Today we went to the Testaccio Market with a special tour guide, Daniela de Balzo. Apart from living in Rome and having the inside track to all the good (read: good-tasting) places to go, Daniela also runs her own cooking school, specializing in Roman and Neopolitan dishes. If you ever find yourself in Rome and need a cooking class (because why wouldn’t you?), Daniela is your go-to woman. Incidentally, we are trying to convince her to come to cook and teach for us State-side. Stay tuned for that, and let me know if you’d be interested in attending such fine-tasting shenanigans.
On our way to the market, we stepped into a pasta shop – Laboratorio Moderno Esperienza Antica. Those are a lot of long Italian words. This is what I take away from it, with my limited Italian:
1. I am going to start referring to my kitchen as the “Laboratorio (semi) Moderno.”
2. They make home made pasta. Right there in the store. And if you stand there and look hungry, they will give it to you. Right out of the ravioli press.
3. It’s probably not called a “ravioli press” but that’s essentially what it is. Check it out:
First they roll out the sheets of pasta. Then, they roll ’em up and put them on these giant spools on this machine:
They put the filling (in this case a wonderfully smooth and creamy ricotta dotted with spinach) in a funnel at the top of the machine. Then they crank it up, and magically it sandwiches the delicious filling in between fresh pasta like so:
Then, the ravioli press operator hands them to the nearest hungry-looking tourist girl, who just happened to be me in this case. I ate it uncooked and right out of the press. It was amazing.