New York City Italian Restauant i Trulli's Star Is 83-Year-Old Pasta Maker Dora Marzovilla

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The 83-year-old works with her son
The Pasta-Making Nonna

“Nonna” Dora Marzovilla, who makes nearly 20 pounds of pasta daily at her son’s restaurant in NYC, on why she still loves coming to work every day at the age of 83.

dora
Jacqui Wedewer / The Daily Meal

Dora Marzovilla emigrated from Italy to New York City with her husband and four kids when she was just 34. Nearly half a century later, the 83-year-old “Nonna” is still using the pasta-making craft she picked up from her mother in Puglia. Every Sunday, she cooks made-from-scratch Italian comforts like lasagna for her family, but on weekdays she works a real restaurant job.

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When she first came to America, Marzovilla supported her family by working as a seamstress. Although she says it was tough, it was familiar — Marzovilla had steadily been working in factories since 5th grade. After her children grew into adults in the United States, her son Nicola opened a fine dining restaurant in Manhattan. That’s when Marzovilla ditched needlework for noodles.

nicola and nonna

Jacqui Wedewer / The Daily Meal

Nicola and Dora.

Now you can find her at i Trulli handcrafting fresh pasta at lightning speed. Her favorite is orecchiette — meaning “little ear” in Italian — because it’s native to her home region of Southern Italy. She prepares 10 types of pasta in total, including cavatelli — which looks like a little hot dog bunfettuccine and ravioli. In total, she makes up to 20 pounds of pasta every day. It keeps her happy and, even in her old age, it makes her feel young.

cavatelli

Jacqui Wedewer / The Daily Meal

Cavatelli pasta.

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“My life is better, because my husband passed away 30 years ago and to stay by myself — it’s not good,” she told The Daily Meal. “I get out, I come over here, I help my son, I am happy.” Nonna or not, we all deserve great noodles in our lives. So without further ado, we present to you pasta recipes like Grandma used to make.