Fresh egg pasta, how to make it?

Yesterday students from our school had a unique opportunity to learn how to make different kinds of the most authentic fresh egg pasta. Our schoolmaster skillfully revealed the secrets of “pasta fresca” and led students gradually in the process of preparing it. We all had great fun and succeeded in preparing various types of coloured pasta.

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Simple ingredients and little bit of love is all you need to make your own perfect pasta dough. You need 1 egg per 100g of flour for each person.

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Here we share the method of preparation:

Place the flour on a board or in a bowl. Make a well in the centre and crack the eggs into it. Beat the eggs with your finger until smooth. Using the tips of your fingers, mix the eggs with the flour, incorporating a little at a time, until everything is combined. Knead the pieces of dough together. Once you’ve made your dough you need to knead and work it with your hands to develop the gluten in the flour, otherwise your pasta will be flabby and soft when you cook it, instead of springy and al dente.

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There’s no secret to kneading. You just have to bash the dough about a bit with your hands, squashing it into the table, reshaping it, pulling it, stretching it, squashing it again. You’ll know when to stop – it’s when your pasta starts to feel smooth and silky instead of rough and floury. Then allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes wrapped in plastic wrap or a plastic bag.

If using a machine to roll your pasta, make sure it’s clamped firmly to a clean work surface before you start. Dust your work surface with some flour, take a lump of pasta dough and press it out flat with your fingertips. Set the pasta machine at its widest setting – and roll the lump of pasta dough through it. Lightly dust the pasta with flour if it sticks at all. Fold the pasta in half and roll the pasta through all the settings on the machine, from the widest down to around the narrowest. Once you’ve rolled your pasta the way you want it, you need to shape or cut it straight away. Pasta dries much quicker than you think, so whatever recipe you’re doing, don’t leave it more than a minute or two before cutting or shaping it!

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If you want to prepare coloured pasta you do it by adding natural colour extracts to the dough before drying.

The following colours are generally used:

  • Black pasta (pasta nera) is coloured with squid or cuttlefish ink, which turns it black.
  • Green pasta (pasta verde) is coloured with spinach.
  • Purple pasta (pasta viola) is coloured with beets.
  • Red pasta (pasta rossa) is coloured with tomatoes.
  • Orange pasta (pasta arancione) is coloured with pumpkin or carrots.

Happy kneading, stretching, rolling, and eating!

Why did I come to Italy? My experiences

Why did I come to Italy?I think there are not clear, simple reasons. I belive that our detination is not just a place but what we feel inside us. In fact we do not know where or when we will get there. The important thing is to be able to see it. To stop for a moment, look around and realize what really has the meaning. To find moments, these short moments which give a sense to our lives, which are much deeper and much more important than we can imagine, which are far away from this for what we run every single day. After losing almost all hope for happiness, I found these moments THERE, in Rome. Italy will never be an ordinary country because Italy is Italy. If it was the ordinary country, it wouldn’t have Rome. As an American writer, Anatole Broyard said: “Rome is a poem pressed into service as a city”. It is the magic which is spread in front of your eyes. It is a place where dreams come true. I love Rome. I love visiting this city. I love that incredible feeling when I go through the Roman streets. When I feel the wind in my face and hear “ciao” all around me. When all I want to repeat is “Come dolce è la mia vita”. Italians have certainly mastered the art of living filled with good food and good conversation each day. I like eating and Italian cuisine boasts its fresh fruits and vegetables, all bursting with flavour. I am able to eat Italian food over and over again, not forgetting to mention drinking italian wine which in my opinion is the best in the world.

Toasting with the red wine
Toasting with the red wine

I am fully in love with Italy, however there are also aspects which I didn’t expect before coming here. Having in mind some confidence taken from the movies I believed that Italy would be full of citizens who speak English, however at some places I found myself in the middle of nowhere when it comes to communicating in that language. Majority of Italians want us to speak italian. I thought that research and acquisition of basic italian was unnecessary, because I have already eaten at Italian restaurants before and I’ve already known what “ciao” means. Then I was shocked to find that those bread sticks on the table are for free and that after asking for a “latte” I would get a glass of cold milk instead of coffee with milk. Another thing any I learned is that here is time and then there is Italian time. Italian time is so elastic so you shouldn’t be surprised when your 4 p.m. tour around the city starts at 4:30. Many businesses shut down for lunch so double-checking of business hours is crucial. Public transportation is also often “out of order” or delayed, so give yourself time and relax. Getting angry is useless.

Buses out of order
Buses out of order

Five things you have to do in Italy:

1. Validate your ticket.

Whether you take train from one city to another or you travel within a city simple buying a ticket isn’t enough, you must validate it before you board. Most tickets are not date or time specific, so if you don’t validate it before boarding it is as if you haven’t paid for your ride. Sometimes the ticket validation machines are on platforms before you get on the train, sometimes they’re on the bus.

Machine which validates tickets at train stations
Machine which validates tickets at train stations

2. Eat at least two ice cream scoops daily.

Italian gelato is made with milk, not cream, so it is a lot less fattening than people think. It is a well-deserved treat after a day filled with sightseeing, studying or working. Eating ice cream really does make us happy. Scientists have found that a spoonful of ice cream lights up the same pleasure centre in the brain as winning money or listening to your favourite music.

Woman with ice cream in front of Trevi fountain
Eating ice cream in front of Trevi fountain

3. See an Italian soccer game

Regardless of the fact if you’re a soccer fan, or even a sports fan going to a game of calcio is unforgettable. Italian soccer can be considered a second religion in this country, and experiencing a game live lets you witness the passion Italians feel for their clubs.

AS Roma supporters during the match
AS Roma supporters during the match

4. Eat pizza

There’s nothing like eating something as universally well-known as pizza in the country where it was born, and for that you have to do it. The Margherita is still the most popular pizza today, perhaps because it’s simple, light and tasty. A good tomato sauce, a good mozzarella or a good extra virgin olive oil make a lot of difference. It’s not easy to have and find these ingredients all over the world. In Italy they are the best.

Pizza is the most famous italian dish
Pizza as the most famous Italian dish

5. Learn Italian at least at basic level

Learning italian is very usefull and beneficial especially when it comes to communicating with Italians and coping with daily activities properly. Italian has the highest number of words for describing food.
Whether you order food in a restaurant or do the grocery shopping at one of the street markets, having a knowledge of the language not only enriches your holiday experience, but also allows you to save a few euros.

Learn italian to be able to speak well
Learn Italian to be able to speak well

Good luck!