by Melinda Gallo

Local pastificio

I have walked past the pastificio (pasta shop) on via dei Rustici, which is a street off of via dei Neri, many times. When we first moved to our neighborhood, an older man owned it and I bought fresh tortelli from him a couple of times for my suoceri (in-laws). Since it has reopened, I hadn't been there because I rarely by fresh pasta. I don't know why since I generally love it. I kept thinking about going in to buy some fresh pasta, but just didn't feel the push to go in. Then, a friend of mine made lunch and used fresh pasta made by the pastificio, I knew it was time to go in to get some for myself.

Living in Florence :: Local pastificio

Lately I have been buying Kamut pasta out of a desire to eat less wheat. I had seen the cartello (sign) in the window about the Kamut pasta, so I was really intrigued. I know that a package of 500 grams of dry Kamut pasta is usually about 5 Euros, so I wondered how expensive the fresh pasta would be. The sign says it's 7 Euros a kilo, but I do know that if I use about 80 grams of dry pasta, I need about 120 grams of fresh pasta. Still, the price is much lower than I had assumed it would be. I know that when I get Kamut bread, it's at least double the price of regular bread, and difficult to find.

Yesterday, I walked into the pastificio and decided that I wanted to get fresh Kamut pasta. The guy was friendly and took my order. I only had to tell him how much, in weight, and I would be able to choose which type of pasta I wanted: fettuccine, spaghetti, or tagliatelle. The more Italian food you eat, the more you realize how different types of pasta just don't go well with certain sughi (sauces). The guy told me that spaghetti goes with everything, so I thought it'd be a safe bet.

This afternoon, I went in and he prepared the impasto (dough) by rolling in out in a machine. I took a photo of him while the impasto was becoming flatter and longer. Afterwards, he took the impasto and put in into another machine that cut it into the type of pasta that I wanted, spaghetti.

I watched as the pasta slid down the chute and landed on a large piece of waxed paper. When he finished, he took it over to a long wooden table and sprinkled the pasta with Kamut flour to keep it from sticking together.

He said that the cooking time depends a lot on the humidity and the freshness of the pasta. After a couple of minutes in boiling water, I should tenerla d'occhio (keep an eye on it). The worst tragedy at lunch is overcooked pasta.

I carefully carried my package of fresh pasta home and couldn't wait until lunchtime to eat it. I had bought fresh asparagi nostrali (locally grown asparagus) to go with my fresh Kamut pasta.

I might stop buying dry pasta altogether now because my pastificio is right around the corner. I'll have to try their tortelli that they make only on weekends. Fresh pasta can last a few days in the refrigerator, but if I know that I have some, I'll want to cook it and eat it right away. It's really that good.

Share your comments for this blog post on the Living in Florence's Facebook page. Grazie!