Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Nettle Powder Pasta Revisited

For the last few years I’ve made paglia e fieno (“straw & hay’) pasta (here) for Easter dinner. I used 2 grams of stinging nettle powder (here) to make the green pasta. This year I wondered: how many nettle leaves do I need to pick to make 2 grams of nettle powder? Answer: between 15 to 20 young leaves.

When foraging for nettles, I carefully snip off the top third of young, medium-sized plants. I wash the nettles to remove any grit and insects, cut the leaves from the stems, and then gently pat the leaves dry before placing them in a dehydrator for 8 to 9 hours at 95°F/35°C.


This year I rolled my pasta with a mattarello (here). I used 100 grams of Central Milling 00 Normal flour, a medium egg and 2 grams of nettle powder to make the green pasta and the same amount of flour and egg to make the yellow. I found the green pasta a bit harder to roll out than the yellow, so next time I might play around with the green’s ingredients.


Things will be quiet here at A Serious Bunburyist for a while as my wife and I move. I packed up all my pasta gear and hundreds (and hundreds) of cookbooks. Stay tuned for new posts, hopefully soon.

Friday, January 28, 2022

Bronze Pasta Dies Revisited

I recently corrected a couple of my old blog posts that focus on bronze pasta dies, specifically dies that work in Bottene’s Torchio Model B manual pasta press. Here’s why. 

Back in 2011, I contacted Emiliomiti (here) to inquire whether it sold additional dies for a Bottene Torchio Model B that I purchased in 2010. My Model B came with two dies, one to make bigoli and another for gargati. Emiliomiti replied that although it occasionally receives different dies made specifically for the Model B, heavier bronze dies made for an electric extruder should also work in my hand cranked torchio. To test this out I purchased a No. 464 Casarecce die (here) and—yes—the die worked perfectly in my torchio.


In my 2011 post about this experiment, I wrote that this No. 464 die was designed for La Monferrina’s Dolly electric extruder. In fact, the die I received was designed for Bottene’s Lillo electric extruder and not the Dolly.

With hindsight, this makes perfect sense because Bottene makes both the electric Lillo extruder and manual Torchio Model B handpress (and not the Dolly). I should have picked up on this sooner because back in 2017 I bought a No. 171 ridged macaroni die (here) that didn’t quite fit my torchio. I know now that I inadvertently received a Dolly-compatible die instead of a Lillo die. No big deal: Emiliomiti replaced the Dolly die with a Lillo/Torchio Model B-compatible die.


All this die information came to light this January 2022 when I spoke to Emiliomiti about buying an electric extruder. I’m looking at La Monferrina’s Dolly III and Bottene’s Lillo Due. I learned that one benefit of buying the Lillo Due is that this electric extruder can use certain dies that that I already own and use in my Torchio Model B, specifically any die that has a round hole drilled into its back like the die picture below.

This hole seats the Lillo’s motor-driven auger. A Torchio Model B die that does not have a similar hole drilled out in the die's back will not work in the Lillo even though the die works in the Torchio Model B.

Simply stated, Bottene made it possible to use any Lillo die in its Torchio Model B, but not every Torchio Model B die will work in a Lillo.  Finally, dies made for La Monferrina’s Dolly extruders will not fit in either the Lillo Due or the Torchio Model B. The face of a Dolly die is too wide to seat properly in Bottene's Lillo and Torchio Model B die holders.