You are going to start by making a wide and shallow well, fountain, or fontana of the flour. In the hole of the well you will pour your water and salt, mixing so the salt dissolves in the water.
Then, using a fork or your fingers, stir around the perimeter of the water to incorporate the flour bit by bit. Once you have a thick sludge in the middle incorporate the rest of the flour and knead thoroughly for 15-30 minutes until it is elastic (the texture of your earlobe), smooth but not tacky, and lighter in color, almost a little aerated. You can’t rush it. If you find your dough to be too dry or crumbly, wet your hands occasionally as you knead to incorporate more water. If it is too wet or sticky, sprinkle more flour on your surface and continue to knead the flour into your dough. (see images)
Then let it rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes in plastic wrap or under a bowl. This resting period will allow the gluten to relax and for the flour to fully hydrate. Photos of the technique can also be found here
Shaping of this dough
is easy and usually done by hand
or aided by a utensil like a butter knife
. If you have a pasta extruder this dough is ideal. It is an ideal dough for a shape with more dimension that has nooks and crannies to hold sauce. It can be almost anything as long as it is not so oversized/thick (keep it under a centimeter) that when it is boiled the exterior will cook faster than the interior. Keep the pasta on a floured tray to keep from sticking (coarse semolina is best but whatever flour you’re using is fine). And freeze extra or scraps for future use! Boil in water salted like the ocean for 2-5 minutes depending on the shape and size.
Shapes to try:
(these are basically cavatelli turned inside out)