One Year Sfoglino

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A 365-day journey to becoming a Sfoglino

4/19/21Day 27 - Classic

Day 27  of making pasta Day 27  of making pasta Day 27  of making pasta

Got the dough dialed in. Feel good about that. The fam wanted spaghetti, it was late, and I didn't want to mess it up, so made spaghetti with the machine (gasp!). It was fantastic. Excited. Def getting better. Now I just need to apply that to my sfoglia and hand cutting/shaping. One step at a time.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 8
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 0
Pasta Shaping: 0
Taste: 8
Presentation: 0

Total: 16

4/18/21Day 26 - Cavatelli and Orecchiette

Day 26  of making pasta Day 26  of making pasta Day 26  of making pasta Day 26  of making pasta Day 26  of making pasta

I'm trying really hard to just get a simple semolina and water dough right. Today I went with 49% hydration. At first that felt "dry" but ultimately after kneading and resting it was pretty spot on. The dough was legit.

I rolled cavatelli with the kids (fun).. so we had a little variety in size and shape, but they came out really well. I practiced making orecchiette and the women of Bari would laugh at me. I definitely need more practice. They were uneven and thick for sure. Tasted great though. Overall a success, but much room for improvement.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 7
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 6
Pasta Shaping: 4
Taste: 6
Presentation: 3

Total: 26

4/16/21Day 25 - In The Spaghetti Zone

Day 25  of making pasta Day 25  of making pasta Day 25  of making pasta Day 25  of making pasta Day 25  of making pasta Day 25  of making pasta Day 25  of making pasta Day 25  of making pasta

Straight egg and Tipo 00 dough today. And boy did she come out nice. Supple, silky, with some life-affirming bubbles. I split the dough into two because I wanted to run a test. With half I rolled a sfogilia and then hand cut spaghetti. The other half I rolled through the machine and spaghetti cutter.

I'm looking to understand and "feel" the difference between my hand done pasta and the machined pasta. Overall I was pleased with my hand-rolled, hand-cut spaghetti but it was inconsistent. And that's on me. The machined pasta was obviously much more uniform and ultimately that led to a better eating experience. Not necessarily better tasting... just more of an even cook and feel. Still, I feel like I'm improving and registered my highest score yet.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 7
Sfoglia: 5
Pasta Cutting: 6
Pasta Shaping: 6
Taste: 7
Presentation: 0

Total: 31

4/15/21Day 24 - Rigatoni Fail(ish)

Day 24  of making pasta Day 24  of making pasta

Made a semolina, tipo, water and egg dough. Then I decided to try to make rigatoni with the KitchenAid. Little did I know that the hydration level needs to be way less for extruded pasta. Fun times! (Not). The taste is there, and remarkably I actually got some decent looking rigatoni on the tray. And while they tasted ok they were doughy and mushy after cooking up a batch. Prob needed to let them air dry more, too. Lessons learned.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 6
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 1
Pasta Shaping: 2
Taste: 4
Presentation: 0

Total: 13

4/14/21Day 23 - Lasagna

Day 23 of making pasta Day 23 of making pasta Day 23 of making pasta Day 23 of making pasta Day 23 of making pasta Day 23 of making pasta Day 23 of making pasta Day 23 of making pasta

Rolled out yesterday's dough and my sfoglia was actually half decent. I think. Made a little agnolotti for practice, but with the bulk of it I decided to make lasagna noodles. Bonus: Dinner is already made.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 0
Sfoglia: 5
Pasta Cutting: 7
Pasta Shaping: 7
Taste: 6 (tested noodles)
Presentation: 5

Total: 30

4/12/21Day 21 - Quick Hit

Day 21  of making pasta Day 21  of making pasta Day 21  of making pasta

Not much time today. Made a quick semolina and water dough. Came together nicely. A bit too nicely and think I over-hydrated just a bit. Dough stuck to the plastic wrap. But, then again I could have just wrapped it a bit too tightly, because when I rolled the ropes for cavatelli they came out quite nicely. Won't have time to cook this today probably. I'm stockpiling pasta at an alarming rate!!! Ha ha

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 6
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 4
Pasta Shaping: 5
Taste: 0
Presentation: 0

Total: 15

4/11/21Day 20 - Whoops, But Yes!

