Life & Lifestyle, Pasta, Pizza, Risotto, Vegan/Vegetarian

Spelt Flour Maltagliati Pasta and a Cooking Class in Tuscany

Nicoletta March 21, 2019

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Spelt Flour Maltagliati Pasta and a Cooking Class in Tuscany. A lovely Saturday spent in a Tuscan kitchen making 4 different kinds of fresh pasta, led to a pasta making day with my mother in our kitchen in Rome. On the menu, spelt flour maltagliati, which means “badly cut”. The sauce, a combination of local seasonal veggies: artichokes, squash, red onion. A mouthwatering lunch!

Song of the day: High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco

spelt maltagliati pasta and a cooking class in Tuscany

This post combines two of my favorite things: making homemade pasta and attending a cooking class. Well, maybe three, because it also involves spelt flour, which is by far, my favorite flour to use.

 

 

Pasta Fresca Cooking Class in Tuscany at Juls’ Kitchen

As soon as I arrived in Italy for the winter, I booked a cooking class on pasta fresca in Tuscany with my favorite blogger, Giulia, Juls’ Kitchen. I couldn’t wait for March to come so I could go and spend the day in a beautiful setting, among wonderful people, some new faces, some familiar faces, and lastly, having my hands in the dough.

The morning started with a thick fog lingering on the beautiful Tuscan countryside, but then turned out to be a sunny, warm, beginning of Spring day. Inside the studio, a functional old stove warmed up the space where six pairs of hands, guided by the talented Giulia, were eager to start kneading, stretching, shaping, cooking and eating together.

On the list of the fresh pasta to make: ricotta ravioli, spelt flour maltagliati, pici, and potato gnocchi. A long wood table hosted two wood boards on each side and we shared the tasks of making 4 types of dough. How fun to make homemade pasta with like-minded people, sharing knowledge, stories of pasta successes and failures, all in a relaxed, cozy, and cheerful atmosphere. No wonder the types of pasta were all amazing and the lunch was incredibly good!

A cooking class is an experience I always recommend. I’ll let the following pictures tell you a story.

Making Spelt Flour Maltagliati with my mom

Back home, I knew the first thing I wanted to make was maltagliati di farro, spelt flour “badly cut” pasta. In my mom’s kitchen, I set up the usual wood board and started what goes like that:

  • on a wooden work surface, pile the flour (a mix of 100 g spelt flour and 100 g semolina flour) into a mound. Make a large well in the center of the mound;
  • crack 2 eggs in the center;
  • add 1 tablespoon of e.v.o. oil;
  • start mixing the eggs/oil with a fork, gradually drawing in the center  flour from the sides of the well until the eggs have been absorbed by the flour;
  • have a pastry scraper handy and finish kneading the dough by hand, adding drops of water if necessary. It will go from rough and messy to nice and smooth. Work it, work it. No worries to overwork the dough!

So fulfilling! Other than baking, making fresh pasta is my favorite thing to do!

Time to rest

Don’t skip the resting time. The dough needs to rest for at least 30 minutes, covered with a bowl or a wet towel, or wrapped in plastic. The resting time relaxes the dough making it easier to handle, work, and shape.

Let the good times “roll”…

At this point, you can use a manual pasta machine, a stand mixer with the pasta roller attachment, or simply a rolling pin. Two eggs of pasta dough is not a lot, so I went the old, traditional way and used a rolling pin. Although, for convenience, I more frequently use the Kitchen Aid attachment, I have to say that the metal rollers of a pasta machine make the dough too smooth, while the rolling pin (mattarello, in Italian) gives the dough a coarse, pebbly texture and sauces stick better to rougher textures achieving the best marriage of sauce and pasta.

With a knife cut a piece of dough, keeping the rest of the dough covered. Very lightly flour the board, flatten the piece by lightly pressing with your fingers and start rolling it from the center away from you to the outer edge. Turn the dough a quarter-turn, and repeat, working your way around, stretching as well as pressing down, and adding a little flour to the dough as you roll it out to keep it from sticking. Roll it fairly thin, but slightly thicker than it would be for fettuccine (where you need to see your hand through the sheet). It doesn’t really matter the shape you’ve created: round, or oval, since we are making maltagliati, badly cut pasta

Then, spread the sheets out on a flat surface and dry for 15-20 minutes.

Time to have fun cutting maltagliati

Maltagliati are literally “things that are badly cut”.

