“Ma, certo! Si!”, cried Signora Lalla, a home cooking teacher in Arezzo, a Tuscan town south of Florence.
Lapsing into some rare English, she explained that since the economic crisis people are trying to save money and going back to their roots by making their own pasta.
It makes sense and fits with our happy idea of La Dolce Vita, land of the good life, the long lunch and nonnas with rolling pins. Add lashings of Chianti Classico and you’re all set. It’s the Italy of our dreams and the image has launched a thousand pasta sauce labels.
But is it real? Non, says Monica, a thirty-something teacher in the same town of Arezzo. She makes her own pasta around once a year because it’s too time-consuming. But pizza on the other hand, she makes once a week, because it’s easy and quick and she can pretty much do it on autopilot.
Signora Lalla got us rolling, kneading and stretching our own pasta, and although it was time-consuming and tricky, it was the hands-down best pasta I have ever tasted. But if it wasn’t for the slightly scary Signora Lalla (and her carrot and stick lesson plan of Prosecco and rolling pin) I would never have made it.
But now that I’m back home, I’m going to go with Monica and buy my own pasta from the supermarket – maybe it’s more Italian!