Day 20  of making pasta Day 20  of making pasta Day 20  of making pasta Day 20  of making pasta Day 20  of making pasta Day 20  of making pasta Day 20  of making pasta Day 20  of making pasta

I missed yesterday (family plans at the NYBG). I also wasted some dough I had in the fridge. And that bums me out. But alas, I rolled a new dough today and the practice was worth it. Came out nice. My sfogilia was a bit of a hot mess of an oval, but got the thickness pretty even. Pleased there, too.

My kids wanted Farfalle and I needed the shaping practice so double win. My shaping was much improved and I'm happy to report the folds were not chewy or thick tonight after cooking. Kids gave it an 8.8! (I'm a tougher graders on myself).

I made some pappardelle for myself. I'll eat it later this week. That also gave me some practice drying and freezing pasta.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 6
Sfoglia: 3
Pasta Cutting: 4
Pasta Shaping: 5
Taste: 6
Presentation: 0

Total: 24

4/9/21Day 19 - Comfort Food.

Day 19  of making pasta Day 19  of making pasta

Two things:

1/ I'll be honest I didn't have the energy to roll out a sfoglia today. Nor did I want to hand cut it. I just wanted a good god damn Friday night comfort bowl of delicious spaghetti, so I broke out the Kitchen Aid. Sue me.

2/ The other reason (honestly) was I wanted to make sure my dough was good. I was 99% sure it was and most of my issues are arising from me rolling and shaping by hand. And I was right. This pasta was fantastic. Again, this is good news! The early steps of the process are solid. I just need to work on the later ones.

Bonus PS: That's some tasty sourdough pizza dough proofing nicely in the background for tomorrow night!

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 0
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 0
Pasta Shaping: 0
Taste: 9
Presentation: 5

Total: 14

4/8/21Day 18 - Go Big Or Go Home.

Day 18  of making pasta Day 18  of making pasta Day 18  of making pasta Day 18  of making pasta Day 18  of making pasta

Made a bigger batch of dough and bumped up the water ratio to 60% in hopes to catch some more air (LIFE!). I "think" it came out better, but really who am I kidding at this point I have no idea. We'll see. I'll roll these puppies out in the next two days and find out!

PS: Excuse the terrible wrapping job... I need to get wider plastic! On the list.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 6
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 0
Pasta Shaping: 0
Taste: 0
Presentation: 0

Total: 6

4/7/21Day 17 - Damn Sam. So Close.

Day 17  of making pasta Day 17  of making pasta Day 17  of making pasta Day 17  of making pasta Day 17  of making pasta Day 17  of making pasta Day 17  of making pasta Day 17  of making pasta Day 17  of making pasta Day 17  of making pasta

Today I used yesterday's dough that I didn't have time to roll. Overall I was super pleased with today's effort. Everything felt "right". The dough had lots of life. Wonderful bubbles and tiny little life-affirming pops as I rolled out the sfoglia. The roll went well. And so did the cutting.

I felt ambitious and went for triangoli. My cuts were nice and even. Pretty sure I overstuffed them a bit. But was feeling good. Real good. I hand cut a few traditional ravioli as well. They looked quite nice, too. I had one extra sheet of dough so I practiced making Farfalle. And damn if they didn't look perfect.

But... there's always a but, my folds or I suppose my double layers were off. And once I cooked everything up it showed. The were thick and chewy. At first I was bummed. Then I realized I knew exactly what I did wrong (even though I don't know how to properly fix it — yet) and I take that as a victory actually. My mistakes are happening later and later in the process, so I see that as a big improvement. I've still got a long way to go, but I'm making progress. And that's the name of the game! I was so happy I decided to even try and plate a bit tonight.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 7
Sfoglia: 5
Pasta Cutting: 7
Pasta Shaping: 3
Taste: 4
Presentation: 5

Total: 31

4/6/21Day 16 - Felt Good.

Day 16  of making pasta Day 16  of making pasta Day 16  of making pasta

No time to roll and shape pasta today (bummer). But made what feels like a good dough. Caught some air. Came together nicely. Hopeful! We'll make some ravioli out of this tomorrow and will report back.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 6
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 0
Pasta Shaping: 0
Taste: 0
Presentation: 0

Total: 6

4/5/21Day 15 - Back With A Bang!

