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  • Writer's pictureIndy Language Center ILC

Italian Phrases and Easy Homemade Pasta - Yelp!

Updated: Mar 9, 2021


Ciao a tutti!


For this year's Valentine's Day, Indy Language Center and Yelp Indy partnered up to deliver an exciting Zoom event with easy homemade pasta, songs, Italian culture, and lots of laughs. Our Education Director Giancarlo showed us how to make many different kinds of homemade Italian pasta, from easy ravioli to tagliatelle. He also whipped up a fresh and delicious homemade ricotta filling that will definitely impress your friends, family, or date!


In this blog, Giancarlo would like to share with you:


A. Some cultural history showing why homemade pasta is such a distinctly Italian tradition,

B. A description of a few of the many varieties pasta takes depending on the region of Italy,

C. A simple tagliatelle and ravioli recipe and the techniques for making your own,

D. How to make this or any hobby a means to learning Italian or any language for that matter!


Finally, as a high-five to anyone getting to the end of the recipe, check out how Giancarlo has kept ILC's own tradition of starting each Yelp event with an unexpected song!


Over to Giancarlo:


Cultural Backdrop

When Yelp approached me to be the presenter of an Italian pasta-making event, I jumped on the opportunity to revisit some very fond and delicious memories from my youth. If you had the good fortune to make any meal from scratch with a parent or grand-parent, you know that it's not just a food, but something much more meaningful. Fresh homemade pasta is a great example! For many Italians, it is a ritual that is handed down in the family from generation to generation, it is a memory of childhood, of home, and it is a moment of celebration with one's family and friends. It is also connected to refinement and quality: The desire to really care about what you bring to the table and in turn nurturing the loved ones who will enjoy it. Fresh pasta is the flagship of Italian gastronomy, a tradition that is part of us, of our country: As an Italian or anyone wanting to be Italian, you can't let this skill slip away!


Preparing fresh pasta requires time, attention, and patience to obtain a pasta that has the right consistency, a nice texture, and flavor. Getting these features right are fundamental requirements that distinguish and characterize a good dish of fresh homemade pasta that is tasty and absolutely satisfying. Tagliatelle, lasagna, ravioli, orecchiette or macaroni, if made at home are in a totally different tier than store-bought! And, preparing them isn't that difficult! You only need a few ingredients that, most likely, you already have in your pantry and can be transformed with just a little help from a guide -- me ;)


There are many claims on the alleged places of origin of pasta, but it is assumed that how it came to be the most popular food in Italy was gradual: from a simple dough of crushed wheat and water to the invention of pasta and bread. Fresh pasta as we know it (kneading, shaping and boiling) was born and developed independently along two separate paths: the Asian and the Mediterranean. Although we can't be certain about all places of origin of pasta, we can at least agree that the most important factor for which type of dough to choose is the climate: if dry pasta needs air and sun, fresh pasta owes its elasticity to the humidity present in the environment.


Regional Varieties


In Italy, the preparation of fresh homemade pasta changes from North to South. In the sunny and breezy countries of central Italy and in the south, the dough is made of water and re-milled durum wheat semolina from which macaroni, orecchiette, civatelli, bucatini, trofie and many other cuts of noodles; but in the northern regions, where the climate is more humid, pasta is generally homemade with soft wheat flour and eggs: pulled on a wooden surface with the help of a rolling pin, a thin sheet is rolled out; according to the width to which it is cut, you can get tagliolini, tagliatelle or fettuccine, and with the same dough you can also make lasagna, cannelloni, garganelli, bigoli, pici and stuffed pasta. What's important is that the pasta be thin enough to be able to read the paper through it when laid on top.


Whatever type of dough is chosen, it gives life to a wide range of pasta shapes or can be enriched with delicious fillings of meat, fish, vegetables and cheeses. Once you have rolled out and cut the dough into the shape you prefer, you can immediately cook your fresh pasta, it does not need to be dried.


Pasta Making Tips


To prevent fresh pasta from sticking during cooking, which can happen if you are trying your hand at preparing ravioli, just follow a simple trick and add 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the cooking water. Finally, I recommend you drain the noodles with the help of a slotted spoon and not with a colander which could be too rough.


You can easily coat fresh pasta with a variety of sauces, from classic meat to fish or vegetable sauces of all kinds; as well as with a very simple Mediterranean dressing based on garlic and extra virgin olive oil or with butter and parmesan: no other dish competes with how well pasta goes with these two ingredients! And, as always, the limit is only your imagination!


If you care to pay attention to the nutritional content of this recipe, you can note that 100 g of fresh pasta made with flour and water and boiled, is worth 270 kilocalories, against 350 of the dry one, weighed raw; but if the dough is made with egg, it will be even more hearty! However, this is a clear advantage.



EQUIPMENT FOR PASTA:

+ rolling pin

+ pasta rolling machine / pasta maker (optional)

+ plenty of counter space


INGREDIENTS FOR PASTA:


+ 3 cups of 00 Caputo Flour

+ 4 fresh eggs


INGREDIENTS FOR RICOTTA FILLING:


+ 1 pound fresh ricotta, drained if wet

+ pinch or two of freshly grated nutmeg

+ 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest (from about 1/2 a lemon)

+ 1/4 to 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-


Reggiano, plus more for serving

1 large egg, plus 1 large egg lightly beaten with 2 tablespoons water

+ flat leaf parsley (can also add basil or rosemary)

+ salt and freshly ground black pepper

+ extra virgin olive oil


Directions:

  1. In a bowl, add flour and leave some space in the center to add the eggs. Whisk eggs slowly adding more flour until you get a thick dough. Mold the dough into a ball and set it aside.

  2. Mix all ricotta ingredients in a bowl. Set aside.

  3. Sprinkle flour on counter/surface and knead the dough. Once softened, use a rolling pin to flatten the dough until thin enough to fit in the machine. If you don't have a machine, continue rolling until the dough is translucent.

  4. For ravioli, cut a sheet of dough in two. Add a spoonful of ricotta filling spaced out onto one sheet of dough. Add the second sheet on top, pressing along the edges of the filling.

  5. For tagliatelle, take your sheet of dough and hold it up, allowing it to fold over itself. Then, cut thin slices to make the noodles.

ITALIAN PHRASES USED:


Mi chiamo ... - My name is ...

Sono di ... - I'm from ...

La mia pasta preferita è ... - My favorite pasta is ...


[Ingredients, Tools needed and Results WORD BANK]

Italiano ---> English

La pasta fresca - The fresh pasta

La tavola - The table

Le uova - The eggs

La cucina - The kitchen / cuisine

La farina - The flour

Il mattarello - The rolling pin

La ricotta - The ricotta

La macchina per pasta - The pasta maker

l’impasto - The dough

Le mani - The hands

Il sale e il pepe - The salt and pepper

bello - Nice / pretty

L’olio di oliva - The olive oil

buono - good


[Steps and Moves WORD BANK] Italiano ---> English


Cominciare - To begin

Staccare - To detach

Preparare - To prepare

Riposare - To rest

Mettere - To put

Formare - To shape

Sbattere - To beat

Stendere - To spread / to stretch

Incorporare - To Incorporate

Tagliare - To cut

Unire - To combine

Fare - To do / to make

Lavorare - To work

Bollire - To boil

Tirare - To pull

Mangiare - To eat


I'm blown away by the nice things people said in the reviews:



We were so impressed with everyone's homemade pasta! Cooking brings so much warmth and togetherness. We had an incredible great pasta-making event and hope to see you at the next one.













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Want to learn more Italian? Sign up for Italian lessons with ILC!

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