The Best Handmade Pasta Recipe
Italian Cooking Classes
One of our favorite aspects of our job (apart from the villa-scouting trips to Tuscany of course) is when we host Italian cooking classes for friends. It started with an idea cooked up with our friend Antonella, a talented chef who hails from Rome. The first time we did this, Brandy and I donated the class as an auction item for our children’s school, and people signed up to come try their hand at making the best handmade pasta. With a little flour and some eggs, good friends and delicious Italian wine thrown in the mix, the event was a success.
Digging In – Handmade Pasta Recipe
We recently hosted our 5th or 6th class, and somehow it never gets old for us. There’s nothing like diving into a mound of flour with both hands, coaxing your dough to the perfect consistency. Although pasta has only 2 ingredients, eggs and flour, there is a trick to getting it right. Antonella, who runs a restaurant as well as the catering business Eating in Style, is there to guide us to perfect pasta. She also brings several tools to make different types of pasta. My favorite is the chitarra (Italian for guitar), which looks like a stringed musical instrument. You simply roll the dough along the strings, and perfectly cut spaghetti is formed.
Pasta Sauce Options: Meat Sauce, Gorgonzola Sauce, and Pesto Sauce
Meanwhile, Antonella is also busy showing us three simple sauces. She makes everything look easy, but honestly these mouth-watering sauces are very easy to make. Like any good Italian food, each sauce has precious few ingredients. Italian cooking is best when it’s simple and fresh.
Then comes the best part. Eventually, we shed our aprons and sit down to enjoy the fruits of our labor, with a little more delicious Italian wine, of course. We always survey the group in an effort to determine the favorite pasta, but the answer continues to elude us. The meat sauce served over hand-cut tagliatelle is hearty and savory. The gorgonzola sauce over spaghetti is wonderfully rich. And the pesto over cavatelli is perfectly nutty and smooth. They are all winners, and we’re happy to share the sauce recipes with you below. They’re all easy enough to try at home, but fair warning- You may want to contact us to help you learn how to generate the perfect handmade pasta accompaniments.
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup chopped onion and carrots
- 1 pound ground beef or lamb
- One 28-ounce canned Italian whole plum tomatoes
- 1 pound of pasta
- 1 cup of aged ricotta cheese or parmigiano-reggiano cheese
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan, add oil, chopped onion and carrots. When the onion and carrots are soft, add the ground lamb. Cook the lamb and then add the tomatoes, salt and pepper.
Let the sauce cook for 45/50 minute over a low heat.
When pasta is ready, mix it together with the sauce and add ricotta or parmigiano-reggiano on top.
- 1 cup of Italian gorgonzola cheese
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- ½ cup of walnuts (chopped)
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large sauce pan, cook the gorgonzola cheese and the heavy cream over low heat.
Let the cheese melt and add the salt.
When pasta is ready, transfer it into the gorgonzola sauce pan and let pasta marinate for 3 minutes.
Add the pepper before serving.
- 2 cups fresh basil leaves
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1⁄4 cup pine nuts (pinoli)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 3⁄4 cup freshly grated pecorino cheese and salt
Place basil, garlic, olive oil, pine nuts and pecorino cheese in a food processor.
When pesto sauce is done set aside and cook pasta.
When pasta is cooked, drain well; toss pesto with pasta, cherry tomatoes and additional pine nuts until they are well coated.
Find more Italian recipes, here!