My Nonna told me she learnt to cook whilst working as an aupair for a well-to-do family in Tuscany. If I remember correctly, I think they may have been some of the famous Medici family. All I know for sure is, that man, could she cook!
I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with Nonna watching her knead and roll out pasta. The kitchen always full of the most delicious aromas of sugo slow-cooking on the stove. She was particular about the ingredients - they were always fresh. The only thing she did add out of a jar was tomato paste but she insisted that it had to be Leggos! Driving through the Queensland countryside outside of Brisbane she would often exclaim in half Italian, half English, “Bella pezza de topside!”, as we drove past a delicious looking cow!
Christmas Day was a family affair – all hands were on deck to prepare the family feast. It was the special occasion or celebration pasta – Ravioli. The filling had been prepared the night before – veal, pork, chicken, silverbeet cooked and then minced through the hand powered mincer. Mixed with a little ricotta, regianno and pecorino cheese we’d sneak a few spoonfuls as we rolled, filled and cut out the ravioli. Sugo again slow-cooking on the stove.
Bree and I have kept the tradition of making ravioli at least once a year with our kids. It has become our Easter Sunday feast rather than Christmas. The Easter Long Weekend allows us the preparation time associated with this ultimate slow food experience that can be difficult in the fast-paced world we live in.
Every time we make fresh pasta at home the whole family agrees that it has been as good for the soul as it has for our tastebuds.