Tuscana Pici (pronounced ‘peachy), is a long pasta traditionally handmade using a dough of semolina flour and water. Once the dough is prepared, long strands of rolled and stretched and are roughly the thickness of bucatini. Continue reading
Pepper Jack Caramelle Pasta: There is nothing like a fabulous trip to fabuloso Italy to get The Pasta Maker fired up and inspired to bring you new styles of pasta. Continue reading
Bucatini is a really long strand of macaroni, like a straw. It’s good to keep in mind the ‘straw’ analogy because it’s not suitable for thin sauces. Once that hot sauce is in the hollow, beware of getting burnt as you slurp up your pasta. Continue reading
These are our handmade ‘ditalini‘ pasta, Italian for ‘little thimbles‘. Ditalini pasta is a member of the ‘pastina‘ family and is perfect for baking, boiling or for creating pasta salads. Continue reading
All of our homemade pasta is made with semolina flour which is a legal requirement in Italy. The use of semolina is especially important for making our angel hair pasta as it is one of the finest strands of pasta in the list of long pasta under the heading ‘spaghetti’. Continue reading
Angel hair pasta or ‘Capelli d’angelo’ has been popular in Italy since the 14th century. It is the finest of all the long pastas and because of its fragility, is often coiled into nests to dry. At The Big Dream Factory, we dry our pasta too but you can also order it from The Pasta Maker fresh and in a wide selection of flavours. For example: fresh dill, basil, basil pesto, mixed herbs, spinach and garlic, sun dried tomato and porchini are some of the most popular.
Angel hair pasta can be a bit tricky to prepare whether fresh or previously dried. So here is how to cook our angel hair pasta for the best results every time.
- Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil.
- Add the capelli, stir using a fork to separate and check for doneness within 30 seconds or when the water comes back up to a boil.
- Drain and immediately drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil to avoid it sticking together. Alternatively, add it to your chosen sauce immediately and toss gently to combine.
Every day during the week, we are creating new homemade and fresh pasta for the market. One of the people’s favorite is our angel hair pasta with fresh dill. We enjoy using fresh herbs for many of our pasta flavors because their aroma and taste remain, even after cooking.
Fresh dill is one of the most unexpectedly potent herbs that we use. We first take fresh dill and process it to a purée, in a food processor. It is then added to the dough prior to extrusion.
After each batch of homemade pasta is made, it is dried and we test it to see what improvements, if any, we can make using simple ingredients that we have around the kitchen. Quite often the best way to enjoy our pasta is with a little extra virgin olive oil and some grated Parmesan cheese. However, There is another simple recipe that truly brings out the flavor of our angel hair pasta with fresh dill:
Ingredients for 2 – 3
- 8 oz (250 gr) of The Big Dream Factory’s angel hair pasta with fresh dill
- 3 oz (75 gr) Philadelphia cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 small tomato, diced
- 2 spring onions, chopped finely
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Cook the pasta to al-dente. In the case of our angel hair, it is ready when the water comes back to the boil after having added your pasta.
- Prepare a deep dish with the cheese, tomato and onion.
- Drain the pasta then quickly add it to the other ingredients in the dish turning it carefully to combine. Add some of the pasta water to help loosen the sauce if necessary.
- Serve immediately.
It takes longer for the pan of water to boil and to read this article on how to cook our gluten free pasta than it does to actually cook it.
Our recipe for gluten free pasta came about after years of trying to eat pasta every day, often twice a day, for a number of years. After a while it became necessary to address an overall feeling of un-wellness of a body not used to eating so much gluten.
We didn’t arrive at our recipe overnight, that’s for sure. In fact, we started testing a few recipes for gluten free muffins first. After a great deal of mistakes and generally horrible and inedible offerings that couldn’t be passed off for rocks, let alone muffins, there was finally light at the end of the gluten free muffin-pasta tunnel.
