Italian Food and Wine – Pasta

Neapolitan Pasta

Betty grew up in a southern Italian-American household, as did many Italian-American folks and her Mom always served pasta on Sunday and also for Wednesday dinner. It was a tradition that she lovingly continued and that the family looked forward to and enjoyed.

pasta factoryMost of the time she used dry “maccheroni” served with her gravy made with a good quality canned tomatoes, meatballs, braciole and a piece of pork. On special occasions and when time permitted, she made her own fresh pasta, which was a true rite. She enjoyed making flat pasta such as tagliatelle by hand, no machine, and then they were hung on a wood rack to dry. The tagliatelle were served with a light tomato sauce.

Gragnano, a small city not far from Vesuvio and Naples maccheroni production began between 1550 and 1600. It was exported by fast sailing ship and then by steamship. After 1950 they entered into partnership with family companies and began to make maccheroni towards Amalfi with a water mill located on the road. In a lot of museums in the world, it is possible to find pictures of painters of 600 and 700 centuries that show agricultural life of the Mill Valley.

Pasta made fresh is one of the cornerstones of Italian tradition. Sadly, home preparation of pasta has declined due to the fast-paced lifestyle of today’s world. StuffedAnolinifresh pasta is well worth the effort to make and the time involved. You can make it a family project and make extra to freeze and enjoy at a later date. Some of the stuffed pasta I enjoy making are ravioli, cappelletti, agnolotti and anolini as in the photo. The stuffing may be based on meat, cheese, spinach, mushrooms and ricotta. I have many fresh pasta recipes on

A good wine to pair with pasta is the Sannis Barbera (Thelemako) D.O.C. produced from the Babera grape, native to southern Italy. This shouldn’t be confused with the variety from the Piedmont Region in northern Italy. Its ruby red color and floral bouquet enhance it. The higher acid levels make it an especially good choice for full flavored foods with tomato sauce.

Scroll down for to view the Gragnano factory and more about Neapolitan pasta and be sure to click on the videos.

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