I believe that in a past life I would have been an Italian – because of my love for Italian food, wine, art and the heritage. The breathtaking beauty of the Southern hillsides and their laid-back endless lunches that lead to a self-satisfying siesta, the intimidation of culture in Rome, the dizzying torrent of art in Florence and the romantic frolicks in Venice can only be overshadowed by my love for the valpolicella grape. Thankfully, my infatuation with wine is shared by my husband too, and he valiantly searches the World over to bring me a priced bottle of Masi Costasera Amarone Classico. Magnifico!
My husband and I spent our honeymoon in Italy roaming carefree for Two weeks in Rome, Florence and Venice. Although I brought home many souvenirs that adorn my home, it is the Spaghetti, Macaroni, Tagliatelle, Linguine, Fettuccini, Penne, Cannelloni, Lasagna – there are so many types of pasta, the list is endless – that I have taken across the seas and share selflessly with my family and friends in Asia.
These are classified as pasta made from dough of flour, salt and egg. At times carrot, squid ink, spinach etc can be added. This dough is used to turn out different shapes and sizes of pasta.
I personally prefer home made pasta to the commercially produced varieties. The pasta that is home-made is softer and definitely tastes better! Especially the lasagna sheets and cannelloni simply melt in your mouth.
My personal favourite is the spinach fettuccini that I make using the organically grown spinach from my home garden. It is a another great way to get your kids to eat those green leaves full of nutrition, without making a fuss about it. Besides it tastes delicious and is absolutely healthy.
You can also freeze home-made lasagna sheets by simply placing a sheet of cling wrap or baking sheet between two pasta sheets, and it will stay for around Three Months in the freezer. All you have to do is take it out of the freezer fifteen minutes before you need to use it and then immerse it in boiling water and cook for about Five minutes. You will never notice the difference.
Unlike shop-bought lasagna sheets, you do not have to bake your lasagna for a long time. Just 15 to 20 minutes or until the top is browned in a pre-heated oven of 180ºC is sufficient.
When making fettuccine, linguine, spaghetti etc with your pasta machine, dust the dough well with flour and once you roll out your strips of pasta, use a clean plastic clothes hanger and hang to dry for at least 30 minutes before boiling for 5 minutes. This will prevent the pasta sticking together.
Another important tip is to add a teaspoon of oil to the boiling water before adding your pasta.
This wholesome delicious pasta made entirely by you with pure raw materials sans shop-bought shortcuts and preservatives, can be enjoyed with a variety of sauces including tomato based or cream based, or simply with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil. Don’t forget to add a dash of wine in there too, but save the bottle for the meal! Arrivederci Italia!