Who do you go to for advice on making pasta? Who makes the best food the world over? Grandmas. Your grandma, my grandma, everybody’s grandma makes the best dishes out there. Think about it, they have tons of experience cooking for the ones they love, and creating that tasty, balanced flavor that we all know and love.
If you don’t currently have access to a granny by either time, distance or other circumstances beyond your control, Pasta Grannies Channel on YouTube is fantastic. The videos feature real grannies, teaching you how to make all kinds of different pasta. And the videos are also fairly short, taking anywhere from 3-10 minutes.
In one of my favorite Pasta Grannies videos, Granny Lucia teaches Lina and 2 children (Antonio and Carolina) how to make a pasta called sagnettine.
- Farro flour
- Warm Water
- Pinch of salt
- In season vegetables
- Zucchini 2 small
- Bell pepper 2 each
- Eggplant 1 small
- Vine-ripened tomatoes 1 bunch
- Shallots 1 large
- Celery 2 stalks
- Parsley a few sprigs
- Carrot 1 each
- Olive oil
- Fresh Basil
- Ricotta Salata cheese
- Pasta board or flat wooden surface for rolling pasta
- Rolling pin
- Small knife for cutting the pasta
- Tray or cleared off area to place shaped pasta
- Saute pan
- Pot for boiling water
- Dish for serving
Step 1: Mix The Dough
Lucia begins to first mix all the ingredients to make the dough. She piles the farro flour in the center of her board along with a pinch of salt. After making a well in the center of the flour, she pours in the water she uses to make the dough mixture. In true granny fashion, she doesn’t use any exact measurements. If you’d prefer to follow a recipe so you have the right amount of ingredients, here is a good one to start from All Recipes. Just substitute semolina for farro flour and follow Granny Lucia’s methods.
Step 2: Knead the Dough
Lucia then begins to mix and knead the dough until it forms into a smooth dough. At first, the mixture is sticky, but towards the end of kneading the dough should be smooth and easily rolled into a log to be divided.
If the dough is fully incorporated but has a rough, wet consistency it needs to have a bit more flour added to it. Add a tablespoon of flour at a time to the mixture and knead again, checking to see if the texture of the dough smooths out between additions.
Step 3: Divide the Dough
The next step is to roll the large smooth ball of pasta into a log shape and divide it. Granny Lucia divides hers into 5 pieces, then rolls each individual piece into a small ball and sets it aside, allowing it to rest.
Step 4: Roll Out The Dough
Note that Granny Lucia’s work surface allows her plenty of space to work as she rolls out the dough. For your work surface make sure that you have a flat, non-porous surface to roll out the dough.
A large chopping block would work nicely, or if you are in the market for a pasta board specifically created for rolling pasta, like Granny Lucia’s check out this one.
As you can see Granny Lucia begins to roll out the dough. She rolls the dough until it is thin, but not quite see-through. In Italy, this is called “sfoglia”.
She then begins to roll the disc of dough onto her rolling pin.
This might seem strange, and it was certainly a new technique for me to see. But this is where Granny Lucia’s years of pasta making skills come into play.
After the dough is rolled onto the pin, she begins to unfurl it, onto itself, creating thin layers of dough.
This makes it easier to complete the next step in the process.
Step 5: Cutting the Pasta
Lucia then takes the layers of dough that she just created and, with a small, sharp knife, begins to slice strips of pasta. Her assistant, Lina tosses the fresh cut strips with a bit of leftover flour so that they do not stick together.
Usually, when making pasta, the dough is rolled out into a large disc and then either put through a pasta making machine to cut it into strips or the strips are cut by hand out of the disc.
Not using this handy method of layering the dough first.
This is the perfect example of why we need more grannies teaching us to cook!
If at any point during the process you notice that your pasta is beginning to stick to itself or is quite wet and rough instead of smooth, that means it needs more flour.
Keep some extra farro flour on the side just in case you need it and add maybe a tablespoon of flour at a time to get the strips to stay separate.
Step 6: Shaping The Pasta
After cutting the pasta into strips Granny Lucia makes quick work of shaping the pasta.
She lays the strip of pasta flat, holds one edge and then with the other edge she rolls the pasta from the base of her hand up to her fingers, twisting it.
Once the pasta is twisted she folds it in half and presses the ends lightly together. She then sets the pasta aside and moves on to the next piece.
Then she begins to show one of her helpers exactly how to roll the pasta like she did.
After this, her helper, Antonio, tries it on his own.
He nails it on the first try! He is a pasta-making protege for sure!
Also, it’s good to know that if a kid can nail this pasta shape so quickly that you are bound to find similar results.
The best part is, you don’t need any fancy tools or anything. Your hands will make the perfect shape for this pasta.
Step 7: Cook the Sauce & Pasta
Before setting out to cook the pasta and the sauce, Granny Lucia poses with the finished sagnettine pasta and her helpers for the day.
Now, moving on to cooking the sauce.
You want to make the sauce first so that it is ready to mix with the cooked pasta.
This is what Granny Lucia used for her sauce. However, you can make the sauce to your taste with whatever fresh vegetables you’d like.
Chop your vegetables and saute them in olive oil until they are fully cooked and a sauce consistency.
Then, begin to cook your fresh pasta.
Sagnettine is cooked the same way you would go about cooking pasta normally, in boiling salted water.
Do not add olive oil to your boiling water or your pasta will end up coated in it and very slippery. The sauce and cheese and whatever else you put on your pasta will not stick to it if it is coated in olive oil.
The pasta only takes a short time to cook. Cook times take anywhere from 1-3 minutes and should be chewy or al dente when fully cooked.
Be sure to keep an eye on them as fresh pasta is easy to overcook if you aren’t careful.
When the pasta and sauce are finished, toss the pasta into the same pan as the sauce. Mix until the pasta is coated with the sauce.
Step 8: Eat Up!
Now the moment we’ve all been waiting for: eating the pasta!
Granny Lucia serves her fresh sagnettine pasta with freshly grated ricotta salata cheese and basil for garnish.
After watching this short video, you’ll be sure to want to try your hand at making pasta. While it may take some practice to get the perfect result, there will be tons of delicious pasta in the meantime.
What do you think? Will you try to make pasta sagnettine like Granny Lucia?