Hi Everyone! Here I am back to Germany, after having spent almost two weeks in Italy! And I am so glad that it worked out, as it can be quite challenging finding a last-minute ticket in August, when everyone seems to be travelling.
Way before I had even planned visiting my family in Calabria, I talked to my aunt about my ‘homemade maccheroni project’. I told her that as soon as I made it there, I wanted to go to the countryside and take pictures of her making the pasta. Open-air, of course! I mean, where do I get the chance over here to take pictures with a natural background made of ancient olive trees, while you can hear the cicadas’ noise that is typical for hot summer days and nights..
So much beauty in one place! It’s so refreshing and inspiring to leave a big northern European city, and wake up in a Mediterranean climate, surrounded by different scents, flavors and colors..
We had such a good time that day! Originally the plan was to go there with my aunt only, prepare the pasta and take it home. Shortly after it turned into a ‘scampagnata’ – that’s how we call eating out in the countryside – with the whole family! Oh, I already miss that!
There is something really special about this recipe that I am sharing with you today. When you look at the way people still make these maccheroni, it seems like the time has stopped. This technique goes back to my great grandmother, and beyond. All they use is a piece of wire. Mostly a long squared – not round – wire. It might not be that easy to find it abroad though. Actually it might be even hard to find it outside of Calabria. But that should not stop you from trying it out yourself! An alternative could be using a thin knitting needle, made either of metal or even wood. Flour, water, wire or needle and a wood board. That’s all you need.
OK, let’s begin!
MACCARUNI I’CASA – HOMEMADE MACCHERONI FROM MY SOUTHERN ITALIAN VILLAGE
8 handful of flour (Type O – alternatively all-purpose flour)
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Pour 2 handful of flour (per person) on a wood board or into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and gradually add water.
Note: Depending on the type of flour that you use, it will absorb either less or more water. In Italy flour type O and OO is usually used for homemade pasta. We have made these also with regular flour, and they turned out fine, too.
Be careful not to put too much water. Knead for a few minutes until the dough gets smooth and firm. The firmer the easier it will be to form the maccheroni later on.
Try not to sprinkle any flour on the board. That will make it easier to roll the dough.
Cut the dough into big pieces. Take one piece and knead for a few seconds. Start rolling it until it looks like a long thin maccheroni without a hole (approx. as thick as a pencil).
Then cut of every 10 cm / 4 inches of the thin roll. Put aside.
Take one of those and press the wire lengthwise into the rolled dough.
Press the palm of your hands on it, while applying just enough pressure to extend the length of the dough around the wire. In order to do this the hands need to slide from the center towards outside.
Repeat this movement until you reach a length of 20 cm / 8 inches or longer.
Now comes the most tricky part: Hold the wire in a vertical position with one hand, while sliding off the maccheroni with the other hand.
I must admit that this part requires some practice. Don’t get discouraged by your first failed attempts! Even if it seems impossible that the dough will not always stick like glue on the wire – trust me – after a few attempts it will work :)
Lay a kitchen towel on the table where you can place the maccheroni.
Bring a large pot with water to a boil. Add salt and pour in the pasta. Let it cook for a few minutes, until they start swimming on top.
Usually they do not stick to each other while they cook. But you can always add a little olive oil into the water, just in case.
Serve with a homemade tomato sauce. Meatballs (polpette) or chops of meat previously cooked with the tomato sauce go perfectly well with these maccheroni! Hmmmmmm…
Prep Time: 1 – 1½ h