Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Making Pasta with Rosie!

I am very fortunate to have wonderful next door neighbors. When I first bought my house, Rosie was first to say hello. Over the years I have lived here, I have reveled in the beauty of her garden, admired her exquisitely crocheted Christmas ornaments, delighted in the joy of her grandchildren during their annual Easter Egg hunt in the garden and enjoyed her authentic Italian cooking.

And when I say authentic, I mean it! For Rosie came to America from Calabria in the southern "boot" of Italy when she married Frank years ago. So, when Rick asked Rosie if he could have a lesson in pasta making, she was only to happy to oblige!

The lesson happened to coincide with the visit of Giorgio Mirto, a classical guitarist from Torino in northern Italy, who was performing concerts in America and staying with Rick while in Michigan. The timing was perfect, because Giorgio could speak a little Italian during his visit -- something he couldn't do with Rick and me!

We gathered around Rosie's table. She has a portable board she uses when making pasta to both give her room for the rolling (no pasta machine here!) and make clean-up easier. All this begins with flour on the board. Maybe a cup. All of her measurements are by eye -- until it feels right! A little salt goes into the pile and then she makes a "well" in the middle, into which she places an egg.

Then it's mixing by hand, adding water a bit at a time as she goes along.

I have to say, this reminded me of making flour paste as a kid. It isn't neat and your hands aren't either!

But eventually, the mixture comes together and she begins to knead it as you would bread, adding flour as necessary. It becomes very dough-like and smooth.

Then comes the rolling. Using a dowel about the size of a broomstick -- no larger -- she rolls the pasta into a very thin layer -- thinner than the thinnest sugar cookie recipe. (Do you get the word "thin" here?!)

When the pasta is smooth and as thin as it can be, Rosie rolled it gently over her "rolling pin," much as you would roll a pie crust over a rolling pin and unroll it on a pie tin.


Then she slides the dowel out, so that there is a long, thin "snake" of dough. (If the dough is too wet, it will stick to the dowel and needs more flour and re-rolling.)

Using a sharp knife, she cut very thin strips from the roll.

And voila! Pasta!

Now, you might think that we would simply have pasta for dinner after all that. You would be wrong! Rosie and Frank make their on soprosetta and proscuito and other sausages.

So, we not only had Rosie's homemade pasta with sauce, but a selection of cheese and meats.

This was followed by a mushroom and beef dish, Frank's very good homemade wine, a cherry liqueur, fruit and nuts and a fabulous lemon cake! And Rick's bread!

Did I mention the wine? It was flowing! Giorgio checked it out!

And then was kind enough to share with the rest of us!

It isn't often that I sit down for a dinner and find it hard to leave the table!But this time it was difficult on so many levels. Not only was it a fabulous dinner, prepared in the kitchen by hand and with love...

...but the company was so delightful I didn't want the evening to end. So now I'm wondering -- when will Rick start making his own pasta too?

Soon, I hope!

Linking this post to Share Your Cup, Share Your Style, and Monday Social.


  1. Fantastic photos of such a fun experience!

    My great-grandmother (who died long before I was born) made noodles every week. My mother always told us how, as a rather small child, she once asked to help, so her grandmother let her cut one noodle. It was crooked. The next day it appeared in my mother's soup bowl. And she got the message: stay out of the kitchen, it belongs to the grandmother. She really didn't learn to cook until she got married and had her own kitchen.

    best... mae at

  2. What a lovely evening. :-)

    Thank you so much for sharing it with us. :-)

  3. I so wish Rosie lived next door to me! What a wonderful evening you had. I remember my grandma making pasta this way when I was a little girl. Thanks for sharing the photos, and for the memories. Hugs, Valerie

  4. What a wonderful neighbor to have!

    I've never made home made pasta, but this post has made me want to. I can imagine how delicious everything must have been, and what fun you all must have had.

