Expert Interview Series: Emilio Mitidieri on Perfect Pasta

Do you want to make the perfect pasta? Emilio Mitidieri, Founder of Pastabiz, recently spoke with Cilantro about how you can do just that. But it might not be what you're used to! If you've always made pasta by...

Perfect pasta

Do you want to make the perfect pasta?

Emilio Mitidieri, Founder of Pastabiz, recently spoke with Cilantro about how you can do just that. But it might not be what you're used to!

If you've always made pasta by hand and you've never done any in-depth work with machines, Emilio's tips might offer a chance at a new experience.

Think about the serious cook. If you wanted to challenge their skills but also provide an end result that they could be proud of, what pasta recipe would you recommend they try?

I would challenge them to make agnolotti dal plin. This dish requires the chef to make a good pasta dough sheet to be used for the dumpling, a filling with the right ingredients, and most importantly the correct technique to make the product. Unlike a typical double sheet ravioli, the plin only uses a single sheet of pasta dough and requires the chef to pinch the dumpling to close it in a certain way. In Italian, plin translates to "pinch." It's all about the technique.

Similarly, what dessert recipe?

Typically, there are not a lot of crossover dishes when it comes to pasta and dessert, but there is a really good recipe out there for chocolate ravioli with hazelnut cream filling. I can't recall exactly where I first tried it, but I was quite surprised when the chef brought it to the table. You would use a pasta sheeter to make the dough, just as you would to make standard pasta sheets; but the magic lies in the right ratios of cocoa and flour for the dough.

What type of kitchen tools/utensils would be important to these recipes?

Both of these recipes would rely on a good quality pasta dough sheeter, which are sometimes called laminators. All the pasta dough sheeters we import have been tested for demanding restaurant use. We have the pleasure to work with some of the most highly-regarded Italian restaurant chefs in the United States. Over the last 36 years, we have taken their feedback to help develop better products that will help chefs be more creative and efficient.

Take our Nina 170 and Nina 250, for example. This pasta machine started life out as just a motor and one set of rollers. With our input, La Monferrina (the manufacturer) reconfigured the motor and gear box to add a set of automatic pasta cutters on the back of the machine. This machine is great for restaurants because it is compact but makes a lot of pasta!

Name a few tips that you've learned along the way which can add to these recipes. How can these tips help the cook bring their food to the next level? How can your specific machines make the cook's experience extraordinary?

One of my biggest tips on making pasta, especially with machines, is to mind hydration levels. As chefs move from making pasta dough completely by hand to working with sheeters like the Nina 170 or pasta extruders such as the P3, they need to adjust the dough hydration to work the specific machine. Since the work of making pasta dough is no longer managed by the chef's hands the dough does not need to be as soft and humid. Pasta machines work well with dough that has less moisture.

The reason pasta machines work well with a drier dough is because they have powerful motors that do the hard work for you. Dough that is too wet will require the chef to dust the pasta with flour as they would do if they were making pasta by hand. This "bad" habit is not necessary when working with larger machines if the dough is made properly. Dusting the pasta with flour so it does not stick to itself can cause issues with electric components in the long run and is simply not necessary.

As chefs move up from smaller to larger machines, they'll also see that their dough does not need as much hydration. This can be confusing for some chefs, so we are always happy to take phone calls on how to make pasta on machines.

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