Julia Busuttil Nishimura aka Julia Ostro, walks us through how to make pasta dough from scratch, turning it into a delicious family meal of Sorpresine Pasta with Peas & Pancetta.

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Pasta has been part of cook book author Julia Busuttil Nishimura’s life since she was a little girl, watching her aunt cooking in the kitchen. And today it’s still on the menu for this busy mother and her two boys, Haruki, five and one-year-old Yukito.

“Fresh pasta is an absolute joy to make… Nothing really can compare to the absolute satisfaction that comes from turning eggs and flour into the most incredible and special meal.” – Julia Ostro

A stint spent living in Italy in her twenties cemented Julia’s love for Italian food. Read on as Julia shares with us the secrets of how she makes one of her favourite pasta dishes.


“The Marcato Atlas 150 is my choice of pasta machine. It is sturdy, easy to use and reliable. It’s a brand I trust and a product that produces fantastic results every time.” – Julia Ostro



  • 400g tipo 00 flour
  • pinch of sea salt
  • 4 eggs
  • semolina flour, to dust


  1. Tip the flour onto a wooden board. Add the sea salt and mix to combine.
  2. Create a well in the flour, large enough for the eggs. Crack the eggs in the centre.
  3. Whisk the eggs with a fork, slowly bringing flour into the eggs.
  4. Begin to bring the remaining flour into the centre with your hands.
  5. Use a pastry scraper to help incorporate the flour into the eggs.
  6. Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth. Wrap in plastic wrap and rest for 30 minutes. Cut the dough in quarters.
  7. Working with one piece of dough at a time, begin to feed the dough through the pasta machine, starting at the widest setting.
  8. After moving through two more settings, fold the pasta sheet onto itself so it is slightly narrower than the width of the machine.
  9. Do this three times, setting the machine back to the widest setting and roll back through the first settings again, folding and flattening the pasta dough before each roll.
  10. Continue to roll the pasta dough though the settings until the sheet is around 1.5mm thick.

Shaping the sorpresine:

  1. Cut the sheet into 2.5–3cm squares. Working with one square at a time, bring two opposite corners together and press to make a triangle.
  2. Take the other two corners and fold them around the long side of the triangle and press so they stick together and form the sorpresine.
  3. Place the sorpresine on a tea towel dusted with semolina flour. Repeat the rolling, cutting and shaping with the remaining dough pieces.


“Pasta is something that I never tire of. There are so many iterations and combinations it always feels exciting and familiar all in one.” – Julia Ostro

This gorgeous sorpresine pasta with peas and pancetta by Julia Ostro is the perfect family meal.



Serves: 4
Prep: 60 minutes (+ 30 minutes resting)
Cook: 10 minutes

See above recipe for sorpresine pasta ingredients.

  • 100g flat pancetta, cut into lardons
  • 150g frozen peas
  • 150ml pure cream
  • 30g butter
  • pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
  • sea salt and black pepper
  • grated parmesan, to serve


  1. Make the sorpresine according to the previous instructions.
  2. Bring a large saucepan of generously salted water to the boil.
  3. Meanwhile, put the pancetta in a large frying pan over medium heat. Cook the pancetta until beginning to colour. There is no need to add any oil, as the pancetta will release its own
    fat to cook in.
  4. Tip the sopresine into the boiling water and cook for approximately 2 minutes until just under al dente. After 1 minute of cooking, add the peas in with the pasta to blanch them.
  5. Meanwhile, add the cream, butter and nutmeg to the pan with the pancetta and simmer for a few minutes until it begins to thicken.
  6. Drain the pasta and peas, reserving some of the pasta water, and add to the sauce. Stir to coat, adding 60–125ml of reserved pasta water, as needed, to create a luscious sauce.
  7. Cook for another minute or two until the pasta is al dente and the sauce is thick and creamy.
  8. Season with salt and pepper and serve topped with grated parmesan.

If you’re interesting in learning more about pasta making, check out these articles:

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