Have you ever made pasta by hand? What are your favorite fresh, regional pastas? And what do you serve them with?

Emiko recently wrote an article entitled In Italy, "Pasta" Can Mean Hundreds of Different Things, where she asked these questions. cv , myself and others answered so I thought I would pose the question to the hotline to see some other opinions and favorites. I'm sure there are as many favorites as there are pasta shapes.

  • Posted by: PHIL
  • August 3, 2016


QueenSashy August 9, 2016
One of my all time faves are chestnut fettuccine (sub half of the flour with chestnut flour). I serve them with robiola, brown butter and crispy sage.
pierino August 7, 2016
Sometimes I forget I own this stuff. But here are some artisanal pasta tools I picked up along the way. The box shaped thing is called a chitarra which means "guitar". You lay flat sheets over the fine strings to produce the "square" shaped spaghetti known as pasta alla chitarra. The rolling pin is for marking ravioli. You still need a cutter to separate the filled ravioi. This just makes the boundries for you. God knows where I found this stuff, but it's like when you see it buy it because you may never have another chance. And the chitarra is very practical.
Asha L. August 10, 2016
Yes! Chitarra! I was just traveling in Abruzzo and got to make traditional chitarra. We ate it with a lamb ragu sauce studded with meatballs the size of peas. Domenica Marchetti has a great recipe for "Maccheroni alla Chitarra with Ragù Abruzzese and Palottine" in her book The Glorious Pasta of Italy.
HalfPint August 5, 2016
I've only made long pasta by hand (it's the easiest to do) and it's like a whole other species, in a good way. Usually I don't muck around with heavy sauces. So the sauces are quite simple like butter and a little grated parm reg, or some creme fraiche and herbs. The flavor is texture of fresh handmade pasta is so darn good. I don't see the need to mask it.
Windischgirl August 5, 2016
Yes, it's fun! The simplest, and to my mind, best is lasagne with homemade pasta sheets--the texture is so much lighter and more delicate than the dried sheets.
My daughter (with 'help' from a 10-year old cousin) recently made capeletti filled with puréed peas and ricotta, or sautéed mushrooms. Weren't pretty but tasted divine.
A fun book is 'The Geometry of Pasta' by Caz Hildebrandt and Jacob Kenedy...I probably love it most for the illustrations, but the simple pasta dough recipe works well.
BerryBaby August 5, 2016
No, I have never made fresh pasta, but do buy Bertolli fresh pasta (linguine). It's so quick and easy to prepare and with melted butter, fresh lemon juice and capers, that's it. A little side salad and I'm happy!
MarieGlobetrotter August 5, 2016
I love orcchiettes. Don't ask me why but I like the shape...it's tongue thing but I won't go further than that...
I usually like pasta the simply way,
- Warm: a splash of olive oil, a bit of garlic, parsley and slices of fresh parmesan - Cold fresh baby tomatoes, tomato sauce mixed with yoghurt
- Warm or cold: Pesto with yogurt/light cream
Nancy August 4, 2016
I know, Phil, you asked about regional (Italian?) pasta dishes.
And if I were travelling in Italy, I would use that as a criterion, to get interesting or best local variations.
But when not in Italy, I think by shape, and what I have around to make with the pasta.
flat by rolling pin or extruder: maltagliati (for minestrone), fettucine (many sauces), lasagna (ditto), kreplach (triangular pasta filled with meat or cheese, served in soup or fried as appetizer. BTW, I noticed once, when making these, that my mother's recipe for the dough & Marcella Hazan's for ravioli matched. Cousins under the skin?)
shaped: cavatelli (ricotta), orecchiette (rapini or broccoli)
PHIL August 4, 2016
I copied the questions from Emiko's article , like yo hear what people are eating. Thanks
702551 August 3, 2016
One thing I didn't mention in that other discussion was some of the interesting variants of homemade pasta, like changing flours, amount of whole eggs, adding additional yolks, etc.

One of my more interesting experiments involved adding some spelt flour to regular all-purpose (I ran short of AP that day and didn't want to run to the store). The subsequent dough came out well enough that I will definitely make it occasionally.

I gave up making raviolis as I was spending too much time/effort in the whole process. The pasta dough itself is pretty simple, but I was making crazy fillings and finishing making raviolis at 1am on a weekday. Maybe when I retire I will go back to those crazy projects. Man, some of those were good though, but right now I value my time and sleep more.

Good eggs make a big difference. I used to get really awesome eggs from a colleague who raised chickens, but alas, that source is gone and the three egg stands at my farmers market have been inconsistent over the years, so I have resigned to buying grocery store eggs. (sigh)

For sure, today none of my pasta dishes resemble the standard Italian-American classics apart from the pasta with a tomato-based bolognese-style sauce.
pierino August 3, 2016
Italy has more pasta shapes than France has cheeses. They all have a specific purpose depending on the commune, although there are many common themes. These easiest to make are sheets for lasagna. Once you've mastered that you can move on to cut noodles such as pappardelle and tagliatelle. In a city hall in Bologna there is a plaque illustrating the correct dimensions for tagiatelle. This region is also known for one of my favorites, strozzapreti or "priest choker's. Clerics have a reputation for being gluttons.
There are various twist shapes such as the trofie of Genoa. The correct accompaniment would be pesto.
Than you can move on to the ravioli and tortellini etc. These range from easy to very difficult. A chef from Sardinia tried to teach me to make cuglione, which is like a half moon ravioli but with a very delicate closer that resembles a braid. He told me mine were "troppo cinese."
The best book on the subject apart from the ones dedicated to specific regions is Oretta Zanini de Vita; PASTA THE ITALIAN WAY, SAUCES AND SHAPES. The translator Maureen Fant is an acquaintance of mine who has helped me out on a couple of occasions.
pierino August 3, 2016
Beware the dreaded spellchecker which fixes words that don't need it.
PHIL August 3, 2016
What did I spell wrong??
pierino August 3, 2016
Not you Phil. It was myself : raviolo and closure are what I intended.
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