It's been a few days since I last contributed to the Forum, but here, on request, is the recipe for water pasta. This comes from an area of Italy called Lucania, whose main city is Potenza, south east of Rome and notorious for the danger of earthquakes. Generally speaking, water based pastas are used more in southern Italy than they are in the north, where the fresh pasta tends to be egg pasta in ribbons and filled pasta such as ravioli and cappelletti. There seems to be a preference in the south for water pasta in short and small shapes, and spaghetti 'alla chitarra' (guitar) cut on a rectangular frame with strings that bears a kind of resemblance to the musical instrument. The pasta is rolled into sheets which are then placed on top and are pushed through the strands leaving the spaghetti on the bottom.
Sophia Loren, who was an amazing cook, and wrote several very knowledgeable cookery books, famously said 'Making pasta made me the woman I am'. Anyway, back to making the water pasta:
330gr. strong flour (durum wheat), or the contents of three fistfuls of of flour.
170g tepid water
Make a volcano and crater with the salted flour. Add the water a bit at a time, drawing in the flour as you go. When the water is incorporated, draw in the rest of the remaining flour and start kneading. Knead until you get a smooth ball of dough. Rest the dough for 30 mins, and you have a rest as well. Then start shaping the pasta into whatever shapes you like.
A couple of suggestions:
Orecchiette: take a ball of pasta about the size of a fist, and hand roll it into a sausage about 1.5cm thick. Cut into sections about 75mm thick, then press each ball over your middle finger to make a little bowl. Leave to dry a little more, or until you're ready to cook them. They cook in about 30 - 45 secs.
Strascinati: (pronounced 'strashinarty')
A great tradition in southern Italy, because they are designed to hold a fair amount of sauce, usually rag¨:
This time, make sausage shapes about the size of your thumb. Then, using your index finger, middle finger and ring finger, make indentations in the pasta and pull your fingers towards you, leaving a thick edge. You could call them knuckledusters! as it were.
These are always served with a meat rag¨, made with the cheapest cuts of lamb, pork and veal, and chilli pepper sausage called 'pezzente'.
Strangolapreti (Priest stranglers - one wonders at times where on earth these names appeared from!)
Very easy. make squares of pasta about 5mm thick, and roll them up corner to corner.
Being fresh, these pastas cook very quickly, so once they're in the pan, don't leave them.
Have fun!! Buon appetito!
Enough is never as good as a feast Oscar Wilde