March 16, 2021
Arts and crafts that Italians don’t learn at school: homemade pasta

Cock-a-doodle-doo, the rooster crows. It’s five in the morning. But someone is already awake: it’s the women, tireless workers that start their day before anyone else.

Cock-a-doodle-doo, the rooster crows. It’s five in the morning. But someone is already awake: it’s the women, tireless workers that start their day before anyone else.

Besides, in the countryside life goes on at a different pace and young maidens have so many chores to carry out already from early dawn. There’s a clear division of tasks: those who make breakfast for the husbands and sons that will go to work in the fields, those who take care of the cattle in the stable, those who take it to pasture, or those who start rolling out the dough.

Credits to cottonbro for photo

It is often said that life used to have another flavor. Probably it’s true. Some countless traditions and skills are passed on along a matriarchal line. They make up ancient knowledge that reincarnates in each family member and traces back to a time that fades away in previous generations.

Dedicating the right amount of time to cultivate a centenary culture is, other than thrilling, almost a duty. It makes us privileged ambassadors of know-how that brings with it the imperative duty to spread it and not let it fade away.

Some kind of knowledge simply isn’t learned, and after all couldn’t be learned, in the classroom or certainly not in college textbooks. And it is precisely this specificity that makes it even more precious and delicate.

Homemade pasta is an intrinsic tradition of Italian culture, even an art, but it is not a field of study in our Country. Unfortunately, some kind of preciousness for us Italians are too often taken for granted. Frequently, their huge value is not evident to us, and letting them fade away on the back burner would be an awful pity.

Today we want to seize the opportunity to share with you the recipe of grandma Caterina, precisely because family secrets are the knowledge that is most likely endangered. So, what are you waiting for? Put on your apron and flour your hands! And don’t say that you don’t have time, because once you get carried away it won’t take more than a quarter of an hour.

Have you ever heard that the simplest things are also the tastiest? Well, there’s nothing truer than that. To make fresh pasta you will need nothing but one egg (preferably organic) for every 100 grams of 00 flour. The flour should be 00 because it’s finer and more elastic and, while you knead it you activate more quickly the gluten strands that make the dough smooth.

It’s now time for the first household secret: one of the keys for success is to work on a suitable surface, that imparts that particular note to the flavor of what we are preparing. And the good old wooden pastry board is just right for us.

At this point, pour the flour on the surface, create a well and progressively add the eggs that you previously beat to the center, by incorporating them with the flour. When the mixture is no longer liquid, flour your hands and start vigorously kneading by using your wrist until you obtain a homogeneous and elastic dough. Then, wrap the dough with cling film to avoid oxidation and the formation of skin.

Let it rest for an hour and then pull the pasta directly with the rolling pin or with the machine, making sure you keep the portion of the dough that you aren’t using wrapped in the cling film. In case you want to use the machine, roll the dough once for each number until you reach the desired thickness. And voilà.

Now all you have to do is to think about how to dress your pasta. And to thank grandma.

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