  5. Wow....that would be so awesome to sit and watch her make pasta, talking in her native tongue! I love stuff like that and I love to learn all that they can share. She sounds like a very special woman. And if she cooks like that, I know now why hubby married her!! lol

  6. oh what a treat! I don't know if I've ever had real homemade pasta and homemade sausages, wow! I used to make pasta with a machine but I'm sure it wouldn't compare...lucky you!

  7. Once I had the pleasure of learning to make traditional Croatian Xmas desserts in a friend's aunts (2 sisters) home..

    the 2 sisters showed us how it was was not of interest to my friend to bake it was to me..but she enjoyed it..they were her relatives and she was so nice to arrange it..
    I loved every moment..Jacques made me a board like the aunts when I came home..we have had it ever since..he made one for my friend..but I doubt she has changed..she moved etc..

    they had a smoke house in the back and served us smoked cured meats after we amazing I totally get this..totally..

    What lovely lovely neighbours..
    I have made pasta w/ a machine and w/out..but it seems I make it every few yrs..I am not great at it..just love the process..

  8. What a WONDERFUL post . . .
    Loved Rosie . . . and her pasta making process.
    And Frank adding his touches to the Italian night . . . yum . .
    And you telling the story . . . I love reading you . . ,
    Was there some guitar music in the evening too . . .
    I'm hoping Rick takes up the wand of pasta making . . .
    This was just wonderful Jeanie . . .

  9. Looks like a fabulouso evening! I bet the house smelled yummy too. I think Rosie hit the jackpot when she got you as a neigbor. Have a great week, Jeanie.

  10. Wow, homemade pasta! How special of Rosie to come over and teach Rick lessons on making pasta! I've always wanted to see it being done, so thanks for the step-by-step visual, Jeanie. The food looks delicious.


  11. Oh my, but that sounds amazing! How I would love sitting at that table over pasta and lemon cake too. Plus, Rick's bread too!

  12. I made pasta years ago - until my 8 year old daughter told me Stouffer's lasagna was better than mine.

  13. What a treasure of a neighbour Rosie is. And she looks like she enjoyed it just as much as her audience.

  14. I have a pasta maker and have never used it. After reading this I just might try it out!

  15. I really enjoyed this post! What a great experience. I've never had homemade pasta before (not an ounce of Italian heritage on either side of my family). It' so wondeful that you have such nice neighbours. -Jenn

  16. I have a friend that comes over once in a while and makes pasta and it is really good. Looks like you had a wonderful dinner and all the goodies that went with it. Made me hungry. I love pasta, but I would be big as a house if I ate it all the time.

    Thanks so much for sharing - they look like wonderful friends.


  17. This is exactly how my grandmother made her noodles, right down to the egg in the center of the flour. Amazing how egg noodles and pasta are made exactly the same way. I remember the noodles had to dry, though, after they had been cut. Apparently not so with the pasta. Thanks for sharing these moments that brought back memories of my childhood. I can tell you had a wonderful meal and time spent with these lovely neighbors and friends.

  18. Yummy!!! Rosie obviously knows what she's doing. Homemade pasta and more ... I'm getting hungry over here. The dinner must have been delicious.
    xo Julia

  19. Wow. This looks like fun! Even better with your Italian guest. It was perfect timing. She really cuts those noodles evenly. :) Looks like you had a delicious dinner and a good time. Hugs-Erika

  20. Oh my gosh, Rosie is adorable! I can just see her Italian personality coming through these pictures! I bet she is a blast to be around. And I am sure she loved teaching you how to make a dish from her homeland! What a fun evening - I can see why you didn't want it to end!

    I would like to try to make pasta at some point. One of my favorite restaurants in Minneapolis (the one we went to the night we got engaged) makes their own GF pasta and they said it's really just gf flour, salt, and water. I will have to try to make some at some point!!

  21. Jeanie, what a wonderful experience with your sweet neighbor. I love Italian food and can only imagine how fabulous the food and hospitality were. Buon Appetito!!