Using a wheel pastry cutter, cut the sheet of dough first into long strips, then cut across each strip at varying angles to form short, uneven rectangles. My mom’s maltagliati were almost all diamond-shaped and quite pretty. Mine were more irregular. I stuck to the concept expressed to their wonderful name, lol. Although you don’t want them to all look alike, they should be -more or less- the same size so they cook in the same amount of time.

spelt maltagliati pasta and a cooking class in Tuscany

Transfer the maltagliati to a semolina-dusted cloth, baking sheet, or tray. Dust more semolina on top so to prevent any sticking. We used my mom’s old wooden tray.

spelt maltagliati pasta and a cooking class in Tuscany

Time for the sauce!

Our lunch was a joint venture. I made the dough and stretched it, my mom and I both cut the maltagliati, while my dad made the sauce. We went local and seasonal for our sauce: artichokes, squash, red onion and garlic, cooked in e.v.o. oil, seasoned with salt, pepper, and a pinch of turmeric, my dad’s latest obsession, lol. He adds it to almost anything!

While the sauce was finishing cooking, we brought a large pot of salted water up to the boil. We dropped our freshly made pasta in and waited for it to rise to the surface. Boiled for another minute or two, tasted for the desired doneness (we like it al dente) before draining and tossing with the sauce.

Such an amazing flavor! The spelt pasta has a wonderfully rich and nutty flavor, a nice bite in the texture, and that ‘roughness’ that allows the sauce to shine. If you have never tried fresh artichokes and squash, please do so. It is a great combination. We also make a casserole out of it, with artichokes, squash, and potatoes. So delicious!

Spelt Flour Maltagliati Pasta

Maltagliati pasta can be served with any kind of sauce, but they are also excellent in hearty soups, where they comfort you like a hug. We made maltagliati again, cut them a little smaller, and this time we made a wonderful Pasta e Fagioli.

Spelt Flour Maltagliati Pasta adn a cooking class in Tuscany

Enjoy maltagliati and buon appetito!

Song of the day: High Hopes by Panic! At the Disco

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spelt maltagliati pasta and a cooking class in Tuscany

Spelt Flour Maltagliati Pasta and a Cooking Class in Tuscany

  • Author: Nicoletta
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 4 persons 1x
  • Category: Pasta
  • Cuisine: Italian

Description

Spelt Flour Maltagliati Pasta and a Cooking Class in Tuscany. A lovely Saturday spent in a Tuscan kitchen, making 4 different kinds of fresh pasta, led to a pasta making day with my mother in our kitchen in Rome. On the menu, spelt flour maltagliati, which means “badly cut”. The sauce, a combination of seasonal local veggies: artichokes, squash, red onion. A mouthwatering lunch!


Ingredients

For the Spelt flour Maltagliati:

  • 100 g organic spelt flour
  • 100 g semolina flour
  • 2 eggs, organic free-range
  • 1 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • a few drops of water, if necessary

For the sauce:

  • 2 artichokes, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 200 g squash, in small cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, center removed, minced
  • 23 Tbsp e.v.o. oil
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • pinch of turmeric (optional, but so good)

Instructions

For the maltagliati:

  1. On a wooden work surface, pile the flours into a mound. Make a well in the center of the mound. Crack 2 eggs in the center of the mound. Add 1 tablespoon of e.v.o. oil and start mixing with a fork, gradually drawing in flour from the sides of the well until the eggs have been absorbed by the flour.
  2. Have a pastry scraper handy and finish kneading the dough by hand, adding drops of water if necessary. It will go from rough and messy to nice and smooth. Work it for at least 5 minutes.
  3. The dough needs to rest for at least 30 minutes, covered with a bowl or a wet towel, or wrapped in plastic.
  4. With a knife cut a piece of dough, keeping the rest of the dough covered. Very lightly flour the board, flatten the piece by lightly pressing with your fingers and start rolling it from the center away from you to the outer edge. Turn the dough a quarter-turn, and repeat, working your way around, stretching as well as pressing down, and adding a little flour to the dough as you roll it out to keep it from sticking. Roll it fairly thin (until n.7 when using the KA pasta attachment).
  5. Then, spread the sheets out on a flat surface (we spread them on a tablecloth on the table) and dry for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Using a pastry cutter, cut the sheet of dough first into long strips, then cut across each strip at varying angles to form short, uneven rectangles (Although you don’t want them to all look alike, they should be -more or less- the same size so they cook in the same amount of time).
  7. Transfer the maltagliati to a semolina-dusted cloth, baking sheet, or tray. Dust more semolina on top so to prevent any sticking.

