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Oct 24, 2010 07:50 PM

Hand-formed pastas: What am I missing, list-wise?

My favorite kinds of pastas are the hand-formed varieties. Don't get me wrong: My Atlas never leaves the kitchen counter, and we use it 2-3 times per week, but truly, truly...I love the hand formed stuff best.

Here are the types I'm currently making, or learning to make:

Orecchiette - get better at this all the time, as it's probably my favorite pasta.
Gnocchi - have it down with a fork, need a gnocchi board. :)
Strozzapreti - need work, definitely - just don't have that spiffy twist action down. lol.
Croxetti/Corzetti - I've faked this with some success; need to buy or build a croxetti stamp.
Garganelli - these are fun and easy. I like making them against my box grater, for texture.
Cavatelli - haven't made these yet, though I should. I am sort of waiting until I can get the Beebo cavatelli maker, so I can compare the "machine made" kind with the hand made kind.
Pici - I'll be honest, I've had varying levels of success with this and it looks *so darn easy*.
Farfalle - I finally killed my Atlas lasagna cutter making a huge batch of farfalle...this is one of those "in between" shapes for me - half-formed, half-machine. I still make it using a zigzag roller cutter for the edges...just takes a lot longer.

...and various forms of spaetzle, which are *kind of* a noodle, in my head. ;)

Pastas I can't get specifics on:
Trofiette - I can NOT find the flour/water ratios for this, nor can I find decent instructions on how it's made. I found a video on YouTube, but it bears no resemblance to what you buy dried. (lol - the video showed yet another pasta shape to make, though, though I have no idea what to call it.) If you have info, please let me know.
Frusciuddati - I've only HEARD of this one. Can't find a picture or information. It sounds like garganelli, but I'm not sure.

Since I find a new one every few weeks, I know I'm missing tons - what am I missing, here?

I'll save the filled pastas for another list. lol.


P.S. I'm English, Scotch, French, Czechoslovakian, Dutch, Bohemia, Russian, Irish, and American Indian - seems like there should be some Italian in there somewhere, but alas. lol.

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  1. I'm Scotch Irish, German, Russian, English but I'm fortunate to have one aunt and another uncle who married Italians. It's like an Internationa cooking school to grow up in a family like that.
    Trofiette is an egg based pasta dough that is rolled into small orbs (balls) about 3/8 of an inch in diameter (perhaps 1/2 inch but quite small) and then, pressing down on it with the palm of the hand back toward the heel of the hand, it is rolled forward in one smooth motion so that it develops an elongated shape that is pointed at each end. I don't believe there's anything special about the dough formula, just that it's a particular shape. It is cooked like any other fresh pasta and is often served with a pesto.
    Frusciuddati is a stubby little hand rolled cylinder of pasta dough (similar to a Penne pasta) and it is served in much the same way because the cylindrical shape permits the sauce to cover more of the surface area with its tubular construction. I don't know whether they roll it on a floured wooden dowel or how they achieve the shape but I suspect it's done in similar fashion.
    Based on what you've written I'm sure you know (but not everyone will) that pasta names are more about shape than ingredients.
    The only thing I can think of that's missing from your list is hand rolled dumplings. Not pasta, per se, but close in category.

    2 Replies
    1. re: todao

      Yeah, gotcha on the shapes - though some shapes really NEED to be made from, say, all purpose flour and very warm water as opposed to semolina and eggs, just because of they way they're formed.

      When I'm making garganelli, I use a Bic pen :P. You can roll it against a table for smooth cylinders, or against a board like a gnocchi board to give it ridges, more like penne rigate; I use the side of my box grater for a similar sort of effect.

      I'm not sure about frusciuddati - I think if I could see a picture of it, I could figure out how it's made, but I can't even find one in Google images. Perhaps I'll check out the pasta book that Bushwickgirl recommended.

      Trofiette - I have a video making it the way that you described, but most of the pictures I've seen (if you check Google images for Trofiette) it's...twistier or something. Maybe I'll fake it both ways.

      Dumplings - eh, depends on what you mean by a dumpling. I suck at anything requiring leavening. Can't explain it. Bread/biscuits/dumplings/etc....just don't work when I do them. If you're talking stuffed dumplings - yum. I make lots of different kinds of those. That'll be my next "shape" hunt, after I get all my hand formed pasta down. ;)

      1. re: Cady

        I have never made Trofiette myself; but I've seen it done. I think that when the orb is rolled forward the hand is simultaneously closed slightly (to form a void in the palm) so that over the course of the movement the pressure on the center is reduced while the pressure on the ends increases. It's a beautiful art form to watch. Those little Italian nonnas could make them faster than I could count them.

    2. Well, that's a good list; it breaches the surface; there's literally hundreds of pasta shapes, hand formed, extruded, filled, etc, as you know. You needed an Italian grandmother.;-)
      I greatly applaud your efforts, though.

