No Italian holiday is complete without a pasta making class..
During my trip to Prato, I got an incredible opportunity to learn to how to make pasta from scratch from pasta maker, Roberto. We cooked the most classic of the classic pasta dish from the region of Emilia Romagna!
Emilia Romagno is an area from north of Italy where pasta making and eating was born. Emilia Romagno is renown for having one of the best pasta in Italy. If you don’t believe me, read this article by “Life in Italy” 😉 Roberto is now carrying on a family business started by his mother who is also a pasta maker from Emilia Romagno… 😀
The pasta from Emilia Romagna is made using only 4 ingredients :
- Semolina flour
- A pinch of salt.
The filling ingredients:
- Goats ricotta cheese
- Parmesan cheese
- A drizzle of olive oil
- A dash of nutmeg
The pasta was soft and smooth on the palette. The filling was creamy but not too rich and did not over-power the flavour of the pasta (I didn’t put any measurements because it is to taste). The whole dish was perfectly seasoned; you can taste every component of the dish 👌🏽 Good Italian food is about creating amazing dishes with simple ingredients. Yum!
Roberto’s tips to make pasta the Italian way:
- Kneading is crucial
The most important tip here is to knead the pasta well to “activate” the gluten so that the pasta will be compact enough to hold the filling when the tortellini is placed in a hot pot of water for cooking. When kneading the dough, use the lower half of your palm. You can test the dough to see if it has been kneaded enough simply by pulling the pasta dough apart and if it stretches without breaking too fast, then your pasta is ready.
- Don’t let the dough dry out
When the pasta dough is ready, allow it to sit aside (it activates the gluten as well). The dough will change to a darker yellow when it has rested for a few minutes. Make sure the pasta is covered with a tea towel to prevent the dough from drying out; the pasta dough should still be malleable after resting.
Roberto’s advice when cooking pasta:
- Al dente please! Over-cooking pasta is a sin
- When it comes to pasta sauce, less ingredients is more!
- Cook pasta in water with salt
They have recently opened their new shop in Prato and will eventually start selling to the local people of Prato. So.. if you want to try some fresh handmade pasta, go knock on Roberto’s door and order some pasta – it’s seriously worth it!! (It’s only a few doors down from the train station, Prato al Porta S.G)
P.S. A huge huge thanks to my friends, Giulia and Giuseppe for organising this pasta making class for me – truly completed my trip to Italy!