This is How we Make Pasta — from Scratch (with recipes!)

This past weekend was one of my last in Roma — I can’t believe how quickly time is passing! I jam-packed my Thursday (night), Friday, and Saturday with fun (yes, watching old episodes of Laguna Beach after a day full of activity does count as a “jam-packed” weekend activity…bahaha). Thursday night, my friend Kenz and I went to a movie…in English! We were cravin’ a little bit of home (hence, the multiple Laguna episodes we watched), so we headed on over to a movie theater right off of Via del Corso that shows movies in their original language. We saw the King’s Speech, and I was blown away. You know a movie is good when it ends and you’re like…it’s over? Already? (Felt the same way with The Princess & the Frog and Tangled.)

We continued the fun (and our bonding) by heading to Villa Borghese (the Central Park of Roma) early Friday morning, intending to rent out bikes and cruise around through the winding pathways.

Little did we know we’d need our actual passports or driver’s licenses to rent out the bikes. Whoops, scratch the bikes! I figured it’d be a good activity to do so I could continue to take it easy on my foot, but we decided to meander through the park instead, sans bikes…even taking a stop to “picnic” with our packed sandwiches and read a little. Well, Kenz took a nap, but I won’t judge, and who could blame her? The sun was shining down and the weather was H-O-T. I like 🙂

Palm trees to the left...

Gorgeous view of the city to the right...

We could have spent hours here — it’s such a tranquil haven, smack dab in the middle of the city. I think that’s why I love Central Park so much: it’s such a peaceful, relaxing green space, and though surrounded by a bustling metropolitan area, you don’t even notice how much is going on mere steps away from you.

A beautiful, blissful journey to a space of peace and quiet within Roma…

On Saturday, I was fortunate enough to have snagged a spot on our school-sponsored “study” trip to Tivoli…for a cooking class, nonetheless! Can I tell you that I was beyond excited? Almost as excited as I was for my chocolate shot 🙂

Before the cooking lesson, we were able to visit Villa Adriana, or Hadrian’s villa, where the emperor Hadrian spent time as a retreat away from Roma in the 2nd century A.D.

(Not to spoil this photo, but this lil’ fella was actually…um…how do I put this…dead.)

Yup, indecency at its finest.

When ya gotta go, ya gotta go!

Visit complete, we headed over to il Ristorante Antiche Terme di Diana for our cooking lesson. I’m not gonna post any pictures of me and my awesome (plastic) apron that was oh-so-flattering, but you better believe I was lookin’ H-O-T…and in style (di moda) 🙂

I had a ton of fun at the lesson, but I would have liked it to be a little smaller and more intimate (Though I did get to know Anna, one of the family owners, pretty well. She loved my name…can you imagine that?!). There were about 30 or so students crowded around 3 tables, but even so, I learned a ton…like how to make gnocchi, farfalle (bow tie), and fettuccine noodles — from scratch! I was bummed when I realized we weren’t going to learn how to make the sauces, but…our SLA e-mailed us the recipes straight from il ristorante today. Score! (For me, and for you!)

Anna & Anna

The moment we walked in…

we were greeted with glasses of the most amazing, fruit juice concoction. Not a bad way to win over our hearts already (before we even tasted the food!).

After the cooking lesson (and after we thoroughly de-floured our hands), we took a seat and prepared ourselves for the feast to begin!

Kicked off with bread and vino, natch 😉

Quickly followed by a “schmorgishboard” (props to anyone who can spell that) of appetizers…

Including mortadella, salami, prosciutto, mozzarella, brie, zucchini, artichoke hearts, black olives, and a funky green thing that looked like a tortilla chip but was…soft to the bite? Did I like it? Mehh…not so much.

What do you think I dug into first?!

Creepy/funky/I-have-no-idea-what-it-is green thing.

Next up?

Pasta. To be exact, the exact pasta we made! Which translates into it being incredibly awkward shaped. But I liked that! You could tell it was homemade. And what’s unbelievable, and reassuring, is the fact that the ingredients were flour, water, and (a pinch of) salt for the farfalle, and eggs and flour for the fettuccine. That simple? I die!

Since we didn’t have the opportunity to prepare the sauces, we were unaware of what the dishes would actually be. Until they came out, that is!

Since we made 3 types of noodles, there were 3 pasta dishes. But, since we are not 800-pound-men (well, I should re-evaluate after this post haha), the pasta was served family-style, so we could take a scoop of this and a scoop ‘o that.

Before I get to the pasta (I love keeping y’all waiting…), I’ll show our main course (ehhh, not so good) of creepily cold and tinted-pink chicken with a rather yummy, light salad:

And our dessert? Chocolate mousse! LOVE (and you know I don’t normally love uber-chocolately desserts).

