My great grandmother, Assunta, made pasta dough with the strength of a hundred Italian sailors. Mom, just a kid then, was not allowed to touch. Instead she was told to sit quietly and watch. She remembers how, as Assunta rolled the dough thinner and thinner, it gradually swallowed up the table and heavy oil cloth covering. Eventually, all you could see was the giant sheet of dough – thin enough for spaghetti, linguine, tortellini or – as was typically the case – ravioli. I’ll tell you right now… The secret is in the slap. By occasionally slapping the dough down onto the table, the gluten relaxes, making it easier to roll out without springing back. That and generously dusting the dough as you go.