Since those humble beginnings, we have gone on to achieve a gluten free pasta which has passed the Italian sniff ‘n’ taste test (and they can be a rather fussy lot when it comes to their pasta). You can therefore be assured of getting a mighty fine, fresh and homemade gluten free version of pasta here at The Big Dream Factory.
How to cook our gluten free pasta
- Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a rolling boil.
- Add the pasta, stir and check for doneness within a minute.
- Drain and serve with your favourite sauce.
The word spaghetti comes from the Italian word to describe ‘little strings’. These ‘little strings’ are long, rounded and there are a whole host of different sizes in the spaghetti family. Each spaghetti size has its own name and here some of which you may recognise:
Typical of the Tuscan region, pici also referred to as ‘pinci‘, is the thickest of the spaghetti pasta. Around the region of Veneto, you can find a whole wheat version of pici which is called ‘bigoli‘.
We love the stuff here at The Big Dream Factory. The Pasta Maker tells us that it extrudes quickly and easily as well as behaving perfectly when made using our gluten free pasta dough recipe. We create our pici in plain as well as a wide range of natural flavours which can also be added to our whole wheat ‘bigoli’ or gluten free pici.
We have not made spaghettoni yet but believe that it is slightly less thick than pici but thicker that your everyday spaghetti.
Arguably the most popular pasta eaten across Italy and the world. No matter the thickness of your spaghetti, authentic Italian spaghetti is always made with semolina flour and water. In fact, in Italy this is required by law. Therefore, here at The Big Dream Factory, we follow the law (other than our whole wheat and gluten free).
The Pasta Maker tells us that semolina flour is extremely important in making good pasta and especially spaghetti. You need to create a dough with high elasticity. distinction. Semolina is made only from durum wheat which is high in protein and gluten. It’s the gluten that is required to be able to form these long strands of pasta that keep their shape when cooked.
By now you should be seeing a pattern … spaghettini is a little thinner than spaghetti but not as thin as our next member of the spaghetti family.
Many of the long pasta are often designated by number rather than name. For example, number 12 is spaghetti, spaghettini is number 11 and fedelini is number 10. We agree with The Pasta Maker that numbering pasta denudes its immense history and here at The Big Dream Factory we will call all of our pasta by their righful names (even if we do get it wrong from time to time).
Fedelini means ‘the faithful ones’ possibly due to the wide range of dishes that it is used for. From Genoa, to Rome, to Naples, Fedelini is broken into broths, served with very simple sauces or with butter, oil and herbs. In Naples, it is especially popular baked as a pie!
Vermicelloni or ‘thick little worms’, originates in Pulgia and is in fact a traditional shape from southern Italy where it is traditionally broken into simple soups like ‘pesce fuggito’. When pasta is cooked in this way, it takes on the flavour of the soup.
As you make your way through the list of spaghetti you are learning one of the most beautiful languages in the world. In fact many of these pasta names date back centuries. Take this edict issued by the Count of Ripa Cursia, Viceroy of the kingdom of Naples on January 25th, 1509:
“When the price of flour rises because of war, or famine or bad weather by five carlini or more per tomolo, taralli, susamelli, ceppule, maccarune, trii, vermicelli or other things of pasta must not be made except in case of need for the sick.”
Capellini means ‘fine hair’ and is perfect broken into broths and minestrone. Interestingly, it wasn’t until the invention of pasta machines that pasta as fine as capellini could be produced.
Capelli d’Angelo we know around the world as ‘angel hair’. It is the most delicate of all the pasta we make and cooks very quickly. The Pasta Maker creates a range of naturally flavoured angel hair including, fresh dill, basil and basil pesto. If you have a favourite flavour you would like The Pasta Maker to create for you, simply ask.
We hope you enjoyed your stroll through Italy with the spaghetti family. As we begin to expand our product line and The Pasta Maker knuckles down to making a more full range of spaghetti, we will share those photographs with you here and on our Facebook page. Unless of course you have a few of your own you would like to share with us …