This dessert was unreal. A thick, chocolate base topped with a whipped mousse. Then dolloped with whipped cream and finished off with chocolate jimmies? Yes! (So good, some of my girlfriends managed to snag seconds for themselves!)

And now, for the pasta (& recipes!):

Pasta #1 —

 Farfalle Salsa Terme di Diana (Bacon, Asparagus, Tomato, & Cheese)

Yes, those are actually bow-tie shaped noodles. When they’re made from scratch as opposed to manufactured by machines, they come out lookin’ a little rough, mmmkay?

(Bow-tie is saggin’ a little!)

The sauce in this dish was bomb, but in all honesty, the noodles were absolutely delicious. Odd-shaped and all, they had a great texture and bite to them (not too soft, not too hard), and definitely were able to handle the multi-ingredient sauce. The tomatoes and asparagus were delicious additions, and the bacon? Well, I wouldn’t know — there wasn’t a piece to be found in my serving!

Farfalle acqua e farina (Bow Tie Noodles)

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams of flour (about 15 Tablespoons)
  • one glass of Water
  • a pinch of salt
  1. Make a little flour fountain
  2. Add the glass of water and the pinch of salt
  3. Mix the ingredients for about 10 minutes, in order to obtain a little compact “pasta ball.”
  4. Roll it out with a rolling pin until you get a thin layer of pasta.
  5. Cut first into large strips (3 fingers placed horizontally) and then into little squares (4 fingers placed vertically).
  6. Place a square in the palm of your hand and take the pointer finger from your other hand in the center of the square. Then use your thumb and middle finger to squeeze both the top and bottom of the square into the center to form a bow tie.
  7. Put them on a tray, adding some flour.
  8. Cook in water, but watch carefully. Homemade pasta cooks much quicker than store-bought!

 

Salsa Terme di Diana (Bacon, Asparagus, Tomato, and Cheese sauce)

Ingredients:

  • 2 slices of bacon
  • 6 big Asparagus spears
  • 12 little pachino tomatoes
  • white wine
  • oil
  • salt
  • parmesan cheese
  1. Cut the bacon and asparagus into little cubes.
  2. Let them brown in a pan for a few minutes with the EVOO.
  3. Add a glass of white wine and let it cook for a few minutes until the wine is absorbed.
  4. Add the tomatoes and let it cook for 5 minutes.
  5. Add the noodles and let it cook/simmer together for a few minutes.
  6. Top with parmesan cheese, if desired.

Serves 4.

Pasta #2 —

Fettuccine Salsa ai Funghi Porcini (Porcini Mushroom Sauce)

I love fettuccine and mushrooms, so I was surprised this was my least favorite of the 3 pastas. Perhaps it was simply due to the fact that the stakes were raised (especially with those scrumptious bow-tie noodles and unbelievable sauce of the gnocchi dish). Definitely give this one a try, though: my friends Kenz & Al voted this one the best!

Fettuccine:

Ingredients:

  • 2 eggs
  • 15 Tablespoons of white self-rising flour

(That’s it!)

  1. Make a little flour fountain.
  2. Add the eggs.
  3. Mix the ingredients until you get a little compact pasta ball.
  4. Let the pasta ball dry for about 10 minutes.
  5. Roll it out with a rolling pin until you get a thin layer of pasta.
  6. Roll the pasta layer (starting from the top, roll it from top to bottom).
  7. Cut into little strips, and then open them up (so they can dry out).
  8. Put them on a tray, adding some flour.
  9. Cook. Drain. Enjoy (with the following sauce recipe!)

 

Salsa ai Funghi Porcini (Porcini Mushroom Sauce)

Ingredients:

  • 8 porcini mushrooms (medium-size)
  • salt
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
  • parsley
  • chili pepper
  • white wine
  1. Wash the porcini mushrooms and cut them into small cubes.
  2. Put the clove of garlic, 4 Tablespoons of EVOO, and chili pepper into a pan and let it all brown for a few minutes.
  3. Add the mushrooms and cook it for a few more minutes.
  4. Add a pinch or 2 of salt and minced parsley.
  5. Add a glass of white wine and let it cook until the mushrooms become clear.
  6. Add the fettuccine and let it mingle together for a few. Then enjoy 🙂

Serves 4.

Pasta #3 —

Gnocchi di Patate Ragu (Bolognese)

(Don’t you love Kenz’s fish scarf in the background?!)

I was in love with this sauce, but the gnocchi didn’t truly live up to my stomach’s expectations — much too mushy for my liking! I’m not sure if the chefs weren’t watching it cook carefully enough, or if it was our bad. Probably…our bad. hehe.

