Pasta Fresca (fresh pasta)

Source:  Mom; cir. 1980’s

Home-made pasta has been in my life since as long as I can remember.  My fondest memories are when my Nonni would make home-made pasta for a holiday as the family would gather around and devour it.  Growing up, my mom would make home-made pasta on occasion, and I still have the taste in my mouth...yes, it's that good!  It's now become a standing tradition that my mom makes her home-made ravioli's every Easter, and Christmas.  It's typical of the Northern Italian culture to make the pasta with whole grain flour and eggs, while the Southerner's made the pasta with semolina and water.  It's hard to believe that pasta has been around since inception and boasts over 300 shapes to be found in.  The drying of pasta began in the 1300's and gained a fine reputation for providing good nutrition and having a long shelf life.  Not much has changed since then, other than the extensive outdoor drying methods the Italians used to use.  Good quality store-bought pasta is  quite good, but there is a distinct difference with the taste and texture of bought vs. home-made.  If you have attachment tools for your electric mixers, or an electric noodle maker, then your job is much easier than working with an old-style genuine article from Italy.  I'm not ready to give up my hand crank machine quite yet.  Working with it gives me good reason to pull my kids in to help.  While engrossed in the process of making your own noodles, you watch how 2 simple ingredients, flour and eggs transform into a complete and delicious meal.   I don't know, it still impresses me!  Give it a whirl.  The recipe is stupidly simple, and the results are amazingly rich! 

Enjoy!


Print
Course 2 Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 2 minutes
Total Time 32 minutes
Servings 5 people

Ingredients

  • 1 lb flour 3 1/2 cups flour+1/4 c. semolina
  • 4 eggs + 1 more if needed during mixing
  • 2 drizzles olive oil for smoothness

Instructions

  1. Begin with your flour mixture.  The recipe calls for 1lb. flour.  I used 3 1/2 cups of white flour and 1/4 cup of semolina

  2. Create a well in the middle and add the eggs in the middle.

  3. Begin to mix by hand.  This process takes about 5 minutes until you have achieved a nice soft textured, well combined dough.  In this case, I added an additional egg (5 in total) because it was still a bit dry.

  4. When the dough feels well combined and on the softer side, rather than firmer side...then you're ready

  5. Slice about 1" pieces from the dough, length wise to prepare in running it through the machine

  6. Your machine is attached to a table or board, butcher block, or anything stable that prevents any slippage during the process of making the noodles.

  7. Take your first cut dough, somewhat flatten the starting edge, and begin on setting number 1. 

  8. We're about mid-way through with the first step.  This is on setting 3, and as you will see, the dough gets thinner and longer each step.

  9. This is what it looks like (length and thickness) after setting 6. 

  10. Lay the dough out, and get ready to run it through the noodle attachment.  We went with the fettuchini attachment. 

  11. You can see, it's been nicely cut through the noodle roller.

  12. Continue step by step until you are done with the dough.  Find table space to lay out the noodles, and keep them sprinkled with flour to assist in the drying process and to help prevent the noodles from sticking together.  I let my noodles sit out and dry for about 1 hour.  I think it cooks better this way, rather than putting it immediately in boiling water. 

  13. When the hour has passed, I pick up my clusters, separating them out as I go,  yet piling the noodles on top of another.  You'll see what I mean when you work. 

  14. Put them in rapidly boiling water for about 1 minute.  Test before pouring the water out, but mine took just under 1 minute to cook.

  15. Mix noodles together with your delicious home-made sauce. 

    Serve and enjoy!

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Nonni’s Twists (cookies)

Nonni Clara:  Cir. 1950’s

Nonni's Twists

Yes, these are as proper and delicious as they look!  Doesn't the picture of these little twists look like proper ladies with their legs crossed?  I so remember these cookies from my childhood.  My Nonni was a northern Italian living in a quaint, neat cottage in Anaheim, California.  Her kitchen was perfectly retro, down to the cast iron apron front-sink & the wall-mounted faucet.  Her kitchen was bright and faced the east, so the daylight coming in to the kitchen was always light and soft.  She had the sweetest little nook where they ate their meals together.  Their kitchen table was also retro.  In hind sight, that was a totally cool kitchen, and the nook where we ate, gave a perfect little garden view.  I loved that little house and remember it fondly, as my sister and I would spend several summer's there visiting from Northern California.  Nonni's kitchen was always in full production.  Her table was always set for breakfast when we woke, lunch which was at 11:30, and dinner, which was somewhere between 4 and 5 p.m....not a second late.  She was the Nonni that always had a "sweetie" in the house, fresh from the oven, and these cookies were usually made upon request from my sister and I.  I inherited this recipe from my mom, and I've made them a few times telling my kids, "this is what I ate when I was a little girl".  As you'll notice from my pictures, sometimes they turn out really nice, and other times I've struggled with the dough.  I think the key element to these cookies, is taking the time, just like Nonni did.  Make them with love, and if you want to make them extra special, finish them with a sugar, lemon juice glaze...otherwise, just sprinkle some powder sugar on.  Think of my Nonni when you make these...

Enjoy!


Print
Course Dessert
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 50 twists

Ingredients

  • 5 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 5 oz evaporated milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together

  2. hand mix butter until smooth crumbles

  3. beat eggs and add liquids

  4. mix together by hand

  5. preheat oven  to 350, form cookies by rolling a small piece in a rope, then cross them over and twist.  Cook for 25 min. or until light golden. 

    Let cool, then ice with a sugar/lemon juice glaze.

Recipe Notes

This recipe was taken direct from my Nonni's personal cookbook.  She did a lot of mixing by hand, since there wasn't a kitchen aid nearby!  Try going retro when you make these cookies.  It brings you back to the good old days! 

p.s. Living in Europe, I've yet to see evaporated milk.  I've just read online that you can make your own evaporated milk by simmering down 2 1/4 (cups/parts) down to 1 part. 

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