In Moglia, a small town in the region of Lombardia, Italy, lives an adorable woman name Adriana who owns Con Gusto, a small shop :: negozio where she sells homemade pasta. She invited me to visit her sunlit laboratory where she passes her day preparing a variety of pastas, including one of my favorites: tortelli di zucca, which is filled with pumpkin and is similar to ravioli. Italian recipes are usually passed down throughout generations. Each family has its own way of making tortelli di zucca, which is a traditional dish from Mantova. Whereas other recipes include mostarda (pickled fruit) in the filling, Adriana’s only calls for: nutmeg :: noce moscato, ground amaretti cookies, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and cooked pumpkin purée. Once you have prepared the filling :: ripieno, then it’s time to make the pasta dough, which is simply made from 100g of all purpose flour for every egg. Italian farm fresh eggs resemble orange garnet stones, they have such a magnificent color so don’t be surprised if your pasta dough doesn’t have such deep shades of yellow. You can roll the pasta dough by hand, or use a pasta rolling machine. After which, the pasta sheet is cut into tiny squares using a frilled edge pastry cutter. Adriana has one with multiple blades to get the job done quicker, but you can also find single cutters as well. The next part is my favorite task: forming the pasta into the tortelli shape. I find this part quite therapeutic and relaxing. Your hands nimbly work at forming little round balls of orange filling and enclosing them with the pasta square so that it makes a triangle :: triangolo. Then you squeeze the pasta together around the center to push out all of the air :: aria that is around the filling and turn the ends in to form a little hat like Robin Hood wears. Repeat. Repeat. And, repeat, some more. It’s quite a long process, but totally worth it for the yumminess that you’ll soon be putting into your mouth.
Adriana was so kind to send me home with a big tray :: vassoio to cook for Mr. Italicano and myself, but before I left she showed me some of the other pasta she previously made. Then she quickly showed me how she makes her maccheroni al pettine, which is literally translated to “comb maccheroni” because she uses a small comb-like utensil to create the line indentions. She starts out with the pasta dough and cuts it into squares :: quadratini, like she did for the tortelli di zucca. However, this time she rolls a square onto a little wooden stick, then moves it across the comb-like utensil. Then she just pops the piece of pasta off the little wooden stick. And, that’s how quickly you can make handmade maccheroni al pettine. Oh, how I adore Italian cooks and their homemade pastas. I don’t have the exact proportions for Adriana’s tortelli di zucca but if the picture below has tantalized your taste buds and you are dying to make these, try out this similar recipe and simply omit the mostarda so it is more like Adriana’s. Don’t forget to try out my friend Elena’s tortelli verdi (spinach tortelli) recipe as well. Enjoy! If you happen to be near Mantova, you can find Adriana’s shop at the address below:Con Gusto P.zza Libertà, 69 46024, Moglia MN Italy
Note: This post is not sponsored or paid by Con Gusto. I promote companies whose products I like and think you will enjoy.