Thursday, September 24, 2015


Entry No. 26 in Oretta Zanini De Vita’s Encyclopedia of Pasta [2009] describes budelletti, a short, flat noodle from Italy’s Le Marche region. You make budelletti, which means “very thin intestines” in Italian, with flour, warm water, a pinch of salt and—surprise—fresh yeast. Of the 310 pasta entries in Zanini De Vita’s Encyclopedia, nine1 contain fresh yeast. Resourceful pasta makers used dough from unbaked bread to create most of these shapes. Why make yeasted pastas today? Speaking on behalf of budelletti, it tastes delicious and has a nice chewy texture that comes from the gluten created by flour, warm water and yeast. The following recipe serves 4.

1. Crumble 8 grams of fresh (cake) yeast into a glass containing 140 grams of tepid water (approximately 70º to 90ºF). Sift 300 grams of 00 flour into the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle and add a pinch of sea salt. Very slowly pour the water/yeast mixture into the flour and mix on the lowest speed to form a rough dough. Adding the water/yeast mixture slowly helps ensure that the flour will hydrate evenly. Remove the dough from the mixer and knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes.

2. Lightly dust the dough with flour and place in the middle of a large plastic bag—I use a gallon size Ziploc freezer bag—to allow the dough to rise for 1 hour. (Placing the dough in a sealed plastic bag helps prevent the dough from developing a crusty exterior during its raise.) Remove the dough from the bag and roll out the puffy dough with a rolling pin into a sheet that is approximately 3 to 4 millimeters thick. Let the sheet dry for 20 minutes.

3. Cut the sheet into 10 centimeter-wide strips and then cut across each strip to create very thin (about 2 millimeter wide), flat noodles.

4. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fresh budelletti, stir the pasta and, when the water returns to the boil, cook for approximately 3 minutes. Taste to see if the pasta is ready. If so, drain and add the budelletti to your ready sauce and continue to cook for a minute or so.

What sauce customarily pairs with budelletti? Zanini De Vita writes that budelletti is traditionally served with sauces based on pancetta or pork fat. Guanciale and budelletti match well. However, if you hail from the town of Ascoli Piceno in Le Marche, feel free to dress your budelletti in a tuna sauce—that’s traditional in your town, as you well know.

1. Fresh yeast pasta in the Encyclopedia of Pasta: Budelletti (No. 26); Cecamariti (No. 51); Cordelle sabine (No. 64); Frigulozzi (No. 98); Lunas (No. 136); Offelle (No. 167); Pingiarelle (No. 195); Pizzicotti (No. 199); and Sucamele (No. 261).