      These are a few I can think of:

      Passatelli, an Italian spaetzle, made of bread crumbs, eggs, parmesan and flavored with nutmeg, Cooked in broth. You may know it.
      Cencioni, a petal shaped, slightly curved pasta with a rough side, good for sauce cling. Think orecchiette type.
      Capunti is a rolled pasta, shaped like a slightly open pea pod.
      Trottole, hand formed rings around a center "stalk" of pasta. Doesn't look easy:
      Mallorredus, Sardinian style gnocchi, thinner with pronounced ridges

      Seems like the Frusciuddati is a short hand rolled cylinder, that's all I know. Probably like garganelli.

      Do you know about this book? Might be up your alley.

      7 Replies
      1. re: bushwickgirl

        Ahhh, mallorredus - should have been on the list - haven't tried making it yet, but had it prepackaged.

        Trottole - pretty sure that's an extruded pasta, like campanelle.

        The other three, I haven't even heard of. **rubs hands together in anticipation** Can't wait. The cencioni looks right up my alley, as orecchiette is probably my favorite pasta.

        I used to have a couple of extruders, then 7-8 years ago, we moved off grid, so I gave them away, along with virtually every other electrified kitchen appliance I owned. Once we got here, I pounded my head against the kitchen counter repeatedly, because I obviously could have run them off the generator. Don't know *what* I was thinking. :P

        The book looks great and I note that frusciuddati is in the index. I'll put it on my Christmas list. Thanks!

        1. re: Cady

          You're welcome, best of luck with your project. Kinda thought maybe Trottole was extruded, but I bet you could make a hand formed version, if you really want to impress people.

          Keep us informed of your progress.

          1. re: bushwickgirl

            Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, came down with a nasty cold.

            Yeah, I need to do a post with pics of all the different hand formed pastas (maybe with links for those I only learned how to build through videos).

            It would definitely be interesting to create something LIKE Trottole. Let me think about that. (Hand formed pastas that are based on extruded forms could be a new art, especially if you're obsessed like I am. lol.)

            Thanks again!


            1. re: Cady

              Photos are always nice and welcome here. I look forward to viewing them.

        2. re: bushwickgirl

          I curious about the passetelli. I haven't seen or made them, but the online videos show a quite stiff dough, that is pressed through holes to make spaetzle like rods. While there was one hand press, and another hand cranked affair, others looked just like the meat grinder attachment to a stand mixer. In all cases the passetelli were pressed onto a dry surface, and then transferred to the boiling liquid.

          I wonder whether a wetter, more spaetzle like dough/batter would work, essentially substituting bread crumbs and grated cheese for the flour, leaving the liquid to dry ratios about the same. Then I could press the batter directly into the pot.

          1. re: paulj

            I've seen references that say you can press it directly into the pot, but I think if you made the breadcrumbs into batter, you'd sort of be losing the character of the dish. Don't get me wrong, might be fabulous (and sounds like less work :P) but it wouldn't exactly be passatelli.

            On the other hand, it sounds like something that would be great fun to experiment with. Since passatelli has as much or more grated cheese as it does bread crumbs, it might be tricky getting it to stay together in the pot. Hmmm, she says, wondering if she has the ingredients around to play with...

            (BTW - if you have a ricer with changeable disks, and have one with large holes, you can use that for passatelli.)

            1. re: Cady

              I sort of tried this, sticking with spaezle proportions, but replacing 2/3 of the flour with breadcrumbs (whole grain) and grated cheese. They cooked fine, but were more tender than my regular spaezle. Also I underestimated the salt, figuring that the cheese would contribute its own. Next time I'll made the dough a bit stiffer.

        3. Hi Julie! I don't know if you still check your comments, but I thought I'd write anyway. My husband has taught several summers in Montepulciano in Tuscany & I've been blessed to accompany him. A friend bought me a "pici" maker. i.e. A simple grooved hand-held dowel for making "pici" pasta. Would you possibly be able to recommend any websites, videos or ANYTHING that could teach me how to form "pici???". THANK YOU AND BEST Wishes. Great piece on Pasta!!

          2 Replies
          1. re: blksatindancer

            Hmm. I've never heard of a pici maker - which doesn't mean it's not some traditional method, I've just never heard of one. Generally, I thought, pici is hand rolled and twisted. You can find lots of videos for that just searching for "pici" on Youtube. I've got lots of stored links, though - I'll see if I can find something that uses a dowel.

            What size is this thing? If I could visualize it, it might be easier to find something that shows you how to use it.

            ETA: Are you thinking of casarecci? It's made on a dowel:

            1. re: blksatindancer

              It turns out Jamie Oliver does something that he calls pici, where the dough is formed around a wooden skewer. The recipe/method is in his Italian cookbook. (There's sort of a comedy version of this recipe on YouTube, but don't think you'll find it very helpful. :P)

              Here's a copy someone posted online. http://freshfromevaskitchen.blogspot....

            2. Here is a good video about making fusilli without an extruder. You can use a #1 knitting needle or piece of wire.


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