For the sauce:

  1. Clean, trim, and slice the artichokes. Peel and chop the squash.
  2. In a saute pan over medium heat, add the e.v.o. oil, onion, and garlic and saute for a few minutes.
  3. Add the thinly sliced artichokes, and the chopped squash. Adjust with salt and pepper, and a pinch of turmeric. Toss to mingle the ingredients, then cover with a lid and cook on low for 10-15 minutes, stirring from time to time and uncovering the last few minutes to absorb any water.
  4. Bring a pot with plenty of salted water to a boil, add the maltagliati and cook for 3-5 minutes, or until they come to the surface.
  5. Drain, then add to the pan with the vegetable sauce. Toss, add grated Parmigiano or Pecorino (if using) and serve.

Notes

You can let the maltagliati dry on a tray and then freeze them in a ziplock bag. You can cook them from frozen, it will take a minute longer to cook.

Our vegetable sauce is just a suggestion, you can have maltagliati with any kind of sauce, or in hearty soups like bean soups.

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12 Comments

  • Avatar
    Reply Katherine | Love In My Oven March 21, 2019 at 2:53 pm

    What a wonderful experience you had! I would love to do something like this some time. That fresh pasta is inspiring me to make my own. I’ve only done it a handful of times!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 22, 2019 at 1:03 am

      I highly recommend it! Always something to learn and lots of fun! This pasta is great, and quite easy to reproduce. Hope you try it!

  • Avatar
    Reply Bernice M Hill March 25, 2019 at 10:55 am

    YUM! That’s a great idea to cut them smaller to add to soups. This is a great pasta for beginners, I think because it is so forgiving.
    Are your rollers for your kitchen aid wooden? I’m a bit confused…
    I always use my pasta roller, and never even though about it making the sheets too smooth. That’s a great tip.

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 25, 2019 at 1:30 pm

      Thanks, Bernice! Yes, they are wonderful in soups and I think quite easy for beginners. No, maybe I said that wrong 🙂 . My KA pasta rollers are metal like everybody else’s but I do think they make the pasta too smooth. You should taste homemade fettuccine rolled with a rolling pin, folded and cut with a knife what a wonderful “rugosità” (coarseness) they have. The same as I think that marble countertops are not good to make pasta but great for croissants. You need a wood board for pasta 😉 .

  • Avatar
    Reply Colleen March 25, 2019 at 3:41 pm

    I have made baked goods with spelt flour, but never pasta. And that is interesting about the wooden roller vs the KA pasta roller. I will try it next time for sure! Such great memories you will always have, making pasta with your Mom, too. Thanks Nicoletta!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 26, 2019 at 1:18 am

      I make so many bakes goods and breads with spelt flour, but pasta is great too! Hope you try it, you’ll love it! Yes, there is no comparison to the porosity and texture homemade pasta gets when hand-stretched with a rolling pin! Unfortunately, time is always an issue and me too I almost always use the KA attachment.

  • Avatar
    Reply Sabrina March 26, 2019 at 10:31 am

    This is such a yummy tasty recipe! I really
    love your beautiful Italian recipes, thank you!

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 26, 2019 at 11:26 am

      Thank you, Sabrina! This is such a simple yet very tasty recipe. Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Avatar
    Reply Denise@urbnspice March 28, 2019 at 7:45 am

    Just reading your post makes me nostalgic to cook and bake with my Mom, Nicoletta. What a lovely post – your cooking class sounds as if it was so wonderful. I also love using spelt flour – it is one of the only flours that my daughter can tolerate so I look for recipes using this tasty grain. Thank you so much for this rustic pasta recipe, Nicoletta! It will be fun to make with my little helpers and my daughter. 🙂

    • Nicoletta
      Reply Nicoletta March 28, 2019 at 7:51 am

      Thank you, Denise! I remember the pictures of you baking with your mom. Such tender memories! Hope you try this shape of pasta, it is fun to make and really good both in soups and with a sauce.

  • Avatar
    Reply Philip - Chef Sous Chef March 28, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    This is so great. What a beautiful experience. I love making pasta, but haven’t experimented with other flours outside of “00””. This has me inspired to finally mix it up!

  • Nicoletta
    Reply Nicoletta March 28, 2019 at 12:47 pm

    Attending a cooking class in Tuscany at Juls’ is a wonderful experience. The ambience, the food, the energy. Glad to inspire! This pasta is a must try.

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