A Pasta-Making Class in Italy at Casa Artusi
Have you ever wanted to know how to make pasta? And not just any old pasta, how to make pasta like an Italian? Me too.
Well, during my recent stay in Bologna I went to pasta school to find out. And sadly I'm still not all clued up but I do have a better idea now than before. Here's what I learnt at arguably the home of Italian cooking, Cas'Artusi, a library and cookery school dedicated to the life and works of Pellegrino Artusi. Although this man is credited with writing the first Italian cookbook, he collated most of research from and was greatly assisted by his housekeeper, a woman called Marietta Sabatini, who supported Mr. Artusi in his research. To find out more about Italian cuisine, here's a great list of interesting facts about Italian food.
As a result of this legacy the women who teach Italian cooking at Casa Artusi are each known as Marietta too. We were educated and (greatly) assisted by two wonderful Mariette, who began our tuition with a demonstration. They were like the Italian Nonne (Grandmas) I never had... The type of flour needed to make pasta must be 00 ("zero-zero" or "doppio zero") flour. This number relates to the Italian classification of flour which refers to how finely grounded it is and how much bran and germ has been removed from it. Doppio zero flour is the most finely grounded type of flour and should be super soft to the touch. You can buy it from most delicatessen or Italian food stockists. With regard to quantities, as a general rule for making pasta use 1 egg for 100g of flour. It's important to remember that the use of an egg in this recipe means that this pasta is fresh and should be eaten quickly afterwards.
Here is how a Marietta makes pasta... And now it's time to have some fun creating different types of pasta... And to make ravioli... And then suddenly we were left to our own devices. Each given a beautiful Masterchef-esque bench to work on, a stack of ingredients and a smiling Marietta hovering over our shoulders.
Here is how a Bird makes pasta... I have to say that the pasta I made was delicious. My BlogVille roommates Satu and Jan and I feasted on it later that night. There is no doubt in my mind that it was mainly thanks to my Marietta saving me on more than one occasion, but I felt very proud nonetheless.
Think I'm clever and want to learn more from a Bird's Guide? Well, you're wrong I'm not clever (or very good at making pasta) but here's a Bird's Guide to Kayaking anyway...
Bird received a free nest while staying at BlogVille, an initiative by the Emilia-Romagna Tourist Board and this cookery class and cool net hat were arranged by them also. My lack of pasta making skills and opinions are all my own fault.
Frances M. Thompson
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