Saturday, April 2, 2011

Italian Day

Italian day
My first batch
So I’ve had many sleepless nights about the prospect of making fresh pasta in front of Talia’s Nonno and the K-2’s (kindergarten-through year 2) at our school. Somehow I got picked to do the demonstration in front of the judging eyes of 60, five to seven year old’s and boy, is that intimidating!
It's no secret that I have always wanted to be Italian, to have a Nonna and Nonno, live in Tuscany, speak the language...and the list goes on!
So needless to say I needed to find my Italian inner-self fast.

After many failed attempts to make my pasta dough (last night), I woke up this morning needing to give it one more test run, just in case I’d somehow (overnight) found the Italian in me! But no, I hadn’t!
So I had no choice but to front up and make a fool of myself – because as my kids kept reminding me, Signorina Monaco (the girls Italian teacher was) counting on me.

Frank eating pizza on Italian day

At school the celebrations were in full swing and I was still worried that somehow I had to pull this off, until in the corner of my eye (and with a little help from my friend Bec and Silvia) I saw Nonno (Eddy). It was like all my Christmas’s had come at once….all I had to do was convince him to make the pasta and I would do the easy bit, explaining to the children what he was doing.

Talia and her Nonno

Being Italian (and a very lovely man) he was more than thrilled to bring his experience to the table and show us all, that he is, the master pasta maker!
(And by the way, my lame attempt at making pasta, wasn’t as bad as I thought….he re-worked my dough with a little more flour and it was ready to go.)
I, of course, was a sponge to the information he was feeding me and he obviously loves to teach others...what comes so naturally to him.

Mummy knows people in high places - lessons from the pro!
I might just add, we made quite a good team! So now no longer panicked, I let Nonno do his thing and I explained over the microphone how it was done.
So thank you Eddy(Nonno) for your time and knowledge and to your daughter and granddaughter Talia – what a lucky girl she is to have a Nonno like you!
 This is for you, my first attempt at making, cooking and eating my own fresh pasta – the start of many more, I promise! And don’t forget me when your making sauce, I want to come and watch! X

My Spaghetti
Ok, this is how Nonno 'taughta me, to makea, the pasta'
Serves 6

How pro does that look?

½ kilo of plain flour

1 teaspoon of salt

2 tablespoons of olive oil

3 eggs

and a little water as you go to get the right consistency

It may sound easy to make – but beware it is not – as I found out.

Put your flour and salt in the bowl

Then your eggs and oil

And then work the mixture until you have something that resembles bread crumbs, Nonno say’s he like to make sure the eggs and flour are evenly mixed.

Now start trying to clump it into a ball, this is when Nonno added a little water, but as he said, just add a little at a time (1 tablespoon) because the dough needs to be dry or it won't go through the pasta machine – knead, knead, knead until its ready around 10 - 15minutes after the ball has come together.

Now you are ready for the machine – have a little flour around, ready if you need it. 

Cut your dough in 4’s and start.

I rolled it out just a little, into a small oval disc.

Then I started putting it through my pasta machine (thanks Uncle Al), starting at 1 and working my way through to 5 or 6 (depending if you like thick or thin spaghetti) - when my sheet of pasta was thin and silky and super smooth, I knew it was ready. 
(see my pics below)
I added a little flour to both sides and then proceeded to put it through the spaghetti attachment.

Of course, I would know none of this if it wasn't for Nonno. He also told me, never clean your machine with water - only a tea towel and a toothpick (if your pasta gets stuck in the machine).
I'm not sure who had more fun, me or the kids ?! So if you have little ones get them to help, they will absolutely love it!
To cook your fresh pasta:
Boil a large pot of salted water 
put your pasta in the water when it's rapidly boiling
and cook for a very quick 1-2min
have a taste and check it is cooked before draining.
pop straight into sauce or drizzle with a little oilve oil to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

Wilco, Frank & Ines made their own spaghetti and loved every second,

I made fettuccine for Ines’ mum Claire, Mima & myself.

I had one sauce in the freezer (that I’d made last month), tomato sauce with meatballs – which was super delicious and feed all of us,

Ines' pasta

with the exception of Frank who had butter and Parmesan.

Frankie's pasta
And I have to say it was unbelievable! I will definitely be making my own pasta from now on. It's not hard, it’s fun and even more delicious than dried pasta.
Ines enjoying her pasta

To finish our meal off I’d made the kids Jelly, in glasses - fancy ones.

I used 2 packets of Jelly – make as per instructions

The Jelly I use - no nasties - available at most health food stores

I poured the raspberry jelly first, and filled the glasses half way

Then I popped a couple of frozen raspberry’s into the jelly

Let that layer set in the fridge for a couple of hours

Then made up the tropical jelly and finished them off with that on top.
makes 4 glasses and 2 little ones - for small people.


p.s I’ve just come home from the market, where I found San Marzano tomatoes. So I’m going to make a sauce, which means I’m going to need some pasta to eat with it!! Will post my sauce recipe later on.....
All photo's by me, unless otherwise stated.
Remember to click on my photo's to enlarge then.

©Michelle Schoeps 2013
All photos taken by Michelle Schoeps


  1. Love the coverage from Italian Day, great to read your blog.

  2. My guilty pleasure is jelly! Will have to look out for this when I'm next shopping!