But the sauce? Hearty, meaty goodness. I thought a lot of my freshman year roommate, Mia, during this particular dish: her favorite pasta sauce is a bolognese, and I know she’d die for this one!

Gnocchi di Patate (Small flour and potato dumplings)

Ingredients:

  • 4 big potatoes
  • 2 eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 50 grams of flour (approx. 6 and 1/4 Tablespoons)
  1. Boil the potatoes.
  2. Squash the potatoes with a fork.
  3. Add the 2 eggs, salt, and flour.
  4. Make a little compact potato-ball out of it (these people love the “pasta/potato ball” phrase)
  5. Cut the potato ball then stretch it with your hands until it becomes a long, thin “snake.”
  6. Cut into 1-finger-broad gnocchi and put them on a tray, adding some flour.
  7. Cook and enjoy, with the following sauce. (Watch these super carefully…they only take about a minute until you see them floating to the top!)

Ragu (Bolognese Sauce)

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams (aprox. 1/2 lb.) ground beef
  • EVOO
  • salt
  • a small piece of celery
  • large carrot
  • 2 slices of cipolla (onion)
  • 500 grams of tomato sauce (approx. 2 cups)
  • pepper
  • red wine
  1. Cut the celery, carrots, and onion into little slices.
  2. Brown them all for one minute in a pan and add the beef.
  3. Add a glass of red wine and wait until it is absorbed.
  4. Add the tomato sauce, salt, and pepper.
  5. Let it cook for about 20 minutes.
  6. Mix with gnocchi and enjoy.

Serves 4.

Please try these recipes, ASAP! I apologize for the weird wording, at times (“compact pasta balls” and “snakes,” anyone?)…I guess that comes with having the actual recipes written down by the chefs themselves. I actually think it’s pretty funny! I love it when things aren’t all scientific, but instead are in terms that, well, we use when we cook. The people at the restaurant probably hadn’t ever written these down before; they just knew them by heart…passed down from generation to generation. That is good some good stuff.

And I Ask You: (Though Epic battles could start over this question)…

  • Favorite noodle shape?
  • Favorite sauce?
  • Favorite combo?

And which of the appetizers was I DYING to gobble up in one bite (but made myself savor)?

GO!

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About ciaotochow

ciao to chow: initially created as a little spot on the web devoted to the "chow" I find while studying abroad in Rome. But really, ciao to chow is about my life: the day-to-day experiences, funny stories, moments of laughter, and the food...that continue to inspire me and make me grateful for each new day.
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11 Responses to This is How we Make Pasta — from Scratch (with recipes!)

  1. Allison Krueger says:

    I bet Julie will be happy that you have a question at the end of this post hahaha! I love reading your blog. It is a nice little homework break! Ciao

  2. LinnE says:

    My father is going to die when he sees you have recipes. Why yes, you have just provided our household with three new meals that my parents will be trying over summer. Guaranteed. Also, loved that pic with the yellow flower in the mud.. quite the artsy one, eh?! (<— a little reference to Liza). Anyways, miss you like crazy. Love you!

  3. Natalie says:

    I agree with Linnea, this all looks incredibly delicious!!!! New recipes for the next Meseck get together? The fettucine mushroom one looks the best.
    I can’t wait to see your lovely face again. 🙂
    Miss you and love you!
    XOXO
    Natalie

  4. Layne says:

    Oh my goodness can’t wait to try pasta #1! Well, and the other two too, let’s not kid ourselves ;o)

  5. MareMare says:

    What a BIG blog post — you go, girl!! I’ll be sittin’ back in my easy chair while you fly solo w/these recipes this summer!! I’ll even do the clean-up! I love the 2 Annas! xxxooo

  6. Oh my gosh! You are a cutie! And I’m so totally jealous that you get to live in Italy and experience all the wonderful food their culture has to offer! Thanks for sharing your foodie adventures. I’m officially drooling over your pasta and and chocolate mousse dessert :D.

  7. YEAH!! We just had a pasta lab a few days ago in my highschool creative cooking class! I had NO idea it took only like 5ish minutes to cook! It was frozen to so I thought it would need longer ! WE did not get clear instructions at all so I left it in their for like 10 minutes and when I took it out it was all squished together and weird and clumpy! hehe

  8. M says:

    Anna —
    It’s spelled smorgasbord.
    Thought you would like to know.
    Mattias

    • M says:

      And by the way… Great blog. I always look forward to reading it and creeping on your adventures! Can’t wait until you’re back in the States and we can get together sometime.

  9. Pingback: Allora, Now We’re Cookin’ | ciaotochow

  10. Pingback: Family = Craziness, Family = Love | ciaotochow

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