The Art of Pasta Making in Italy


Everybody loves fresh pasta!

Homemade fresh pasta (with wheat flour extrafine called 00 and eggs: the texture is porous and rough, making fresh pasta ideal for thick sauces) and factory-made dried pasta (with semolina flour and water) are completely different.

But real pasta making is becoming a lost art. According to the legend (invented by humorist Augusto Majani in 1931) the fresh "tagliatelle" were invented by Maestro Zafirano, a cook from Bentivoglio in the province of Bologna. He created and made a special new fresh pasta for the occasion of Lucrezia Borgia's marriage to the duke of Ferrara in 1487.

One of the most significant figures in pasta's tradition is the “sfoglina”, a woman who made the pasta dough “sfoglia” without the pasta machine and cut it into fettuccine, tagliatelle, tortelloni, agnolotti, pappardelle, lasagne, and other types of fresh homemade pasta shapes. In Italian houses of times past, every woman was a sfoglina, but now this ancient art is disappearing.
The art of pasta making is an essential part of intangible cultural heritage in Italy and the preservation of the pasta making is very important. This old art does not disappear.

My name is Mama Isa. I learnt the art of pasta making watching my grandmother and my mother. They used their hands to transform the wheat flour & eggs into a silky pasta dough. I loved watching and soon I began to help them in the kitchen. Now I love to practise this art and teaching how to make the real pasta without food processor or pasta machine and make fresh pasta every day, the way my grandmother and my mother did. I am a pasta purist: I don't like the food processor and the pasta rolling machine because they change the end result!

The traditional method for making fresh pasta dough is using fresh ingredients (1 organic egg, 100 g Flour Type '00′ - Farina tipo '00′ - and a pinch of sea salt per person). About the pasta tools, I roll with a special rolling pin (without the pasta rolling machine). I have other equipments: a large wooden board for kneading pasta, because the wood is the best surface, and a special rectangular knife and obviously two strong arms!
I place Flour Type '00' - Farina 00 - on large wooden board, making a well in the center of the flour. In a cup I beat eggs and put the egg mixture in the center of vulcano flour. Then I use my fingers (or with a fork) to incorporate the flour.

Once a pasta dough begins to form, I use my hands to incorporate the rest of flour in a few minutes. With energy I knead the dough with the palm of my hands for about 10 minutes until the dough is done: it must be smooth, elastic and silky. And remember: if the pasta dough is sticking, I sprinkle it with flour. Now I wrap the pasta dough with a cling film and I lay the dough to rest in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. After resting I start to roll up onto a special rolling pin (a metre long) and roll out into a thin sheet, keeping wooden board dusted with flour. Then I lay the sheet of pasta to rest for 5 minutes on a lightly floured surface, covering it with a clean kitchen towel. The sheet of pasta dries very quick, above all in summer, so I don't leave it more than 5 minutes before cutting it. The clean kitchen towel will stop the sheet of pasta from drying. Now I decide what kind of pasta shapes I want to make. For example “Tagliatelle” (¼-inch wide strands). Then I fold the sheet 5 or 6 times and cut small strips with my special rectangular knife. I lay the tagliatelle to dry for 10 minutes on a floured surface, covering them with a clean kitchen towel. After about 10 minutes I cook the “tagliatelle”, tossing it into a delicious Italian sauce!!!

Can the art of pasta making be funny?
I hope to be a huge inspiration to Italian fresh pasta lovers!

Fresh Pasta is so good!

The Art of Pasta Making is a must-do in Italy and one of things everyone, but in particul pasta lovers, should learn how to make!


Author: Mama Isa (Isa Cook in Padua) Google+

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