Eat! Eat! We’ve been doing a lot of that here in Italy, along with making art. Every afternoon we sit down to a home made pasta dish, either on the patio in the sun overlooking Umbria or inside the villa with beautiful yellow table cloths and red napkins underneath a brick barrel vaulted ceiling.
This morning we were treated to a pasta making lesson by Antoinetta in the kitchen just off the studio. Art and food, what a way to satisfy the soul. We gathered in the kitchen and watched a giant bag of flour and and 15 eggs become pasta. Pamela translated while Antoinetta rapidly spoke in Italian. Pam explained to us that she comes every day to make the pasta here for the Villa. She also, Pam explained, has never left her village. “She was born and raised just outside Fabro,” Pam said “Many Italian people are afraid to, or do not travel.”
Antoinette poured out a huge pile of flour, made a well in the middle and cracked 15 eggs into it. Then she took the same knife that she used to crack the eggs, and whipped it together into a dough. At the end she added a little bit of water. That was it. “There is no measuring, you just know when the consistency is right.” Pamela translated for us. the only basic guideline is one egg per person, 15 people for lunch meant 15 eggs.
Antoinetta kneaded the dough, portioned it out into small balls, and gave us each one to try our hand at rolling. She demonstrated the rolling, using what looked like a table leg, and then set us free. I had such a good time trying to get my pasta as thin as hers, so that you could see the pattern of the table cloth through it. The dough from that little ball got wider and wider and wider, no wonder we needed a BIG rolling pin. Working with and rolling out the dough was similar to pie crust, which is familiar to me. I was pretty successful and Antoinetta even complimented my skills. Of course I hugged her tight when we were all done. What fun!
And then, right before our eyes, something magical happened, Antoinetta folded the paper thin dough over itself, put it on the cutting board, and made it into linguini–right before our eyes! Oh if you could have heard the ooh’s and aah’s from the group! Stunning that it was so simple to cut the pasta into noodles, which were then twisted into nests and set aside.
The nests were transferred to a styrofoam tray, ready to be dropped into boiling water at lunch time. Antoinetta explained to us that you can freeze the fresh pasta, but you have to drop it into the boiling water from frozen, and that it only had to stay in the water for a swirl of the fork, no longer.
From the lower kitchen the trays of pasta went up to the Chef in the upper kitchen, and we went back to ripping and gluing. The Chef prepared an amazing creamy tomato sauce for our pasta (ever pasta dish thus far has been served with a different sauce, from truffles and cream, to meat, to spicy tomato, to creamy tomato).
At 1:45 we were all in our seats on the patio of the villa, lunch is precise because the pasta only takes a swirl in the water to be cooked, as you now know!
Along with our pasta we were treated to cheese, bread, grilled veggies, salad and vino! And, an amazing view.
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Meet Me in Italy in June, 2016
June 9-16 we will be returning, you haven’t missed out!
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