I live in Okinawa, Japan, and I've had a hard time finding semolina flour. I enjoy making home made pasta, and was wondering if there was a good substitute for semolina that would help give my pasta a bit more structure and flavor.
Semolina is hard wheat (Triticum Durum). If it's labelled as 00 flour it means it's very finely milled. Sometimes it's labelled as semola di grano duro rimacinatta which literally means re-milled (milled twice) hard wheat.
As you said, it gives more flavor and is chewier (if processed as pasta) than normal soft wheat. But you can perfectly substitute it for normal wheat. I would try with low gluten one.
Anecdote: Another use for hard wheat flour in Mediterranean cuisine is covering fish pieces before deep frying them. If Portuguese missionaries couldn't find hard wheat when they arrived to Japan and successfully introduced tempura with soft flour, I think you can make the same substitution.
As @J.A.I.L suggested, you can. Make sure you mix your pasta dough enough times to work the gluten into a stronger dough.
If you are using a pasta roller, roll the sheets through the machine a few times. Pasta comes from the far east anyway, so if you use local noodle making techniques you it won't be wrong.
To improve the flavor, try finding fresher flour and perhaps a better source (organic, small farm type, etc). Some of the flour in the grocery stores is really old and becomes rancid/tasteless.