Mafalde, also known as “reginette” (Italian for “little queens”) are an alluring, ribbon-shaped pasta with beautiful frilly edges and a striking appearance. These curly strands are the perfect accompaniment to many of our favourite pasta sauces, from our beef shin & Barolo wine ragù to our vibrant cavolo nero pesto. The wavy ridges that make mafalde so distinctive are also wonderful for capturing every morsel of sauce, making sure every mouthful is packed with delicious flavour. But we love this pasta not only because it’s so tasty, but also because it has a moving history.
Mafalde pasta is said to have been created to honour the birth of Princess Mafalda of Savoy, the daughter of King Victor Emmanuel III of Italy, in 1902. The princess allegedly had beautiful, curly hair, and so these wavy ringlets of pasta were an appropriate symbol. However, the princess’ life was to be overshadowed by great tragedy.
In 1927 the great ocean liner, SS Principessa Mafalda - named after the princess in 1908 - sank off the coast of Brazil. In some ways this disaster foreshadowed the fate of the princess herself. In 1943, in the midst of the Second World War, Princess Mafalda was tricked by the Nazis and deported from Rome to Berlin to be questioned before being detained in a concentration camp where she later died. In 1995 the Italian government commemorated Princess Mafalda with a limited edition stamp.
This beautiful pasta shape appears intricate, and if you were trying to fashion each strand by hand it would be a struggle, but with the right attachment on your pasta machine, it’s easy to make your own fresh mafalde from scratch.
How to Make Fresh Mafalde
Prep Time: 30 minutes (not including resting time for the dough)
Calories per 100g: 272 kcal
- Pasta machine
- 400g ‘00’ flour
- 4 large eggs
Making the pasta dough for your mafalde is very simple and we’ve outlined the process in the steps below. We also have a helpful video guide if you’d like to follow along with Roberta as she makes fresh egg pasta dough from scratch.
Making the dough
- Start by making a mound with your flour on a wooden board or clean work surface. Then make a well in the centre to form a crater-like shape.
- Crack the eggs into the centre and, with a fork, start whisking to combine flour and egg, slowly incorporating more and more of the flour from the edges of the crater as you go until you’re left with a thick mixture.
- At this stage the mixture becomes too sticky for the fork so we recommend using your hands (or a dough scraper if you have one) to incorporate the rest of the flour.
- Form the mixture into a ball of dough and begin kneading it.
Kneading the dough
- To knead, drag the dough forward with your palm, using the other hand to hold it steady. Then pull the stretched dough back over, turn it around and start again. Repeat this process until you’re left with a firm, smooth consistency.
- We recommend 10-20 minutes of kneading to create a nice elastic dough. A good way of checking if you’ve kneaded the dough well is to press your finger into the centre. As you lift your finger away, the dough should spring back up.
Resting the dough
- Wrap the dough in a tea towel (a more sustainable alternative to cling film) and set aside to rest for about 20-30 minutes at room temperature.
Rolling the dough
- For mafalde you’ll need your sheet of pasta to be very thin, and so we recommend using a pasta machine to achieve this.
- Cut your ball of dough in half and set one piece aside for now. Sprinkle a small amount of flour over the remaining piece and flatten it with the palm of your hand.
- Set your pasta machine to its widest setting (this will sometimes be the lowest numbered setting and sometimes the highest, so double check before you begin)
- Feed your pasta through the machine on the widest setting and repeat this three times.
- Then, change the setting to a narrower one and feed the pasta through again. Repeat this, adjusting the setting as you go, until you have a long, thin pasta sheet. Be careful not to make your sheet too thin though, for mafalde, Roberta would stop at setting number 6.
Cutting the pasta
- Now, switch the attachment on your pasta machine to the special mafalde cutter.
- Slice your pasta sheet into evenly sized pieces, about 10 inches long, and feed them one at a time through the mafalde attachment to create your pasta strands.
- Separate the strands and lay them out on a flat surface to dry for about 10 minutes.
Cooking the pasta
- When you’re ready, bring a large pot of generously salted water to the boil. Cook your strands of mafalde in the water for about 3 minutes.
- Drain the pasta and transfer the strands to the sauce of your choice, tossing gently to coat. Serve immediately, buon appetito!
Sauces to serve with your fresh mafalde
We’ve found mafalde to be a very versatile variety of pasta, and a good pairing for all of our favourite sauces. From bold meaty ragùs to some of our vegetarian pestos, mafalde with its scalloped edges, is great for scooping up every last morsel. Why not try making our signature beef shin ragù for a perfect pasta pairing or try our delicious pesto alla genovese or our Tuscan cavolo nero pesto for a fresh, authentic taste of Italia.
At Pasta Evangelists, we bring a taste of Italy to your kitchen. Prepared using the freshest ingredients, our gourmet pasta dishes are perfect for those looking to enjoy restaurant-quality meals, delivered to your door, and ready in under five minutes. Order from our weekly menu today, and we’ll offer you 25% off your first delivery - simply enter the code BLOG25 at checkout.