This past summer I learned a lot about making pasta. I visited a pasta making factory in Abruzzo where I made this video and a flour mill in Sicily where I learned how to make busiate. But one of the funnest pasta days I had was a visit to a farm in the middle of Umbria. My sister Robin was visiting with her family, and all eight of us went on a road trip with my friend Jennifer to visit the most adorable farm.
Jennifer lives in Umbria full time, and is married to an Italian (sound familiar?) She’s a chef and after working with Salvatore for a while, opened her own restaurant in Foligno. She’s now moved on to working for herself, catering at villas in the area as well as organizing food-filled adventures.
Jennifer took us to visit Angelucci Agriturismo, which is a fully functioning family run farm. After a hour spent visiting , petting and kissing some of the incredibly cute animals (piglets, goat, sheep…there were even donkeys! And about a half dozen kittens and a completely ridiculous fat chihuahua. ) we headed to the kitchen for the main event: pasta making with Mamma Rita.
Rita has been making pasta since she was 8 years old. So…she makes it look easy. It’s not. I figure if I give it about 40 more years, I’ll be able to make it look as effortless as she does.
(For the record: no, Umbrian farm ladies don’t always have such snazzy manicures. But the family had just come back from demonstrating their pasta making skills at Expo in Milan, and so had decided that if they were going to represent Umbria they were going to do it in style. )
Over the course of the hour we spent in the kitchen, here are some of the things we learned:
- An Umbrian woman’s pasta making skills are judged by the length of her rolling pin
- Also? The size of the wooden board is a source of pride. Big board = big sheet of pasta. (So, size and length do matter)
- Quality of ingredients matters: try to use locally milled flour if possible
- In Umbria, when making pasta for a special occasions , they use the whole egg (vs. richer Emilia Romagna to the north)
- Everyday pasta in Umbria is usually made with just flour and water, (strangozzi)
- They never use a pasta rolling machine since they prefer the rough texture you get from the wooden rolling pin and the wooden board
As for the rest of what we learned, I’ll let the video speak for itself.
To arrange your own pasta making and farm day in Umbria contact Jennifer
Societa’ Agricola Fratelli Angelucci
Voc. San Nicola 69
For more information on dining in Umbria and Italy download my app, EAT ITALY. EAT ITALY is a free app, and contains guides to Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence and Umbria (and an ever expanding list of regions and cities) available as in-app purchases for both iPhone and iPad. And if you want to delve further in to Roman food, please buy my book, Eating Rome, available on Amazon or at through your local book store.