Why Do I Make Pasta?
That, my friends, is a very interesting question. For the last 23 years, I haven’t really had a choice. I do not paint, sculpt, draw, do photography, dance (in public) or make Tik Tok videos (yet).
I have to make pasta. I love making it, reading about it, watching videos about it, talking about it, buying and operating equipment to make it.
I enjoy making 3 pounds at home and I enjoy making 300 pounds per hour at the Rallenti production facility.
I enjoy teaching how to make pasta. I love making pasta with my kids. I love watching people eat pasta at restaurants.
I love fresh pasta and I love dried pasta. In Italy, they are considered 2 different products, each one ideal for specific sauces and applications.
In its most basic form, I am fascinated by how flour and water can be transformed into such an incredibly good, nourishing, food.
I am constantly amazed at how each shape offers up such a different mouthfeel and eating experience. My intellect knows its the same flour and water, but I swear radiatori and penne offer completely different sensory experiences. Don’t get me started on spaghetti vs fettuccine.
I have most of my training in hand made egg pasta. It started in Italy where I was completely drawn to the woodblock table, like a Buddhist zombie. There I could spend hours making silky egg noodles, ravioli or traditional agnolotti al “plin”.
Insert wavy dream sequence effects….
I was the pasta maker at ‘all Enoteca in Canale, near Alba. I had been there a few months and Davide Palluda, the most incredible young chef, taught me how to make very traditional pork-filled agnolotti al plin - thumb-sized pinched ravioli made by placing single dots of filling on a sheet of dough, then carefully folding, pinching and cutting.
One night, we had a customer order them “au naturel” or literally boiled, then placed on a napkin, no sauce. He was a well known, very discerning, local Piemontese guest and very picky. I thought he was super douchey.
We served them, 10 minutes later, he bursts through the kitchen
door and screams, “who made the agnolotti”.
The Chef pointed to me (picture me looking terrified). He said, “These were the best agnolotti I have ever had.” Of course, it sounded better in Italian.
You might think that was the best part, but no.
Chef Davide then says, still pointing at me, “Adam made them, he is an American from New Jersey”.
The guest looks at me, then back at Davide and says, “No it’s impossible.”
I said, “It sure is.”
I knew I found my calling. That was 1997.