Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Brazilian Pasta?

Days before the World Cup kick off in Brazil, a trio of Brazilian students took over AK's Kitchen, kicking off a new tradition right here. Pasta Sunday!

Bella, Bruno, Vittoria all in red.

Pasta is not the first thing I think of when I hear Brazil. But the South American country is home to millions of Brazilians of Italian ancestry, including the two young ladies in red. 

Bella, Vittoria and their fellow Brazilian Bruno are winding down a semester in Ottawa learning English, soaking in all things Canadian. I introduced you to Bella a few weeks back in this post. The youngest of the teen trio is Vittoria. She's travelled the world. She speaks, reads and writes Portugese, English, Spanish, Italian. She's all of 14 years old. Back home in Curitiba, one of the host cities to the World Cup, she and her mom make pasta every Sunday. Here's her family's recipe and pasta-making technique.

Vittoria's Pasta 
For 1 person: 1 egg + 50 grams durum semolina + 50 grams flour.
Fifty grams is the equivalent of one third cup. 
For 6 people: 6 eggs + 2 cups durum semolina + 2 cups flour

Preparing the dough
In a large bowl, combine the flours.
On a smooth, clean surface, pour the flours in a mound.
Dig a well in the centre. It will resemble a big donut.  
Add the eggs into the well.
With your fingers, stir the flour into the eggs. 
In a few minutes, the mixture will form a blob.
Knead for a few minutes until the dough is smooth. 
It was a humid day and the dough was sticky, so Vittoria sprinkled more flour to loosen the dough.
Divide the dough into portions, somewhere between the size of a soccer ball and a softball.
Let the dough sit for about half an hour.

Using the Pasta Maker
Flatten the dough with your hand and pass it through the pasta machine on its widest setting. 
Fold the dough in half or in thirds and pass it through again. 
Vittoria fed each batch into the rollers of the machine four times to achieve the right thinness and smoothness. Each pass through made the dough longer, thinner and smoother.
For the final pass through, she cut the dough into noodles.   
Separate each piece of pasta and let dry for a few minutes. 

Separating and drying the cut pasta to prevent sticking. 
No pasta machine, no worries
If you don't have a pasta machine, flatten the dough with a rolling pin that's been well-dusted with flour. Let the dough dry out for a few minutes, to make it easier to cut.
Slice into thin strips with a sharp knife. Don't worry if the strips aren't perfect. Vittoria and her mom do this often, making what's called "Maltagliati," or bad cut. (Everything sounds so much better in Italian.)

Cooking the pasta
Boil a pot of water in a large saucepan.
Place the dry pasta, making sure there is plenty of water and space in the pot, or else the pasta will stick together.
The fresh pasta will be cooked in two minutes.  
Drain and toss with a generous splash of olive oil and a simple tomato sauce.
We had our pasta with tomatoes, fresh basil and smoked mozzarella. 
Buon appetito. Bom apetite.


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