Even to this day in some of the most traditional Italian homes, when a son wants to marry a girl, the future mother-in-law will ask the prospective bride something along the lines of “Ammassi?” Now, maybe that isn’t the exact word they use, but it’s the verb I’ve heard in Rome to describe the act of kneading dough, or rather, making pasta all’uovo (egg pasta), also known as pasta fatta in casa (homemade). I’m not making this up: I myself know of one Italian girl in her late twenties who just got engaged and whose mother-in-law asked her this very question. (The answer of course, was an enthusiastic sì! Let's not kid around with things this serious.)
Luckily, my Roman mother-in-law is about as hip and modern as they come, and this question never passed her lips. She accepted her nuora americana with open arms and hasn’t ever pushed me to be anyone or anything I’m not. But, maybe there’s something to be said for homemade pasta in the family blood, because my future hubby, the undisputed chef of the house, has been mentioning lately how much he wants to try his hand at pasta all’uovo.
Since today is said future spouse’s birthday, it was the perfect occasion to bestow him with—behold—(cue the trumpets): the Imperia.
Ain’t she a beaut? Ale was so thrilled with his gift that he insisted we try it out for lunch today. I’m not kidding you folks, this was literally like the Italian grown-up version of the Play-Doh Fun Factory. You start with a little mound of flour and crack some eggs into it, like so:
Then you just dig in and start mixing it all up with your hands. After an incident with a bit of a rebellious runaway egg, Ale got the dough together. And despite some first-time trial and error, adding a little more oil here, a little more flour there, and a whole lot of “ammassar-ing”, whaddya know? The little thing works!
It is a bit time consuming but there’s a special satisfaction in enjoying pasta you’ve made yourself. It only takes about 5-7 minutes to cook once you finish. All told, for our first time out, I think it took us less than an hour, and next time it will probably take about a half hour. I even bought some cutters for making ravioli (pumpkin ravioli, anyone? Mmmm….)
And of course, I can’t leave you without the token "utter kitchen destruction/king of the house a.k.a. Pavel the Cow Cat" photo:
Today’s extra-special destruction involved a full vacuuming and mopping of the kitchen floor! What a treat!
So, if you’ve ever had an itch to make pasta from scratch, I can testify that not only is it fun, but incredibly delicious. Have any of you ever tried this before? What’s your favorite type of pasta?