Day 15  of making pasta Day 15  of making pasta Day 15  of making pasta Day 15  of making pasta Day 15  of making pasta Day 15  of making pasta Day 15  of making pasta Day 15  of making pasta Day 15  of making pasta Day 15  of making pasta

I'm back after a week away and I have to say I was super excited to get going again. I thought for sure I'd do terrible not having made dough in a week, but honestly it came out great. I still need to capture more air (LIFE!) but, overall, not too shabby. Very happy with today's effort. Kids (and even the wife) were impressed too!

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 6
Sfoglia: 4
Pasta Cutting: 3
Pasta Shaping: 3
Taste: 6
Presentation: 2

Total: 22

3/27/21Day 14 - Eggcellent!

Day 14 of making pasta Day 14 of making pasta Day 14 of making pasta

What a difference a day makes! I finally cracked 20 points! I actually used a @marcvetri egg dough recipe today. And I have to say it came out fairly decent and I'm really glad because I didn't feel like wasting 9 egg yolks. I made pappardelle. I followed @evanfunke suggestion for 9 post-it note thickness. And even rolled one on the machine at 2/3 setting as per Marc's rec. Both felt too thick to me in the end. I'm sure it's the right width and something was off with my dough. Overall though I really took my time today. Had fun with it. And while it seems silly I do think the pasta benefitted from me being in a much better mood. It's like I imbued it with positivity today. We both needed it.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 5
Sfoglia: 1
Pasta Cutting: 4
Pasta Shaping: 4
Taste: 5
Presentation: 1

Total: 20

3/26/21Day 13 - Fudge

Day 13 of making pasta Day 13 of making pasta Day 13 of making pasta Day 13 of making pasta

Tried an egg dough today. Sadly took a big step back. Man this is frustrating. And kinda humiliating. It seems so simple. It's not. I just don't have the 'feel' at all. Dough came out ok, but I think I added too much Semolina at the end so the cut pasta didn't stick (a problem I've repeatedly had). Taste was off. Felt dense and gummy at the same time. Damn. I'm not gonna quit, but man I sure feel like it.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 3
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 1
Pasta Shaping: 0
Taste: 2
Presentation: 0

Total: 6

3/25/21Day 12 - Not Too Shabby

Day 12 of making pasta Day 12 of making pasta Day 12 of making pasta Day 12 of making pasta

Today was a Tipo 00 and Semolina blend with water. I made some orecchiette, cavatelli, and hand-cut spaghetti. I'd say the dough was just a touch over hydrated. Overall the taste was decent, and the shaping was not horrible. Long way to go, but a solid day. I'll take it.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 5
Sfoglia: 1
Pasta Cutting: 1
Pasta Shaping: 3
Taste: 5
Presentation: 0

Total: 15

3/24/21Day 11 - Solid Effort

Day 11 of making pasta Day 11 of making pasta Day 11 of making pasta

Today I made a semolina and water dough. Mostly because I wanted to try making orecchiette. Overall the dough turned out well. I didn't think it was hydrated enough, and yet after it rested it was definitely over-hydrated (the plastic wrap stuck). Still, it was workable. My orecchiette was pretty good. It was clearly too thick and too big, but tasty. Getting there!

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 4
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 2
Pasta Shaping: 2
Taste: 4
Presentation: 0

Total: 12

3/23/21Day 10 - Better!

Day 10 of making pasta Day 10 of making pasta

Progress! After a way-too-dry dough followed by a way-too-wet dough I was aiming for that Goldilocks just right today. I think I kinda got there. I thought the dough was too dry to be honest, but after resting for two hours it softened up nicely and came out really well. I made a quick bowl of linguine and the taste was there too. Still not great, but definitely the best I've made so far.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 5
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 0
Pasta Shaping: 0
Taste: 5
Presentation: 0

Total: 10

3/22/21Day 9 - Wet Clump

Day 9 of making pasta

Man I felt good about this dough. It seemed to come together so nicely. Turns out that's because it was way too hydrated. Sort of the inverse of yesterday. Poop. Man I'm ready to just give up. Who knew flour and eggs would be so damn hard. The only saving grace is the "taste" is kinda there. But the texture is way, way off.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 2
Sfoglia: 1
Pasta Cutting: 1
Pasta Shaping: 1
Taste: 4
Presentation: 0

