When I said I wanted to gain ten pounds on pasta in Italy, I didn’t actually want the lbs to produce a double chin in my last pictures from the trip (which is inconveniently in the Amalfi Coast, where I only wear bathing suits). But here I am at week six in carb country and I’m 6 pounds heavier than when I left the States. I’m just about pasta-ed out, but before heading out of the country, the Jet Set Italy crew wanted to learn the secret to making chewy spindles of pasta so we can star at future dinner parties. If I’m going to be chubby, I’m bringing you all down with me.
Originally we pictured ourselves rolling dough with an Italian Grandma but when we couldn’t find a nana to indulge us the ACLE team hooked us up with an insider tour of the oldest pasta factory in Italy. The family-run factory opened in 1812 and since then Luigi Vicidomini – the 6th generation owner who gave us a tour — and his family have been working daily to make 200 varieties of pasta ranging from traditional rigatoni to pepper-infused spaghetti. They haven’t updated their machines since 1945, when the family opened a new store in its current location near our apartment in Salerno.
The machine adds water to the flour (called Semola) and then presses the pasta through a ceramic mold that shapes the dough; a conveyor belt carries the wet pasta to the drying racks; long pasta hangs to dry for 2-3 days; cheers to our tour guide who gave us pasta and tea after the tour. I love this country.
Perrin and I sampled fresh dough straight off the machine rack and it was already delicious. Luigi gave us a bag full of samples to take home with us so we could share the goods with Courtney and Lynne later that evening when we all reunited in the Amalfi Coast. We chose the pasta shaped like hearts, chefs hats and — of course — penises. Yes, that’s right. Our tour guide somehow managed to squeeze in a 5th grade sex ed lesson in our tour.