Recently we have had the pleasure of getting to know a lovely Italian family who live in Italy, although Santo originates from Sicily. They have a large family with two grown up sons, Ivano and Jordan, three daughters, two of them are in their teens, Miriam and Sharon, and then there is the piccolina Ysabel who is just 5.
We thought it would be a good opportunity for Shannon and Niamh to meet Anna, Santo and their girls. Shannon had studied Italian for a couple of years when she was at school, so has some knowledge of the language, although perhaps a little rusty.
Anna, Santo and their daughters popped in to see us one afternoon so that they could meet the Shannon, Alison and Niamh. Anna speaks English fairly well, and Miriam and Sharon are also keen students and would like to develop their language skills.
Niamh, Alison, Shannon, Anna, Santo Miriam, Ysabel, Aneurin and Max
Anna invited us to their home in Itri for “afternoon tea” which was lovely. Anna then said she would like to teach us how to make pasta and so we organised a date, time and the venue, which was to be Tre Cancelle. Sadly Alison wasn’t going to be able to take part in this, as her two week holiday had just about come to and end and before long she was winging her way back home.
On the designated afternoon Santo, Anna and the girls arrived and Anna was keen to get started. Sharon and Miriam started to prepare the meatballs and the tomato sugo, in which they were to be cooked.
To make the pasta Anna used 2 kilos of Italian 00 type flour, also known as farina di grano tenero, and 12 eggs.
(I would just like to point out that this made a huge quantity, so perhaps it would be better to at least halve the quantity).
I thought Anna would use an electric mixer to blend the pasta mixture, but no !!! Anna stated that it was better to get your hands in there, so as to be able to feel the consistency of the dough.
At first it became a sticky mess !!!
However, as they continued working the dough by kneading and stretching the mixture it gradually began to come together and eventually form a smooth soft ball.
Then this was left to rest for a little while. Anna had brought along her manually operated pasta machine. I have one too, however I must admit it sits right at the back of one of my kitchen cupboards, and to my shame I have only used it once.
The dough was then divided up into small lumps.
Little Ysabel wanted to help too.
The rollers of the pasta machine had been set to the thickest setting. One by one the lumps of pasta dough were coaxed into the machine’s roller mechanism. Then as the handle was turned it began to churn out strips of pasta.
This was just the first rolling.
The strips were then laid out on a clean surface to dry for a few minutes.
The pasta roller mechanism was then adjusted to a slightly thinner setting and the pasta strips were once again fed into the machine, which duly churned out slightly longer and thinner strips of pasta.
Once again the pasta had to be laid out on a clean surface to dry for a few minutes. We were running out of space in our kitchen !!!
The roller was adjusted once more and the pasta rolled out.
Now …. Was the pasta thin enough?
No, Anna thought it needed one more rolling !!!
“Che pazienza !!!”
Finally the sheets of pasta were of the right thickness. So the next step was to feed the strips through a different set of rollers which had a cutting attachment that had been adjusted to make tagliatelle.
Brava Anna !!!
Mamma Mia !!! Pasta Galore !!! Tante tagliatelle !!!
The tagliatelle were left to dry out a little. We had made such a large quantity that we bagged some up to put in the freezer.
A huge saucepan was put on the gas hob and filled with water. A little salt was added. Once the water was bubbling the tagliatelle were added a little at a time. This freshly made pasta only needed a few minutes to cook and then the pasta was drained in a colander.
The meatballs were removed from the rich tomato sugo.
The sauce was added to the drained tagliatelle
and the pasta tossed so that all of it was evenly coated.
The meatballs and a little extra sugo were served on top with of course
a generous sprinkling of parmeggiano.
Buon Appetito !!! Mangia !!!
We all ate “al fresco” out on the terrace.
Niamh, Shannon and Anna
Niamh, Shannon and Anna
Miriam, Santo, Sharon,
Niamh, Shannon and Anna
Thank you to Anna, Santo and their girls for sharing this fun packed afternoon and evening with us.
It was such a wonderful experience for us all.
Some of the other things that Shannon, Niamh and Alison achieived / enjoyed during their stay here at Tre Cancelle included:
Helping Paul to re-build a dry stone wall, helping to prepare the apartments for guests, helping me (Louise) with some jewellery making, a trip to the beach at Sant’Agostino, wandering around the local markets of Gaeta and Fondi, sunbathing and cooling off in the swimming pool, and of course sampling ice-cream.
The girls are real animal lovers and have numerous pets at home.
They also helped out with the horses
which were proving to be ardent escapologists.
Paul has been feeding a stray cat for several months now, a big white fluffy thing and just recently, during the girls’ stay, two more cats have turned up here, The girls have named them “Starla” and “Chester” and we’ve also caught a fleeting glance of a little kitten.
Shannon and Niamh also helped to bath the dogs, and generally spoiled them by giving them lots of treats, fuss and attention ……
….. especially Max.
Sorry Paul, I just had to sneak this picture in !!!
Just to say “Thank You” girls for all your help,
your great company and for sharing with us your fun and laughter !!!
Niamh is to return to Tre Cancelle
soon with her parents and other sisters Caitlin and Bethan.
Soon after getting back to the UK,
Shannon and Alison attended their graduation ceremony
and they are both about to start their new jobs.
Well done girls and good luck with your future careers !!!