I’ve been dabbling in fresh pasta making forever, or at least it seems like it. Pasta making became a regular part of my life while I lived in London. My friend Natalia and I spent days experimenting, making ravioli stuffed with savory and sweet fillings. Frequent trips to Italy from London also fueled my love for making pasta.
In 2019 with a busy year in tourism, my beautiful pasta board sat patiently in its storage place for months on end. I made cavatelli once a quarter and tagliatelle for Easter. I used it for special occasions. That’s changed.
Since launching Casa Mia’s online interactive lessons, I’ve upped my hours in the kitchen learning different pasta shapes, and hitting the board, that is my beloved pasta board.
Pasta making has once again become a part of my kitchen fun. I’ve learned about hydration from our lovely Carolyn and from researching and reading and from rolling out pasta over and over and over. I’ve watched endless pasta making episodes online. I am also very fortunate to have made pasta with cooks around Italy. That being said, there’s no substitute for practice in different weather, at different times of day, with different types of flours, in different kitchens and with different ingredients (i.e. flour types, vegetables, olive oil, milk, cheese etc.).
After months of increased pasta making time, here are my favorite home made pasta shapes, in no particular order.
1 – Scialatielli
Scialatielli hail from the Amalfi Coast. Created in the 1960s by a local chef, they are short, thick and rectangular. I prefer fresh home made scialatielli to the dried version. The texture and taste provide a beautiful landing place for clams or fresh tomatoes and basil.
2 – Gnocchi
Gnocchi, gnocchi, gnocchi: fluffy and pillow-like when made well. There’s something luxurious about eating gnocchi served with mussels, clams and squid, or in a tomato and basil sauce, or enjoying the pumpkin gnocchi that I made during lockdown served in a butter and sage sauce.
3 – Cavatelli
Cavatelli hold a special place in my kitchen memories. My first fresh pasta memory of Ma––my grandmother from Avellino––sitting at her kitchen table, making them. I love the shell like shape that begs to be filled with a thick bubbly meat sauce.
4 – Busiate
If I had to choose one pasta shape to eat for the rest of my life it would be busiate. My love for her runs deep. Corkscrew shaped busiate is a traditional pasta from western Sicily. Until recently it was relatively unknown outside of Sicily. I always have a stash of dried busiate made from heritage grains from my favorite producer Molini del Ponte. I like to serve them with pesto alla trapanese, alla norma or with a fava bean sauce and grated lemon zest.
5, 6, 7 – tortellini, tortelloni and maltagliati
I learned to make these in Bologna while conducting research for the “Stuffed” episode of the Netflix show Ugly Delicious.
During the chilly months in Rome, we dive into a steamy bowl of tortellini in brodo. It’s nutritious, savory and heart warming. Tortelloni stuffed with ricotta and chopped parsley doused in tomato sauce are a Sunday favorite. I like most, make Maltagliati from scraps of leftover pasta. They are a staple in my kitchen cooked with roman beans or chickpeas.
8 – Tagliatelle
Tagliatelle is a classic pasta from the Emilia-Romagna region. Whether they be meat or vegetable based, thick pasta sauces partner well with tagliatelle. Give me a bowl of tagliatelle with bolognese sauce and a glass of lambrusco on a frosty January Sunday, and you’ve made me a very happy woman.
9 – Orecchiette
‘Little ears’ were born in the region of Puglia. The rough surface of these concave beauties cradles various sauces. I gravitate toward the iconic orecchiette cooked with turnip greens when they are in season and love orecchiette with fresh tomatoes, arugula and pecorino cheese in summertime.
10 – Ravioli
I cherish making ravioli with Mom. The rhythm of making ravioli is soothing. Roll out the pasta sheets, mix different fillings, spoon the filling onto the sheets, seal the pockets, cut and place on a plate while a pot of water comes to the boil. Eating a plate of ricotta cheese stuffed ravioli in tomato sauce is coming home for me.
Have you always dreamed of making fresh pasta? Join one of our online group pasta lessons or we’ll be happy to organize a private pasta making lesson for you.