Recently, I realized that we have been talking about several different topics on this Blog (traveling, food, recipes and eating habits, cities…) but we never approached a key topic for a food blog: the hard work that lays behind the creation of some food that we consider very basic and simple, but that in reality they are not easy to make at all: like Pasta!
For many people, Pasta is something pretty straightforward, right? We are used to see it on the shelves of supermarkets. Just simple wheat with some water. What is so complicated about that?
In order to give you a proper answer to this question and show you why “it is not that easy”, I need to step back to one key aspect: the difference between dry Pasta and Fresh Pasta.
The one you can see at supermarket is the dry Pasta. It is massively produced in big factories and it is indeed something industrialized.
But how about the Fresh Pasta? Here things start getting very complicated…
First of all, Fresh Pasta is almost always hand-made. I say “almost” as some people can use some machines to produce it, but it still requires a person looking after the process and taste will be a bit affected by this. On the other side, the Pasta produced 100% hand-made doesn’t require any machine to be made and the result is by far the best you can obtain! For this reason here, at The Italian Kitchen we are a bit proud of making our Pasta 100% hand-made 🙂
After spending a certain amount of time in choosing the correct type of wheat flour (have you the idea of how many kinds exist? Hundreds!), we mix it with eggs (usually twice as many yolks as whites) and other flours (our secret receipt, sorry 😉) to achieve the correct level of hardness, taste and handiness. For example, our Fresh Pasta has been conceived to be as much “al-dente” as possible. Indeed, it has to handle a 30 min+ delivery time, which would over-cook and damage any other pasta, turning it in a dense gluey block.
Mixing 1kg of ingredients to make the dough can require up to 30 minutes of stretching, outstretching and remixing. Considering that we produce every day at least 10 to 15kg of fresh pasta… that’s a lot of hand-work!
Once the dough is a big yellow rounded ball, it has to rest for many hours. Usually, we leave it resting for at least 24h. If you pass by our lab, you will see lots of them piled up waiting to be laid down and cut 😛
Then, once the dough is ready, you need to cut it in parts, lay it down with a pasta spreading machine (a little hand roller) up to the required thickness (pasta for Lasagna is thicker if compared to Fettuccine’s one, which is thicker of the one used for Ravioli, for example) and then cut it correctly. This process can take up to 90 minutes per Kg of Pasta dough.
Finally, you have to use tons of flour to keep it dry. The final result? I guess you know it already if you have tried our Pasta 😉. As you can see, making even just 1Kg of Pasta can take long hours and need to be carefully planned. Filippo, our Masterchef <3, has spent uncountable hours in his life making pasta and now he has a huge experience. Just looking at it, he can tell you if you did a mistake in mixing or if the proportion yolks-white is wrong. But it is on achievements like these ones that we built up our little company, and we are tremendously pride of it =)