PASTA MAKING AT PASTIFICIO FAINI
Pasta — one of the greatest joys in my life. I always enjoyed pasta in the states, but I’ve really come to love pasta even more in Italy. From the hundreds of different pasta shapes, various pasta sauces, and countless variations from region to region, it’s hard to ever become tired of it. Thanks to Emanuele at Pastificio Faini we now know how easy and quick it is to make homemade pasta at home and without a machine.
Wanting to learn more about pasta, my family and I booked this pasta class through Airbnb experiences. The class and dinner were held by pastificio (pasta shop) owner, Emanuele. The classes are capped at 13 people, which was the perfect amount to make it a fun, but still an intimate and personal experience. Emanuele was born and raised in Rome and has spent his entire life in a pastificio from the one his parents’ owned to the one he opened and operated as an adult. His pastificio was rated as one of the best in Rome in Italy’s prestigious food and wine magazine, Gambero Rosso. Wanting to share his love of pasta, one day he decided to host a pasta making course with dinner and the rest is history. Through his pasta classes, he was able to share his love of pasta and meet people from all around the world and after this part-time business took off, he closed down his traditional pastificio and is now offering pasta classes full-time for lunch and dinner. If you’re in town on a Thursday, make sure to book his Thursday class because it includes gnocchi.
The pastificio is located in San Lorenzo, a neighborhood near Termini with a young and contemporary vibe. At the beginning of the 20th century is was constructed as housing for workers employed at nearby factories. While this means that the neighborhood doesn’t exactly have the same picturesque and quintessential architecture and beauty of other areas of Rome, it still has a lot to offer from beautiful murals to trendy shops and eateries.
In the class, you’ll learn everything from the different types of flours you can use, the best techniques for making pasta by hand, and a few classic recipes. Below is the classic pasta recipe we used:
CLASSIC HOMEMADE PASTA
Serving size: 1
Time: 30 minutes
100g of 00 flour (if you can’t find 00 flour, you can use bread or pizza flour) and extra for dusting
1 pinch of salt
1 pinch of pepper
1 pinch of nutmeg
1 large egg
1. Mix the salt, pepper, and nutmeg with the flour. Once mixed, dump the flour on a board and make a well.
2. Crack the eggs into the well and begin mixing the eggs with a fork making sure not to add much of the flour with the eggs in the beginning.
3. Once the eggs have been well mixed, begin adding flour to the egg. When half of the flour has been added, add the remaining flour and continue mixing with a fork until it resembles something similar to scrambled eggs.
4. Use the palm of your hand and begin needing the dough. Depending on the size of your egg, you may not need to use all the flour. The end result should be semi-soft and not sticky.
5. Once you’ve kneaded the dough to the desired consistency, roll it into a ball and wrap it in plastic wrap allowing it to rest for 20 minutes. During the resting period, the egg whites will release humidity and give your dough an even softer texture.
6. At this step, you can use a machine if you have one and roll it into whichever pasta shape you prefer. If you don’t have a pasta machine, grab a rolling pin and cutting board (you could also roll out the pasta on the counter). While you could roll out the pasta as you would for cookies or tortillas, we learned an old Italian technique and have provided a video below. The desired thickness is obtained when you’re able to lift up an edge of the sheet of pasta and form a bubble under it and can faintly see your hand through it.
7. Instead of me attempting to explain how to make a classic string pasta like fettuccine, I’ve attached another video explaining the method.
Ever since we moved here I’ve wanted a pasta machine, but after taking the class I won’t be investing in one. While the pasta machine is quicker and more precise, the biggest difference in pasta rolled between metal and pasta rolled by hand is the texture. The hand-rolled pasta has a rougher texture which means sauces cling to it much better.
Whether you’re a novice or skilled cook, this class is well structured for both. It’s become one of our favorite experiences in Rome since we’ve moved here and was the highlight of my family’s trip; I can’t recommend Emanuele’s pasta-making class enough.