**Disclaimer: The names of the people have been changed for the protection of their privacy, and also for comedic effect.
We were driving back to Cazzola one Friday night to celebrate Guglielmo’s mother’s birthday. I had the bright idea to buy an electric pasta machine for his arthritic mother’s birthday present. I wrapped it in paper hand-made in Florence that looked like Missoni knits, all swirly with different colors. Gloria helped me write a thoughtful note. I didn’t show Guglielmo the gift or the card. I thought he would be pleased when he gave his mother his gift that I would have one for her, too.
It was the usual weekend at the castle. Guglielmo slept until noon and then went to the bar with Tino. Signora Lanzi and I shopped for groceries and then cooked all afternoon. Then men came home at seven p.m. To my surprise, neither Guglielmo nor Tino had gotten her a gift. They hadn’t even bought their mother a cake.
Signora Lanzi and I served dinner. After dinner, I excused myself and went to my room to retrieve the gift from my suitcase. I returned to the table, gave her the package, and wished her a happy birthday. She opened the gift and was immediately horrified. Oh great—I had made a fool of myself once again.
Signora Lanzi said, “Non tipiace la mia pasta?”—You don’t like my pasta?
“Ho pensato che sarebbe stato un sollievo per ‘artrite della sue mani usare la macchina per la pasta.”—I thought it would be easier on your arthritic hands to let the machine knead the pasta.
Guglielmo came to my defense, “Guarda Mamma, ci sono tutti questi accessory per fare diversi tipi di maccheroni.”—Look, Mamma, there’s all these attachments to make different shapes of macaroni.
“Non le piace mia pasta.”—She doesn’t like my pasta.
Guglielmo immediately went to the kitchen and got the flour and eggs to test the machine. We made every type of pasta the machine could make. Trays and trays of pasta filled every counter in the kitchen.
Guglielmo noted, “I maccheroni prodotti dalla macchina erano più ruvidi rispetto a quelli in commercio che avavano I bordi esterni più definiti. La ruvidita’ della pasta consente al sugo di amalgamarsi meglio’.” —The extruded macaroni was rough instead of the smooth outer edges of the store-bought. That should allow the sauce to stick to the pasta better.
Finally Signora Lanzi said, “Compro la pasta solo se voglio cucinare qualcosa di diverso da tagliatelli o ravioli. Ma a lei non piece la mia pasta.”—I usually have to buy pasta if I want to make something other that tagliatelli or ravioli. But, she doesn’t like my pasta.
Guglielmo made a late-night pasta dish to use up some of the pasta we had manufactured using pancetta, tomato preserves, garlic, and red pepper flakes.
I noticed the pasta machine was back in the box and had been placed on top of the refrigerator the next morning. I don’t remember ever seeing it used again.
I like to use Barilla® Penne Rigate and Cento® peeled San Marzano tomatoes.