Before I met Rachel, I made my pasta the novice way– all purpose flour and eggs. The dough was easy to work with despite its tendency to stick (if not into the freezer within minutes, the whole platter of pasta would turn into a large gooey ball) and pretty tasty. Then I was introduced to the word of Semolina- a fine grain wheat product that increases the gluten in the pasta, resulting in that perfectly cooked “al dente” texture with a taste that brings you straight to a cafe in an Italian Piazza. Taste- to die for. Easy to work with?- lets just say my arms are so sore from rolling out a double batch today that I can barely lift them high enough to type. I’ll admit I was probably not in an ideal pasta-making atmosphere. I am in Florida afterall, and what’s a trip to Florida without getting tan? Hence my outdoor pasta making factory– a parchment lined table, cutting boards, balls of mint pasta dough, a bowl full of ricotta and goat cheese filling and a whole lot of flour sprinkled over the whole set-up (not to mention, me). If semolina didn’t make a dough tough enough on its own, the sun shining directly on my moc-pasta making factory did. And so I spent the majority of the afternoon (over 3 hours, to be exact) putting every ounce of my post-pneumonia, starting-to-atrophy muscles into rolling out the pasta for a variation of Martha’s Mint Ravioli Stuffed with Goat Cheese. While my dough dried up too quickly for me to form tortellinis, the resulting half-moon shaped raviolis were well worth the (exhaustive) effort. Cook these half moon raviolis for 2-3 minutes in salted, boiling water, add to a pan with brown butter and garnish with lemon zest, basil, hot pepper flakes and a shaving of pecorino romano cheese and I assure you, the taste is worth giving up arm function any day.
As for a Nella business update, we are thrilled to start working at the end of the month. We have toured the kitchen facility, submitted an application, and will follow up with various inspections, design elements and registrations over the next 1 to 2 months. Check back soon for updates!