My first trip to Italy brought me to the charming, Renaissance streets of Florence. There, I lived my dream: to learn Italian and to cook Italian food. Mornings were filled with language classes taught by my quirky, Tuscan professor, while afternoons were filled with cooking classes in an open, breezy kitchen. I learned everything from how to make minestra di piselli e ricotta (one of my favorite recipes and a definite crowd-pleaser) and stuffed squid to biscotti and panna cotta. And, of course, I learned how to make fresh pasta. But, instead of using a pasta machine, I was taught how to roll pasta by hand to form paper thin sheets of dough which would then be hand cut into maltagliati.
Cook's Illustrated shows us how to do just that: make fresh pasta without a machine. Their step-by-step guide, from making a dough with extra olive oil and egg yolks to shaping the dough into farfalle, garganelli, and maltagliati, is comprehensive and full of useful tips. Toss your handmade pasta with sardines, fennel and tomato or add it to a minestra, and you will have yourself a delicious weeknight meal.