Total: 9

3/21/21Day 8 - Dry Turd

Day 8 of making pasta Day 8 of making pasta Day 8 of making pasta Day 8 of making pasta Day 8 of making pasta Day 8 of making pasta Day 8 of making pasta Day 8 of making pasta

Bad news the dough came out really dry today. Good news I knew it was too dry. Still moved forward. Came out meh.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 2
Sfoglia: 1
Pasta Cutting: 1
Pasta Shaping: 1
Taste: 2
Presentation: 1

Total: 8

3/20/21Day 7 - Family Approved

Day 7 of making pasta Day 7 of making pasta Day 7 of making pasta Day 7 of making pasta

My wrap sprung a leak, and a section of dough got hard, but cut that off and rolled out yesterday's dough anyway. Came out pretty well. The new wood counter space helps a lot. A lot.

The bicicletta helped too. Though I didn't press quite hard enough. Still, not bad for the first time using one.

My daughter helped with the shapes. We made garganelli and sorpresine. They were pretty bad, but fun to try. And while they didn't look great, the dough turned out pretty tasty. So overall nice little victory.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 0
Sfoglia: 2
Pasta Cutting: 1
Pasta Shaping: 1
Taste: 6
Presentation: 1

Total: 11

3/19/21Day 6 - Sweet New Set-Up

Day 6 of making pasta Day 6 of making pasta Day 6 of making pasta Day 6 of making pasta Day 6 of making pasta Day 6 of making pasta

Check out my new set up! Gotta say it's pretty great. Makes a big difference. More space to work the dough. And I can break it down in minutes.

It feels like the dough came out pretty well today. Just Tipo 00 and water. I took a break again between kneading to let Father Time help. Enjoyed a cup of tea during the rest.

No time to roll it out or shape today, so it's going in the fridge for tomorrow.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 4
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 0
Pasta Shaping: 0
Taste: 0
Presentation: 0

Total: 4

3/18/21Day 5 - Dough Not Worry

Day 5 of making pasta Day 5 of making pasta Day 5 of making pasta Day 5 of making pasta

As I come to release every mistake you enter into the process just compounds I'm dialing back my effort to focus on getting the dough right. And today I'm happy to say my dough was better.

A few notes: I did a 3:1 ratio of Tipo 00 to Semolina (like how Marc Vetri does). It worked well. The dough came together nicely. I also let time help me. I kneaded for about 3-5 mins then let the dough rest for 15-20 mins, then kneaded again for another 5 mins or so. Dough came out with a nice velvet texture. It felt a touch too smooth. And I don't think I captured enough air.

I made cavatelli from it. And — GASP!!! — ran a sheet or two through a pasta machine to make some quick spaghetti for a hungry wife. The cavatelli were still too "dense" and doughy, but the spaghetti was spot on. So there is clearly something going on with my own hand shaping. Need to work on that.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 6
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 0
Pasta Shaping: 1
Taste: 3
Presentation: 2

Total: 12

3/17/21Day 4 - Going Backward.

Day 4 of making pasta Day 4 of making pasta Day 4 of making pasta Day 4 of making pasta Day 4 of making pasta Day 4 of making pasta Day 4 of making pasta Day 4 of making pasta

Today was crap. I got to making my pasta late and I ruined the kneading stage. Dough came out really rubbery. I can't even seem to get past the dough stage and I gotta be honest it's disheartening. On a positive note I listened to Radiohead and I got a spray bottle. The latter didn't help.

I didn't even bother rolling a sfoglia. It would have just been a waste because the dough was "off". So I made cavatelli. The dough was dense and kinda rubbery, but edible.

I decided to make chicken parm because I make it really well and I needed to feel positive about my cooking skills. That came out perfect thank God.

PS: My bicicletta arrived late today. I will try it tomorrow.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 2
Sfoglia: 0
Pasta Cutting: 0
Pasta Shaping: 1
Taste: 1
Presentation: 0

Total: 4 (Sigh)

3/16/21Day 3 - Not Bad.

Day 3 of making pasta Day 3 of making pasta Day 3 of making pasta Day 3 of making pasta Day 3 of making pasta Day 3 of making pasta Day 3 of making pasta Day 3 of making pasta Day 3 of making pasta

I'm sticking with making Strozzapreti out of sfoglia di acqua e farina. I definitely need a lot more practice so why not get better at this basic one first.

