A few years ago I visited this beautiful little town near Rome, and they showed me how to make pasta.
I visited Licenza to write about the survival of pasta making traditions, and a few friendly locals – Mario Di Sepio, Maria Teresa Vallati and Carola Muzi with their families – gave me a hands-on lesson on the subject.
So here are a few pictures on their way of making fettucine, a type of pasta that can be made without a pasta machine or other great equipment. You just need a bit of skills (which I still lack) – and a proper rolling pin.
Apart from the good pasta (that I got to take home!), the town had a really sympathetic air to it, with its 1000 inhabitants and houses that climbed up the hillside. Picturesque, indeed.
Maria Teresa was leading the pasta making crew. First you take good flour, a pinch of salt and put the eggs and a bit of water in the middle in a hole.
Most pasta doesn’t have egg in it, but this one does. With egg pasta a bit easier to make at home, since the dough doesn’t crumble as easily.
And after putting everything in, you start kneading the pasta.
And when it’s all mixed, you clean the surface of the table…
And as far as I know, it’s better if the table is pure unpainted wood, since otherwise you can get pieces of the coating to your dough.
And then you need to roll the dough flat enough. Carola showed her skills on this one.
The men were mostly observing this time, but they did say that these days men cook, and make pasta, more than before. And according to the Licenzians, the local traditions of pasta making are better preserved in small places like this.
When it’s all flat, roll the dough from both edges to the center, so that it creates a few flat (not tight or round) layers.
Then you cut the roll in to slices of about 1 cm in width.
And separate them carefully.
Final result, best eaten soon. Remember to cook them just for some minutes!