Credit: The Petite Cook
Growing up on the picturesque island of Sicily, off the coast of southern Italy, Andrea Soranidis learned to master the art of homemade pasta.
“In my mum’s kitchen, everything was made from scratch! Our family would spend entire afternoons and weekends making fresh pasta, pizza, bread, and delicious cakes and cookies – it was the best kind of quality time, and I savored every second of it,” she recalls.
Those early experiences led Andrea to experiment on her own, developing ideas for a recipe-sharing platform before launching her own food blog, “The Petite Cook”. Inspired by her world travels and love of traditional Italian cuisine, Andrea’s culinary creations are easy to make, satisfying and nutrient-dense thanks to fresh, locally sourced ingredients and plant-based twists on classic recipes.
The blog has earned a devoted base of followers who love Andrea’s approachable take on dishes like bucatini pomodoro, duck ragu pappardelle and an egg-free tiramisu. Building on her success, Andrea has published two cookbooks: 20-Minute Italian, which focuses on speedy, simple recipes, and Vegan Bean Cookbook, born from experimenting with legumes during the pandemic lockdown.
Credit: The Petite Cook
Although her site features recipes inspired by many different culinary cultures, from Thai to Greek to British, she always returns to a staple of her Italian upbringing: pasta.
“I love all kinds of noodles from all over the world, but of course, pasta will always be my favorite! It’s so universally popular because it’s simple, inexpensive and incredibly versatile.”
In Italy, there are hundreds of pasta shapes to complement all kinds of different sauces, Andrea explains. When making pasta, it’s important to choose the noodle carefully.
“Using the right pasta ensures you get most of the sauce you pair it with. I always recommend using long, skinny noodles like spaghetti, fettuccine and tagliatelle with tomato sauce, seafood, and cream- and oil-based sauces like pesto,” she says.
Meanwhile, shorter pastas with hollow centers – think penne, ziti, or rigatoni – serve as ideal vessels for chunkier sauces, such as meat-heavy bolognese, pasta alla Norma with thick slices of fried eggplant, or a creamy primavera laden with crisp vegetables.
And then there are tiny pastas – called pastina – in shapes like miniature stars (stelline), rings (anelli), tubes (ditalini) and orzo (a rice-shaped pasta). Since these fun-sized noodles are easily scooped up with a spoon, they’re the perfect addition to soup and brodo (broth).
Now that she has a child of her own who loves to help her in the kitchen, Andrea loves making her mum’s tried-and-tested fresh egg pasta recipe. “We’ve been making it for decades, and it’s always a hit!”
The Recipe: The Petite Cook’s Fresh Egg Pasta Noodles
- 4 large eggs
- 400g flour (Note: try to find 00, which is finely ground Italian flour. All-purpose flour works as an alternative)
- Pour flour onto a clean working surface, then hollow out the center.
- Break the eggs into the hollow space and gently beat them with a fork, incorporating more and more flour as you work. If you find it’s a touch too dry, you can try adding a teaspoon of water.
- Once mixed well, knead with slow, delicate movements for about 15-20 minutes until the dough is smooth and stretchy.
- Wrap the dough in cling film and leave it to rest in a cool dry spot in your kitchen for about 30-60 minutes.
- Divide the dough in half. Leave the remaining dough well covered in cling film or a kitchen towel to prevent it from drying out.
- Using a rolling pin or bottle of wine, roll out the half-portion of dough on a work surface sprinkled with flour until it’s a thin sheet about 42 cm wide.
- Sprinkle the surface of the pasta sheet with a little more flour and roll the dough into itself, like a Swiss roll.
- Cut the roll into slices using a sharp knife. For tagliatelle (which Andrea recommends for this recipe) you’ll want to cut sections that are 1 cm in width, but you can also make pastas like fettuccine, lasagna, tortellini, or ravioli from the dough.
- Unfurl the tagliatelle bundles, working gently but swiftly to prevent the dough from drying out.
- You can cook the noodles straight away (fresh pasta cooks in about 2-4 minutes).
- Alternatively, you can arrange little nests of lightly floured pasta on a tray and let them dry slightly. Store them in the fridge for up to two days or in the freezer for up to a month.
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