My dough turned out better than yesterday, but it "felt" worse when I was making it. Once again confirming I currently possess zero feel for the dough. I hope that will come.

The good news is I picked up some plastic wrap and I think that made a noticeable difference wrapping and resting the dough. My sfogilia was meh. It's a circle, but the thickness is not even and my technique is nonexistent. I'm muscling the dough, not coaxing it. Hopefully that will come, too.

My shaping was better, but still quite bad. I tried a few other shapes too with the the last bit of dough. The taste wasn't bad actually. My kids said it was bland... but then again I'm serving them flour and water out of a pot. So yeah, it's gonna be pretty bland. Finalizing dishes and working on presentation isn't really on my radar yet. That's down the road. For now I'm focused on getting the dough right.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 5
Sfoglia: 2
Pasta Cutting: 3
Pasta Shaping: 2
Taste: 5
Presentation: 0

Total: 17

3/15/21Day 2 - TL;DR Good start. Long way to go.

Day 2 of making pasta Day 2 of making pasta Day 2 of making pasta Day 2 of making pasta Day 2 of making pasta Day 2 of making pasta Day 2 of making pasta Day 2 of making pasta Day 2 of making pasta Day 2 of making pasta

I read through the entire 'American Sfoglino'. Then read it again. (told you I'm obsessive). And based on the book I chose to start where every student at La Vecchia Scuola starts by making Strozzapreti which is made with Tipo 00 and just water (Sfoglia di acqua e farina). It's a more forgiving dough. Plus, c'mon Strozzapreti translates into priest stranglers! What fun!

Overall I have to say it came out decent. From the pics you can see I started quite strong. And the dough came together rather nicely. I even think I managed to incorporate some air and life into the first knead. Then things kinda went downhill from there. And I'm already learning that once a mistake is made it compounds with each successive step. The dough didn't "feel" right to me on the second knead. But then again I don't really know what it should "feel" like. It certainly didn't feel as silky or flowy as the first knead. I think it needed a touch more hydration.

After it rested for two hours, it did feel tacky though. I think that's good. I don't know. I don't have a large wood surface to roll out my sfoglia (I'm getting one). And I don't have a mattarello either (one is on the way). Nor did I have a bicicletta to evenly cut strips. I didn't even have plastic wrap today! So I got a bit flustered if I'm being honest... but forged ahead.

Shaping the pasta was definitely my weakest stage. The Strozzapreti were a coiled mess. I currently have zero touch in that department. And the dough didn't do anything I wanted it to do. I trust and hope that develops with time.

Scores (out of 10):

Dough Shaping: 7
Sfoglia: 2
Pasta Cutting: 3
Pasta Shaping: 0
Taste 4:
Presentation: 0

Total: 16

3/14/21Day 1: Il libro è arrivato

photo of Evan Funke's cookbook American Sfoglino

I'm on a journey to make perfect homemade pasta. I'm not interested in making "good" homemade pasta. I want to make pasta that makes you stop for a second and catch your breath and your inner voice says "Holy shit give me more of that".

I've had it a few times in my life here in NY. At 'da Toscano' and 'Lilia' and at 'Torrisi' before it closed. There's 'Vetri' and my happiest place on earth 'Palizzi Social Club' in Philly. And 'Felix' in LA (more on that later).

And of course there was that once in a lifetime experience I had in Sovicille, Italy eating homemade pappardelle with wild boar ragu in a local's backyard as the sun set behind the Tuscan hills.

But I never thought to myself, I should learn how to do that. I suppose I always thought I'm not a chef so I can't. But then something changed. I went down a rabbit hole of "how to make homemade pasta" and came across Evan Funke. He's maniacal about pasta. He'll tell you that himself. The weird thing was I never connected Evan to Felix and should have (my bad). Anyway, I watched the documentary on him. Study his videos and bought his book (pictured). And I'm itching to go. But to make perfect pasta — by hand mind you — I know it's going to take a lot of practice. So I'm committing to making pasta every day for one year. I know that sounds a bit obsessive, but anyone who knows me, knows I am obsessive and compulsive so that suits me.

I'll be posting pics, updates, and rating my pasta daily. Here's to a fun year of pasta making.

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