Sunday, January 19, 2014


In the Glossary of Sauces & Shapes (here), Oretta Zanini De Vita and Maureen B. Fant describe fiorentini as a “short, squiggly factory-made pasta”. Based upon this brief description, one might not expect much from this noodle in the looks-department. Yet of all of the pastas featured in Sauces & Shapes, fiorentini rates, in my opinion, as one of the most handsome. It can also handle a broad range of sauces. Zanini De Vita and Fant pair the shape with a hearty ragù di carne. The Mozza Cookbook [2011] by Nancy Silverton with Matt Molina and Carolynn Carreño contains a recipe for fiorentini with a sauce of guanciale, tomato, and spicy pickled peppers.

Dry fiorentini rarely appears on grocers’ shelves here in the US, so if you want to try it, take to the web. As I write, Buon Italia (here) sells the shape. Emiliomiti (here) sells a bronze die for the torchio that produces twisting ribbons that look like fiorentiti to my eye. Ask for die 267 from the Blue Catalog.

I’ve made a lot of extruded pasta, including fiorentini, over the past few months. During this period, I used a 50-50 mixture of Central Milling Organic Type 00 flour and Giusto Extra Fancy Durum flour. I am experimenting with adding a touch more liquid to the flour. In the past, I used 75 grams of an egg mixture (typically a whole medium egg plus a medium egg yolk) for 150 grams of flour. (This produces enough pasta to serve 2 as a main course.) Of late, I’ve increased the amount of eggs for this flour blend from 75 to 77 grams. You need to make allowances for how your ingredients interact on any given day, but I have found that these extra grams of liquid produce a better-shaped noodle.

The other practice I now employ: after mixing the dough in a standing mixer with a paddle, I form the dough into a log rather than a disk. After an hour hydration period at room temperature, I simply pop the dough right into the torchio and start cranking.