Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Day 15 - My Pasta lesson with Wilma in La Tavernelle...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Pasta Fresca is the name of Wilma’s shop in Tavernelle di Pesa, a small town in the province of Florence, between Florence and Siena, in the heart of Tuscany.  She has been selling pasta here for approximately 16 years.
She has many different kinds of hand-made pasta: gnocchi, stuffed ravioli, tagliatelle, spaghetti, pici, cannelloni and so much more.

I arrived at 10:30 for my lesson and Wilma and Caterina (she helps Vilma and spoke English very well) both welcomed me – sent me to the sink to wash my hands, and handed me an apron. It was a very happy little shop with many customers stopping by to pick up their pasta which came in all shapes and sizes –the pasta not the customers!

Waiting for me were 4 eggs sitting in a mound of flour. 

We began by making a well in the center of the mound and cracking the eggs in the middle of it. We then started mixing the flour in with the eggs (slowly bringing more flour into the center) until we had a good pasta dough. We ran the pieces through a simple pasta machine and then cut by hand the  various shapes of pasta.

We had a couple of fillings to make stuffed ravioli and because I wanted to learn to make penne, Wilma cut some pasta in little squares and we rolled the pasta around a tinly little stick...hand rolled penne!  We even made spaghetti  alla chitarra.   A traditional instrument for cutting fresh pasta sheets, the chitarra (KEY-tarra) has ancient origins in the Abruzzo region of Italy. Master handcrafters from Pretoro hand-string two sets of zinc-coated steel wires on the varnished ashwood box. One side yields evenly cut fettuccine, and the opposite side, delicate angel hair. And the faithful mate to the chitarra is the rolling pin that helps flatten the dough and then press and cut it through the wires. We had a lot of fun!
Wilma said everything tastes better when it is made with love.  She said it in Italian and it sounded even better.
Dan showed up just in time for my graduation ceremony. He took a picture of me getting my diploma and Wilma presented me with my pasta beautifully wrapped to take home to La Foresta.

The whole experience was about 1.5 hours and was definitely worth the 30 Euros. There is one night a week during the summer when the streets are closed off and the restaurants serve dinner outside.  Wilma offers a dinner for 15 Euros.

I was very excited to try out my new pasta making skills at home. I guess I was maybe too excited, because after travelling almost all the way  back to La Foresta, I realized I had left my camera in La Tavernelle and we had to drive back there....ooops. sorry Dan....

We grabbed a sandwich on the way home, relaxed a little then set off along the back roads to San G. While I was at the pasta class, Dan had driven over there to find the perfect place to photograph the city at dusk. He had set the coordinates on “Higgins” which made it easy to identify the spot when we went back.
Unfortunately the wind was blowing pretty hard up there and  a storm was heading our way. He did get a few shots when the sun peeked through.

When we arrived back at La Foresta, everyone was gathered  around a big table in the courtyard and Lucia served her wine, panzanella, olive oil and tiramisu.
Most of the guests were leaving the next morning so we all said our good-byes and  toasted  to a great vacation in Italy...but we actually have one more night in Florence before we leave on Sunday and a date with David at the Galleria Academia at 11:45 tomorrow morning. I know he will be waiting for me (naked) in the hall...ok not just me – millions of people.  I better go to sleep now....

Buona notte...

1 comment:

Irene said...

Looks like this was such a great experience! Pasta and Italy are a great pair!:-)


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