Here we get to the nitty-gritty: the actual recipe for the pasta itself. Make sure you check out the videos at the bottom of the page, featuring Irma demonstrating the steps!

Part 1 – Pasta Fresca

Part 2 – The Story of this Recipe

Part 3 – Ciriole – Making the Pasta

Part 4 – Ciriole alla Ternana – The Complete Dish


Ingredients (trad):

  • 3 Cups flour*
  • 1 Cup minus 1 Tbsp water
  • scant 1/2 tsp salt
  • scant 1/4 tsp soda

makes approx 1lb of finished pasta.

For a modified recipe, substitute 2 eggs and 1/2 C water for the volume of water listed above.

*using standard “all-purpose” unleavened flour is fine… In Italy they sell many different types of flour, some better suited for egg based pasta, others for ciriole…. still others for cakes and desserts… but that’s a subject for another recipie and post!

Making the Dough

Using the Traditional Method:  mound the flour on a countertop, sprinkle the salt and soda over it, and make a well in the center large enough to hold the water (and/or eggs). Using a beating motion with a fork, stir the liquid, “carving in” small amounts of flour from the edges and beating until smooth. Continue this process until the dough is no longer liquid, and then switch to a kneading process.

Using a Stand Mixer:  Using the mixing paddle and a slow speed, start with the water (and egg) in the bowl, add the salt and soda, and add the flour 1/4 c at a time until the dough is too stiff for the mixer, then turn out onto the counter and knead in the remaining flour.

Keading: Pasta dough is sensitive to humidity, so the exact amount of water or flour cannot be measured. The early stages of the kneading process are really about working as much flour into the dough as possible. If the dough is sticky, it needs more flour: lightly dust the counter top with flour and let the kneading pick it up. If it’s crumbly, it needs more water: lightly wet your hands and knead the dough normally.  The dough should not be sticky at all.

Continue to knead until the dough becomes smooth. It will be very elastic and very strong. Check the end of video 1 to see the rolling motion Irma uses. Wrap the dough in plastic and let it rest for 10-20 minutes or up to several hours.

After the dough has rested, it will be marvelously plastic – solid, yet yielding. If you have a pasta machine, you can use it roll the dough out, but why not go for broke and try rolling it by hand instead?

Rolling and Shaping

(Assuming a restricted counter top and normal-sized rolling pin. In Italy pasta makers use rolling pins at least a meter long!) Divide the dough into 2, and begin by rolling one piece into a disk. Once the disk is about 10″, start extending the disk into an oblong. A technique that’s used to even out the dough and save work is to roll the dough up onto the pin, and give it a few rolls like that. Another technique is to roll the dough onto the rolling pin, and grab the free end and pull with the pin, stretching it as you unroll it. If your dough is too sticky, you’ll find out now! Just dust the surface with flour, wipe your hand over it to even it out, and keep going. If it’s humid, running a fan might help keep things dry.

Once you’ve rolled the pasta out to between 1/16″ and 1/8″ thick (3mm or so), leave it to dry further for about 10 minutes.

To shape the pasta, first dust the surface liberally with fine cornmeal, semolina, or flour. This will ensure the pasta doesn’t stick to itself in the next step.

As in the video, roll both sides of the pasta towards the middle. With a sharp knife, cut the rolls using a slicing motion into strips between 1/16″ and 1/8: wide. Don’t worry if your slices are uneven – just keep going. You won’t notice once it’s all in the pot. Once you’ve made 10-12 slices, scoop the slices with loose fingers and shake them out. It’s a hard motion to describe in words, but easy to see in the video. You should end up with a loose handful of ciriole, tangled together but not sticking together.

Place the handful on a tray lined with a cotton towl. As you cut more, repeat the process and laying each handful next to the previous on the tray.  Don’t be concerned if some cornmeal, semolina, or flour remains in the pasta – it will fall out when the pasta hits the water. Now roll and cut the other piece!

Once rolled and cut, the pasta should be used within a day unless you used eggs in the dough. In that case, you can store the pasta in the refrigerator, covered, for few days.

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