Aaaaahhhh Pasta, this Italian deliciousness!
I come from a little town in the north of Italy. As I have memory I’ve always seen pasta around the table. Pasta for Italians is a deeply rooted tradition and a social way of life. It’s kind of a ritual, when you invite people for lunch or dinner, or when you have big dinners with your relatives, pasta has the first place on the podium as the main dish. You can find it from the north to the south and every region has it’s own way to make it.
Its origins are very ancient, we can find trace of it on Romans philosophers scripts and even in some Etruscan Archeological excavation, has been found pasta in its primitive form. The main difference is that in the south the dough is made with water and semolina (durum wheat) and dried, and in the north is more popular the mixture with eggs and white flour called “pasta fresca all’uovo” (fresh egg pasta) .
The region where I come from is called Emilia Romagna, and I’m proud to say that if you guys are eating stuffed pasta (such as tortellini or ravioli to name a few famous…), it’s because of us… well and Prosciutto or Parmigiano Reggiano of course.
I remember when I was a little kid, looking at my Great Grandma making pasta on a wooden “pastry board”, using a long rolling pin and her strength to roll out the dough and make thin sheets of pasta, then cut out squares to be filled out and closed, or roll up the sheets and cut tagliatelle or rectangular sheets for lasagna.
Her gestures were fast and precise. She knew how to create the exact thickness probably with her eye closed.
She was quite old even back then and I’m wondering, ‘’How?” how could she be so fast. I guess is something related to her muscle memory huh? She did it sooooo many times that it became easy. And trust me it’s not easy at all at first. (That’s probably why the hand pasta machine has been invented… hehe).
If you are lucky enough you will experience something like that in your lifetime, when you go visit Italy. I suggest you to look for “Agriturismo” type of restaurant, not super fancy but nice, cozy and genuine, most of the time ran by farmers, those are the best places to taste the essence of the regional food. Taste their real eggs (from super organic, cage free, happy to eat whatever they want, chickens). Then ask for the most popular pasta dish, you’ll be amazed! No kidding!
When I make home made pasta at home (here in the US) I always go back with my memory and think about those times as a kid (and later as a grown man) when I used to play and then help in the kitchen. It’s a comforting thing for me that I moved to a foreign country and I like that keeps my traditions alive.
I want to share my experience with you guys, hoping that you too are feeling a cozy and relaxed atmosphere of an Italian kitchen right before preparing food (pasta in this case). The big pot with broth or ragu on the stove and the house filled up with that good smell. The pasta dough starting to be made and people around the house waiting to help.
So let’s get started! Follow this link to learn How to Make Homemade Pasta Dough.