Tag: Scratch

These Incredible Italian Grandmas Teach you to Make Pasta from Scratch

Pasta videos are one of my favorite things on the internet. To be specific, the making and shaping of pasta using traditional ingredients and methods. There are all sorts of videos out there, and pasta enthusiasts on all the different platforms, but I love watching Italian grandmas (nonnas) the most. I’m going to highlight a handful of favorite pasta videos here, and let these Italian grandmas show us how it’s done.

I also want to mention a channel on You Tube, Pasta Grannies, because it’s an absolute treasure trove of pasta videos by Vicki Bennison. I’ve embedded a few favorites episodes down below, definitely poke around the archives as well. There’s also some great inspiration at #pastamaking, and Miyuki Adachi is one of my all-time favorite Instagram accounts. Let me know in the comments if you have any favorites in this vein as well, I’m always adding to my list!

1. Pici

Pici(!!!) Pici is my first pasta love, and my favorite pasta to shape by hand. You roll out long spaghetti-shaped noodles across a countertop, and because you’re doing it by hand the shape is beautifully irregular and rustic. I thought my pici game was respectable until I came across this Tuscan grandma. Around the :50 second mark of this video, she shows us who’s boss.

2. Trofie

Trofie is the most recent shape I’ve tried to master. To make these tiny coils, some people wrap the pasta dough around a thin needle or umbrella spoke. I don’t have the patience for that (I’m so slow), and always resort to something more like this. Look at her outside-the-palm technique!

3. Fusilli Ricci

Proof that making fresh pasta keeps you strong! A beautiful portrait of nonna Maria at 86 years old making fusilli ricci.

4. Tagliatelle

Nonna Elena makes beautiful tagliatelle here, and make you think you can ditch your pasta machine for a pasta board and mattarello rolling pin. If you watch carefully, you get a sneak peek into her refrigerator too :).

5. Orecchiette

I visited Puglia years ago, and could watch the ladies make traditional orecchiette (little ears) for hours. In this video we see an orecchiette master at work, but don’t look away, because at the 2:00 minute mark, she goes big.

6. Cavatelli

The shaping of the cavatelli kicks in around the 2:00 minute mark here. I remember meeting some of these ladies when I travelled to Puglia years ago.

7. Sicilian Maccheroni

One more from the Pasta Grannies series. Filmed in Menfi, Sicily, I love this video for a hundred reasons. Watch Damiana and Gaetano make an incredible fava bean pasta lunch. Her knife skills are the best, the fresh from the garden favas(!), the sunny patio(!), Damiana’s fruit and berry tablecloth!

8. Miyuki Adachi

Not a nonna, but I suspect you’ll love Miyuki nonetheless. I found her on Instagram, and love watching her video shorts and pasta shaping demonstrations from Toronto. This is a video of some of what you’ll find her working on. As you can see, her trofie game is quite strong as well! (Follow Miyuki)


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How to Make Gnocchetti (Mini Gnocchi) From Scratch: Recipe & Tips

We’re partnering with Lagostina to celebrate the Italian Sunday dinner with stories, recipes, and videos about this special family tradition. Here, cookbook author and friend of Food52 Emiko Davies shares her take on casual gnocchetti.

Sunday meals at my Tuscan in-laws have always been a well-planned affair. This is partly for practical reasons—supermarkets in small towns aren’t open on Sundays so you need to be prepared. It’s also partly for traditional reasons. Those classic Sunday dishes are usually something special that requires time and effort, dishes that are coaxed out of their shell with long, slow cooking and time that helps flavors settle or mingle.

But at my house, it goes down a little different. My husband Marco works in fine dining as a sommelier, so he has a scattered schedule that features very late nights and changes every single week, often last minute. I work from home, usually juggling cookbook writing or recipe testing with our two daughters who are five years and three months old. So when we are at home and cooking for our friends or family the key words are simple and unfussy; something that doesn’t need a long list of ingredients or days of advanced preparation (except when that is actually helpful to ease up cooking on the day).

Make this homemade gnocchetti, prepared using Lagostina cookware, your next delicious weekend project.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

For us, a “Sunday dinner”—which actually is more likely to be a Wednesday lunch, as weekends off are rare for Marco—means a moment when we can sit down as a family, cook and eat a relaxed meal together, and not be rushing off anywhere. The food needs to be equally easy going.

Living in Italy, one of our favourite go-to meals is pasta with a quick, satisfying, zingy, creamy lemon sauce, which can be made in the same amount of time it takes for the pasta to boil. But lately we have been making it with gnocchetti, or topini, as they’re called in Florence—little round gnocchi, the size of a marble.

You can buy gnochetti already made at the markets and even the supermarket here in Florence but I like to make this at home—it is also a fun one to get the kids (or anyone else around) involved in making. This is a recipe that has evolved over the years in our household to what I think is the simplest, most effective way to make pillowy, fluffy gnocchi (and because it uses potato starch—this just makes sense to me—instead of wheat flour, it is also a handy gluten free recipe). It is also a low maintenance recipe as the oven does all the work, leaving you free to have a glass of wine while getting the other elements of the meal ready.

Speaking of those other elements, we are huge fans of anchovies in any which way—fresh, marinated, salted, you name it. We put them on anything, given the chance. I pick up marinated white anchovies from the local deli where they sit shining in a pool of olive oil. Put them on a plate along with a few olives and some delicious bread and you have an instant antipasto, but I particularly like them tossed with some thinly sliced fennel or celery for crunch with lemon juice and olive oil. If we have them, then pine nuts, thinly sliced green apple, or fresh herbs are nice additions too. We are still trying to convince our five year old that anchovies are edible, but she’s usually happy to nibble on the olives and pine nuts.

Dessert is always left up to me because I’m actually the only one in the house who ever wants it. I never make as much effort for myself as I do when I know I’m cooking for other people, so it’s usually something simple; perhaps some jammy, ripe figs (or even dried if ripe ones aren’t around, you simply need more liquid to poach them in) cooked down with a splash of water (or wine) and eaten, cooled, over some very fresh farmhouse ricotta or thick, plain yogurt with some toasted almonds.

Here are some tips for pulling the meal together:

  • Roast the potatoes whole in the oven over salt so that the potatoes absorb less water, and therefore don’t need as much starch. Likewise, peel and mash the potatoes while hot so that steam escapes, giving the potato mash a drier, fluffier texture for perfect gnocchi.
  • While the potatoes are roasting, use this time to set the table, poach the figs, and get the sauce preparation ready.
  • Have the antipasto ready early. We often like to cook with a glass of wine in hand, and this is a nice time to have something to nibble on too!
  • Get everyone involved in the cooking. Rolling gnocchi can be tedious (or meditative, depending on your personality!) on your own but when it is a team effort not only does it go very quickly but it’s a fun way to get young children involved in cooking.

In partnership with Lagostina, the premium Italian cookware brand that values high-quality materials and time-honored craftsmanship, we’re highlighting the #LagostinaSundayDinner with a new series all about the Italian tradition. Every Sunday, we’ll share go-to Sunday recipes from some of our favorite chefs and cookbook authors.

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