When I am lucky enough to be traveling in Italy (I just returned from a trip sponsored by DaVinci Wines; it was fantastic and then some!), it doesn’t take long for me to start craving pasta daily.
I am not sure why this doesn't happen when I am home (Seattle, WA, USA); but in Italy, my internal 'dinner bell' ushers in a craving for ‘a plate of pasta & ragu and a glass of Chianti.' Now that I am home again, I have big plans for ragu-making. If you cannot wait for what I have in store for DaVinci Wine, you can peak at my cinghiale ragu.
While touring Italy, we were most fortunate to visit a pasta factory. Antico Pastificio Morelli (c. 1860) is near Pisa, Italy. Visit their site www.pastamorelli.it. It was fantastic to see the pasta being made, cut, dried and packaged. They are careful and passionate about their ingredients and in most cases actually include the wheat germ. I am happy to say, I went home with 3 packages of pasta tucked in my suitcase. There is simply nothing like good, really really good pasta. Which convinces me of two things: either make it myself or splurge and buy the ‘expensive’ dried pasta on the grocer shelves. I mean, if I am spending time making a brilliant ragu, it deserves the best pasta… right?
By the way, a trick I want to share. When I make pasta I usually save ½ cup of the pasta water. Why? Just in cast the sauce I am making for the pasta (ragu, alfredo, you-name-it) needs thinning. Pasta water is more substantial and flavorful than plain water.