting 5 or 6) and once it’s bubbling transfer the pasta into the pan and gently combine everything together. Taste it – you may need to add a touch of salt and a grind of black pepper or to loosen the sauce with some of the reserved pasta cooking water.

Serve with a bowl of freshly grated Parmesan so everyone can help themselves and a with large platter of greens as a side dish.