How to… make Italian pasta
When I was browsing through the Internet this morning and found out that today was world pasta day, I could not believe it. What’s so unbelievable about that?, you’ll probably wonder. Well, keep reading.
Following a generous invitation by the Emilia Romagna Tourism Board, I was lucky enough to spend this last weekend in the stunning area of Emilia Romagnia, a northern region of Italy which is very reputable for its wonderful food. The city of Parma is located here (love me some prosciutto) and so is the gorgeous city of Bologna (spaghetti bolognese anyone?). Some pasta favorites such as Cappeletti and Tortelloni were invented here, as was the piadina, a delicious sandwich made with flatbread that is cooked on a terracotta dish.
While I spent most of the weekend eating, as one should when in Emilia Romagna, I also got to experience first hand where some of the food comes from and how it is produced. This leads us back to the beginning of this post, because only yesterday did I make my first ever pasta from scratch!
I therefore am most delighted, that today, on this special occasion of world pasta day, i get to share with you how the Italian professionals over at Casa Artusi, a lovely Cultural Center dedicated entirely to promoting and teaching Italian home cooking.
Joining me on that trip was a great and fun bunch of other travel bloggers, namely Princess Lea from Tripwolf, quirky Christine from Lilies Diary, lovely Kate from AdventurousKate and the ever so charming Kash from Budget Traveller. Along with them and Juliane from the Wilde&Partner PR Agency, we took part in a competition where only the best pasta chef could win.
After being given a professional presentation of how to make the typical Emilia Romagna pasta, we each got our own workplace, all necessary ingredients and some help on the different steps to make pasta.
In the photo above are all the things you need to make a variety of different pasta. The most important however is just flower and eggs, only then can you make real Emilia Romagna pasta, as around here, people don’t mix anything else into their pasta dough.
Here’s what you do:
1. put 2 cups of flower on your board, then make a mold in the middle with your fingers.
2. put 2 eggs in the middle of the mold and carefully start mixing everything.
3. You’ll soon see your mixture transform into a dough that you need to keep kneading. Make sure not to use too much extra flour, only when you really feel you need it.
3. Now take your rolling pin and start rolling your dough, until it’s big and flat.
4. Once you’re there, slice your round dough in half, then cut out small squares.
5. If you want to make capeletti, paste small dollops of ricotta in the middle of each square.
6. For capelletti, fold the square into a triangle, pressing all ends together, then turn ends until they look something like this (don’t worry if they don’t look the part right away, I had a few practise runs before I started to get a hang of it)
If you want to make a different sort of pasta, there are a million other options. Can you name the types of pasta below? Also, can you spot which pasta is not traditional, but simply a product of my imagination?
Back to the competiton. After all of us had created their different types of pasta, we all had to select three of our best capeletti on a plate. To make matters fair, we all got numbers for our plate, so the jury would not know who made which pasta.
The above mentioned jury was highly exclusive and consisted of only one member – the mayor of Forlimpopoli, the town where Casa Artusi is located.
After weighing all the Pro’s and Con’s of the different contestants (albeit it was mostly just Pro’s), he eventually made his choice based on what pasta most ressembled what his family makes at home. And who do you think took home the grand price of a bottle of some of the finest balsamic vinegar in the world?
That’s right, yours truly. For a moment I was considering to ditch the traveling and blogging to hang out in Italy and become a pasta chef. Then I decided to leave the cooking up to the Italians and just focus on eating instead.
Happy world pasta day, everyone!