Around the World In 80 Plates: Liguria, Italy

Captain Create is Genoa, on the famous Italian Riviera in Liguria learning how to make a pasta shape known as TROFIE. Its a hand-rolled pasta, and a lot of fun to make! Its name comes from a Greek word for “nourishment.” Trofie are almost always served with fresh basil pesto (Captain Create has a recipe for that too!)

There are nearly as many pasta shapes in Italy as there are Italians, and the kind of pasta they make and eat depends on the part of Italy that they live. In the northern regions they often make fresh pasta with flour and water or sometimes eggs, and as you move south the pasta shapes and recipes change. The hot and dry climate of southern Italy makes it easy to make dried pasta with just flour and water, and they use a fun machine called an extruder to make the dried pasta shapes we are used to buying at the store. Central Italy is a meeting point where they sometimes make the egg dough of the north, and sometimes used the dried pasta of the south. The warm climate is also perfect to grow Genovese Basil, the base of the pesto sauce you usually eat with Trofie. Look how pretty that field of basil is!

Making trofie is a great family activity, and you’re going to make a bit of a mess, but its okay! You’ll have time to clean up before dinner is served.

In Italy, this pasta is made using Semolina Flour, which is ground from hard wheat, and gives the pasta a yellow color and a little bit different texture, If you can find semolina flour to use that’s great, but it is not a deal breaker. You can use all purpose flour too and you’ll still get yummy noodles!

Now for the fun part!

On a clean table or countertop or in a mixing bowl, make a mountain of 1 1/2 cups flour, then make the flour into a bowl and add 1/2 tsp salt. Next add a little bit of water to the flour-bowl and start mixing with your hands! Really get in there and knead it. You may use up to a cup of water, and you need to knead until its a smooth ball.

Once your dough is kneaded into a nice ball, let it rest for 15-20 minutes. This gives you time to clean up a bit and to make the basil pesto that is traditionally served with this pasta shape in Liguria. (You can serve this pasta with whatever sauce you’d like to though! Its your meal, so create what you like!

Now that your dough is all rested, its ready for the next step: rolling! First, start a big pot of boiling water with salt in it. Then back to the dough: roll out a big long worm, then cut of little bits about the size of a marble.

Roll out each dough-marble to a little worm shape and let them rest on a tray while you make the next one!

Cook the little Trofie in the boiling water for about 4 minutes, then drain them and while the trofie are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the basil pesto and enjoy!

Let us know how your pasta making adventure goes, and don’t be afraid to have a grown up help you learn about more Italian pasta shapes and recipes!

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