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Italia making pasta

Italia’s Perfect Pasta

by Sam Dunham

Italia making her pefect pasta

Part of the fun of living in is gaining and understanding their criteria for what counts and what doesn’t.  The belly rules all other body parts in Abruzzo, exemplified in their strange but true ‘Abruzzo Stag Night; this doesn’t entail a debauched 12-hour drinking bender sat in a seedy strip joint but rather going out for a multi-course feast with your friends and Dad!  If you want to bring an Italian to their knees and speak in the hushed reverential tones normally reserved for God it’s very simple… learn to be a good cook.

Can you imagine how people talk about ‘La Bella Italia’, our lovely next-door-neighbour and Chef extraordinaire therefore?  She used to be the local school dinner lady so everybody in the area knows her.  Grown men’s big brown eyes glaze & dilate, reminiscent of Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Teresa, as they look skywards and recall her wonderful in husky voices “aaaah, l’estasi…”

Italia cutting slices from her pasta dough ready for the pasta machine

Not everybody has the time to make fresh (I certainly don’t), however if you do want to go all out and live the Abruzzo/Italian dream but are a little bit nervous of making that move, maybe first try making some fresh fettuccine at home and see if you can get into the swing of it all.

Italia’s Fresh Pasta Making Tip:

Allow 1 large sized free-range egg per person to make your pasta dough. This entirely depends on how happy your hens are, but if you’re getting yours from the local supermarket and can’t like most of us ‘help a hen be happy’, make sure you don’t add all the flour at once into your processor.  If you add too much flour and then have to substitute water you will end up with flabby rather than taut pasta that no sauce is going to dress nicely.

Italia creating her fettucine

Handy Vocab

Home made pasta – Pasta fatta in casa

Whole wheat pasta -Pasta di farina integrale