Monday, 3 October 2011

Homemade Pasta (Cicatielli) with my Nonna Carmela.....................

What an experience I have had today. I have loved every single minute of it. My Nonna lives in Bedford, in a beautiful house, the same one for over 50 Years.
As a little girl I would go over and visit and cook with her. My sister and I would eat the pasta raw as she was making it, and the kitchen still smells the same as I remember. The oven is always on , and there is always something wonderful cooking and waiting to welcome you in.

I think that it is so important to have family recipes passed down and so I want to learn as much from my Nonna Carmela as I possibly can. My Nonna has more or less taught my mum how to cook and my mum clearly has taught me. However there are a few things that I do want my Nonna to share with me. I have taken photos and she loved every minute of it. My Nonna is 82 years old and for me she is still a spring chicken, with lots of go and energy in her.

I found it difficult to keep up to be honest. Her hands move so quickly, she has so much power. There was no pasta machine in sight. All was done with her wooden board which is huge and is called a Tumbagnio,this is what the region of Puglia in Italy call the board, (my uncle made it many years ago).
I grabbed the wooden board (so heavy) and placed it on her work surface, we put our pinnies on and off we went.

The way that my Nonna makes pasta is different, the flour is differnt to begin with. You would normally use Dopio 00 flour and for every 100g you use and egg. But Nonna has always made her pasta this way, so read on.........

                                                                  Picture 1

What you will need to make Cicatielli pasta
800g flour , my nonna used Semolato, di grano duro
2 large eggs
warm water
Serves 6
                                                                          Picture 2

1. In a large bowl pour in the flour. This flour is coarse and has a similar texture to semolina, grainy.
2. Make a well in the centre and add a large pinch or two of salt and pour in the eggs . Give the eggs a whisk and start incorporating in the flour and then start adding the warm water a little at a time.
3. You need to incorporate all the flour and eggs with the water into a firm dough.
4. When you have a dough, tip it out onto a lightly floured (use normal flour Dopio 00) wooden surface or board like nonnas and start kneading.
5. Knead the dough for about 5-8 minutes.
6. Roll into a large sausage and cut in half. Cover one half with a tea towel whilst you work with the other.
7. Now roll the sausage out and with a rolling pin roll flat to the thickness of a pound coin. Then slice the dough like picture 1.
8. Then each slice gets rolled out into a thin long sausage picture 2, and then cut into 2 cm pieces, picture 2.
9.You then use you first two fingers and press into the dough and roll back. It takes me ages, but I get there , where Nonna is super fast and uses both hands.
10. Once you have made all of the chicadelle, do the same with the second batch of dough.

                                                           Picture 3

The pasta can be eaten straight away, delicious. Or you can dry the pasta and freeze it, like I do. I have taken the pasta home with me and left it to dry on my dining room table on a cotton table cloth. It is best to leave it to dry on a wooden board, but my dad has not made mine yet, hurry up dad, I need to make more pasta. I have left it to dry for two days, I have now packed it and it is in my deep freeze.
I am now desperate to make more, I have stocked up on my flour, so watch this Italian there will be no stopping me........................

                                                           Nonna and I with our Cicatielli pasta.
Abbiamo Finito!!!


  1. Carmela - what a fabulous post! That was such a fabulous read! I am getting so hooked on your blog - the anticipation of what you post each day..........quite sad really! We should start an "inspired by Carmela" section! Last week after your post on the mini lemon drizzle cakes I went to Sainsbugs and brought the little cases and made mini banana loafs.

  2. Lovely! Great to see Nonna in the spotlight, I reckon it's Dads turn next with his world (Yelden) famous Stir Fry!