Sunday, October 11, 2009

National Pasta Month!

Well, I don't know how the inauguration of this month-long event slipped by me, but I just discovered that October is National Pasta Month!  Not that I really need an excuse to eat more pasta; I don't know if it's possible to eat *more* of it than we already do ;)

But it certainly warrants a mention and a few recipes in its honor, don't you think?

To kick it off, we broke out the hand-crank cavatelli maker that I ordered from eBay.  The little macchinetta is a classic, conceived by an Italian immigrant to Cleveland, Ohio who started the Vitantonio Company and built a business of providing pasta-making products to the Little Italy community. 

It's a very simple contraption:  you make up the pasta dough, roll it into ropes, and feed it into the machine while turning the handle.  Out pop perfectly-formed cavatelli, ready to to be boiled and topped with sugo!

My cousin Celia turned me on to this little gem; she has become something of a cavatelli collector.  Her dad has a real beauty, one of the original cast iron oldies, still in perfect working condition.

Yesterday was the first trial run for our newly-acquired macchinetta.  It performed very well, I'm happy to say.  Cavatelli transport us right to the Motherland, as it is one of the most common pastas found in Basilicata.  They are made from farina di semola, hard durum wheat which is milled more finely than the semolina flour you usually find in the US, salt and water.  It's not an egg pasta.

What is your favorite pasta type or shape?


janie said...

This reminds me of what my grandmother (from Campania, but very close to Basilicata) used to make by hand-my absolute favorite!

Valerie said...

Janie - They are so good. It's amazing to watch the old ladies make cavatelli by hand, they're so quick about it. When we were in Calitri, they told us that their history and traditions are more closely tied to Lucania than to Campania.

Chef Chuck said...

That I would love to make. If you could find this wonderful pasta, it would be in the frozen section of your local deli. Nothing meets the texture of a home made pasta! My mother use to make a cold salad with cavatelli and broccoli.

Valerie said...

I saw frozen cavatelli in Cleveland, but it definitely doesn't taste like homemade!