  22. Oh my goodness, Jeanie. What a remarkably unforgettable cultural and social experience! Ciao!

  23. Sounds like a wonderful evening. No wonder you were reluctant to let it come to an end!

  24. Oh my gosh. Homemade pasta. How wondrous.
    What a great time.

  25. I so enjoyed meeting Rosie, she is a lovely lady! And, you certainly lucked out getting her for a neighbor. I love this tutorial, how interesting. Can you imagine rolling out dough so thin and so big an not have it stick to the pin or tear. A lifetime of practice makes perfect. I can almost taste the wonderful dinner she prepared for you. Lucky Rick had his Italian friend there. I'm sure it was a lovely evening Jeanie, thanks for sharing it...........

  26. Rosie's other ingredients that she may not have mentioned in preparing her pasta are definitely joy and passion...what a fabulous meal...I am so, so hungry now! :)

  27. How lucky for you to have such wonderful neighbors! And everything homemade, too. That's the beautiful part.

    I remember watching my grandma make noodles and it was much the same process but at the end of the cutting she would take a broom handle, balance it between two chairs, cover it with clean cloth and drape the noodles over it to dry them. She made the best chicken and noodles!

  28. OH YEAH!!!!!! Italian food is my ultimate favorite cuisine. And by a real deal Italian, what a FEAST!!!! Jeanie, you look so happy. HUGS!

  29. Perfect pasta making - how special!
    Wren x

  30. When I was a kid, church suppers often involved chicken and homemade noodles over mashed potatoes. Don't laugh -- it was delicious. And, it gave me a life-long taste for fresh pasta. This is such a neat post about a special evening. It must have been more than wonderful -- and lemon cake at the end? Perfection!

    Tell Rick that practice makes perfect, and he should begin practicing very soon!

  31. What a fun post!-- I loved it. Sure looks like delicious and authentic recipe sharing there. How could you not enjoy an evening like this? I wouldve had seconds, maybe even thirds! ha ha ha LOL

  32. I could just cry... This looked like such a beautiful time. :) Sooo much FUN... and such WONDERFUL food! Homemade pasta is just sooo, sooo good. VERY interesting the thin rolling pin Rosie uses. Yes, Rick should take to making some pasta... to go along with all his good bread! ;) I've made pasta a couple of time, when we had a pasta machine (we gave it up when we moved maaany years back.) I've never made it all from hand though, like this... Probably one of those things where practice makes perfect! ;) ((HUGS)) P.S. The list is up at my place for the Springtime Mail Exchange.

  33. Okay, it's decided. I want you to be my neighbor on one side and Rosie on the other. Rosie reminds me of my wonderful friend Nona who died a few years ago. Nona was Italian, and married an American soldier, and moved to America after WWII. We enjoyed many evenings at her house just like this one. Gosh, this post made me miss her. It's easy to see from the pictures and your words how wonderful and comfortable your evening was. There is nothing in the world like good friends and good food.

  34. Thank you for sharing your fun evening at Monday Social. This is definitely the closest I've ever come to making homemade pasta. Everything looks delicious.

  35. That must have been quite a fun evening for you all. Watching someone make the pasta from scratch with no machines. What an experience that is. It is because in the old world people still find pleasure in making things from scratch. There is a sense of purpose and fulfilment in this.

  36. A wonderful experience with perfect neighbours. When the Italians in my family demonstrate pasta and sausage making and the curing of meats, the processes look and sound easy, which, unfortunately they aren't (for me). Perhaps it's my absence of Italian DNA which causes it to be so challenging?

  37. How fabulous to have an authentic Italian teaching you how to make pasta! I make homemade noodles, and they are yummy; but not authentic for sure. :) I follow the recipe in the Betty Crocker cook book. We love them in homemade chicken noodle soup. Your entire meal looked delicious! What a lovely neighbor!! Thanks for sharing with SYC.


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