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Hands On

Sicilian Gnocchi


We have been getting some stunning “Hands On” submissions lately.  This, photo comes from Marisa in Australia who has roots in Sicily and Trieste.  (An interesting life, huh?) Thank you Marisa for sending these photos of Niluzza threading pasta. 

My Siciilian relatives live in Ragusa (south-eastern region of Sicily) and my zia Niluzza makes a lot of pasta in a variety of shapes and sizes, especially when I visit her from Melbourne, Australia.

My relatives in Ragusa make causuneddi (Sicilian) but these gnocchi or gnocchetti shaped pasta (in Italian) are known by different names in other regions of Sicily – gnocculi, gnucchiteddi, cavati, caviateddi (in Sicilian). All have an indentation in the centre to ensure even cooking. Some are rigati (have ridges on the surface) and some are lisci (smooth).

The photographs
The first photograph shows zia Niluzza’s special pasta-shaping device (it looks like a loom). It belonged to her grandmother (my great grandmother) and as you can appreciate it is very unique and rare. Small, fine strips of pasta (40mm) are rolled onto a long fine reed and by rolling the reed on the device, she makes grooves on each piece of dough. The small shapes of pasta are then released – the reed, allows them to slide off easily.

In the second photograph you meet some of the members from different generations of the same family. Life still seems to be the same in Sicily when it comes to doing things together and usually all of the women and children contribute to the shaping of pasta. My relatives make these very quickly and I am always embarrassed when I offer to help because even the youngest members of the family shape them faster than I can. It is just practice.

Check out Marisa’s blog http://allthingssicilianandmore.blogspot.com/

Thank you Marisa!

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