I feel like there is a lot of pressure for all grandmas to have an overflowing recipe book and an apron that somehow never gets dirty. My Gran fits this description quite well and with a never ending supply of shortbread seems to keep all of us grandchildren very happy. On arriving in Italy all I wanted was to be part of a dinner party where Nonna was whipping up an italian feast in the kitchen. I have since been part of many of these dinners, beginning my Italian adventure living with an elderly woman named Tina who spoke no english and communicated to me by pointing at the TV. She loved feeding me and I loved to eat, food seemed to be our most common ground. Grandmas know how to talk through their food.
Walking into the kitchen at il Cicciolo D’oro I realized that I had walked into one of my comfort zones, a grandmas kitchen. I became a little emotional to see a team of Nonnas working in a production line making pasta and having a chinwag. There were trays of pasta, lots of giggling and not a dirty apron in sight. As we eased ourselves into the room they invited us over and immediately began to hand out fillings for us to try. Cappelletti and tortellini, (types of ravioli – pasta of the Emilia region) lined the table and just kept appearing – I’m sure that these Nonnas could make these in their sleep. Spinach filling, pumpkin filling and a meat filling were alternated between the batches of dough flying their way. Not one moment of stress, not even when 27 students pointed their camera lens’ inside each of their personal bubbles. They were just happy to see that we were all generally excited to be there. After telling me the names and ages of all her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, one of the nonnas told me that for their local town festivals they make all the pasta, 302kilos of it! Saying this with a smile I could only imagine what the front of my apron would look like let alone my state of mind… I’m sure there would be many a cappelletto injured during a some sort of cultural disagreement.
Back inside the farmhouse we were seated in someones living room at tables with red checkered tablecloths. Plates of pasta arrived straight from the kitchen where we had just seen these lovely women working. Pumpkin and spinach fillings, one cooked in butter and the other in ragu, mmm… and best of all, everything cooked by a friendly team of grandmas.
Seconds was not needed but it was had. After watching these women make this pasta we were not going to leave one piece behind. A plate of moorish ravioli cooked by a team of happy nonne, the perfect lunch and a fantastic day.