I am determined: One day, I will invent a new pasta shape. As an intermediate step, I have created an innovative variation of an existing pasta shape called fainelle. I decided to give my pasta a different name, because it is made quite differently from the inspiring one (see details below).1
According to my source, the "Encyclopedia of Pasta" by Oretta Zanini De Vita, fainelle are typical of Foggia (Puglia). The word fainella in dialect refers to the fruit of the carrob tree (in Italian, carruba), to which the pasta shape resembles. I was not able to find a reference to it outside of the page in Zanini De Vita's book, so the idea I have is based on the drawing and the text on that page.
Fainelle belong to the strascinati family of pasta shapes and are made with a sferre: "A typical knife of Puglia used to make many types of pasta. It has no handle, so it can also be used horizontally to make long strascinati." To approximate the shape, I decided to roll the dough with one of the pieces of dowel I had purchased during my experiments to make garganelli. I realized that using a mini rolling pin meant my pasta would not be a type of strascinato. (A sferre is now officially on my wish list.)
The result reminded me of a patch made of cloth, in Italian pezza. I made a couple of pezze and then the presence on my working surface of my gnocchi board gave me the idea of rolling the pieces of pasta dough on it to get a ridged surface and pezze rigate were born.
Then I thought about a variation: instead of placing the cylinder of dough parallel to the board grooves, I placed it a bit angled and as a result the ridges on the surface of the pezza came out oblique.
You can see my hands at work on both versions in this short video:
Based on Zanini De Vita's description of the flours used for this pasta shape, I decided to make a blend of whole-wheat flour and semolina flour. I could have used farina di grano arso, also mentioned in the book, but I wanted to vary.
I am reading a cookbook for an upcoming review that is all about using flowers in the kitchen. I had some calendulas (calendule) I had obtained to make one of the book's recipes and I added some of their petals (petali) to the pasta dough.
Pezze rigate are probably not the best choice to show off the use of flowers in the kitchen, but it was an interesting experiment and I will certainly work more on the idea.
Ingredients for the pasta:
- EITHER 25 g / 1 oz. stone-ground whole-wheat flour + 75 g / 2.5 oz. semolina flour of good quality
- OR 100 g / 3.5 oz. semolina flour of good quality
- 50 g / 1.75 oz. warm water (I recommend weighing the water)
- A pinch of salt
How to make the dough and shape pezze rigate
Make a dough with the pasta ingredients and knead until nice and smooth. Let the dough rest, well wrapped to avoid drying, for half an hour or so.
Shape the dough into a thick roll, then cut it into 5-6 pieces and shape each one into a roll about 3/8 inch (1 cm) in diameter. Cut each roll into approximately 1 1/2-inch (4 cm) long pieces, then place each cylinder on the gnocchi board with the long sides either parallel to the board's grooves or slightly angled. Run the mini rolling pin — a piece of dowel of 3/8 inch (1 cm) or 1/2 inch (1.25 cm) in diameter — over the piece of dough 2-3 times to thin it and "stamp" it. The resulting pezza rigata will be about 2 inches long. Lay out to dry ridged side up on a surface lightly dusted with flour.
Repeat with the other pieces of dough. Lightly dust the gnocchi board as needed to prevent the dough from sticking too tightly when you roll it.
Cook the pasta
Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil, then toss the pezze rigate in it (what in Italian we call: buttare giù la pasta). The time needed to cook is a bit variable, depending on the size of pezze, how dry they are, etc. Taste and stop the cooking when the pasta is ready. Pour a glass of cold water in the pot, stir and drain the pezze.
Place in a bowl, distribute some sugo di pomodoro (tomato sauce), reheated if necessary, and toss. Finally, sprinkle some Parmigiano-Reggiano on top and serve immediately.
Alternatively, while the pasta is cooking, place a few tablespoons of the tomato sauce in a small skillet and warm it up. Drain the pasta and drop it into the skillet with the sauce. Stir well over medium-low heat for a minute. Sprinkle some of the cheese and stir one last time. Plate and sprinkle a bit more cheese on the top. Serve immediately.
The recipe makes two small portions (served as Italian first course).
I will add this recipe to my growing collection of pasta shapes. Please, do let me know if you try your hand at making any of them.
1 If you are aware of another pasta shape that is similar to (or the same as) what I made, please let me know.
This is my contribution to the current edition of Pasta Please, a new pasta-centric event created by Jacqueline of Tinned Tomatoes and hosted this month by Simona of briciole. The theme this month is: homemade pasta.
You have until May 28 to link to your contribution in this post.
The top photo is my second contribution to edition #84 of Black and White Wednesday - A Culinary Photography Event created by Susan of The Well-Seasoned Cook, now organized by Cinzia of Cindystar, and hosted this week by Simona of briciole.
The photo was shot in color and then converted to black and white (Lightroom preset Split Tone 1).
On this page, you can find out who is hosting the current and future editions of the event.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the pezze rigate audio file [mp3].
[Depending on your set-up, the audio file will be played within the browser or by your mp3 player application. Please, contact me if you encounter any problems.]