[Sca-cooks] good herbs
helewyse at yahoo.com
Mon Sep 24 05:17:12 PDT 2007
De and Ranvaig wanted to know why I didn't want to use semolina flour for making the pasta -
Essentially it is for reasons of both historical accuracy and ease of use. The use of semolina or Durum wheat for pasta making really came into use with the mechanization and commercialization of dried pasta. Standard white flour does not make good dried pasta, durum wheat does. The recipes in the medieval cookbooks use exactly the same word (fine white flour or fine flour i.e. fior di farina bianca or fior di farina) for the flour used in the pasta recipes as the ones in the pastry, biscotti, and other recipes. This is especially true for Scappi who throughout his book is very specific about his ingredients (this doesn't mean that it is also true for the writers of the anonymous venetian). Added to this the fact that in Italy today it is very very unusual for home made fresh pasta to be made of anything other than farina tipo 00 (which if anything is softer than our AP flour, and white). It is not proof merely circumstantial evidence that leads me
to the understanding that plain old AP flour is all you need. I have also made pasta on many occasions with AP flour and it works just fine, the starch gelatinizes on contact with water and the pasta holds together just fine.
Mistress Rachaol of the Midrealm did some research into the best approximation of period flours in Italy a few years ago, I'll ping her and see what will come up (it may also be in the archives of this very list).
For more takes on medieval pasta and lasagna see:
De wrote: There is a slight drawback with being an expert as yourself, many believe
that everything that you do is the correct and the only way. Sometime a
cooking demi god ( or demi-goddess in this case) status. I have had two
aspiring cooks get on my case for not agreeing with your interpretation. :)
You really need to meet me in person before you start applying demi-goddess appellations to me :-) I can be as wrong as the next guy, I'm just working with slightly better sources.
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