An Old World Tradition: Making Pasta from Scratch
Most of us would rather head to the store to purchase our favorite brand of pasta then bear down in the kitchen to make our own. The art of pasta making is an old world tradition originating from Italy. It is estimated that Italians eat over 60 pounds of pasta per year! This number beats Americans by 40 pounds.
At Marinelli’s, our Italian restaurant, we make a variety of pasta daily for our guests to enjoy. So, how exactly do we make fresh pasta? The ingredients list is quite short. Only three ingredients are needed – flour, eggs, and a bit of salt if you prefer. The debate among culinary professionals rests on the number of eggs, egg whites, or just egg yolks. “The recipe that we use at Marinelli’s is egg yolk only, which I feel gives the pasta a nice color and great texture,” says Chef Mark, Assistant Room Chef in Marinelli’s.
In the traditional manner, after the flour is sifted, a mound is made with the flour and the inside flattened into a bowl shape. Eggs would then be broken into the “bowl.” The eggs are carefully beaten, gradually adding more and more flour from the rim of the “bowl” until it’s completely combined and the dough is a smooth texture. Next the dough is kneaded for as much as 15 minutes before being rolled and cut.
According to Chef Mark, the technique used by our culinary team to cut the pasta depends upon the pasta shape itself. Both the gnocchi and cavatelli are rolled out by hand; however, only the gnocchi is hand cut. Our cavatelli is run through a special machine to give it its special shape. (For inquiring minds, cavatelli is small, shell-like shaped pasta which is curved inwards and gnocchi is an Italian potato base dumpling.)
At Marinelli’s, we make our Ricotta Gnocchi, Cavatelli Amatriciana, Wild Mushroom Tortelloni, and Four Cheese Ravioli in house daily or every other day, depending upon demand. For our stuffed pastas, we make the fillings in-house and then proceed to stuff the pasta that we also make fresh daily in-house. In addition, our Lasagna utilizes the same pasta that we use for our stuffed pastas. With the many different shapes pasta takes on, it is no wonder that making it has become an art form.
If you don’t have the time to make your own pasta, we encourage you to come down and try some of ours. Marinelli’s serves homemade pasta from rigatoni to ravioli, not to mention the tasty entrees above, daily starting at 5 pm.