The Duchess’ little snails – Lumacelle della Duchessa – are typical Marche wedding pasta. It’s an Italian region that’s pretty much in the middle of the boot. They don’t remind me of snails at all, they are little rolls, hollow noodles. The lumachelle are served in a strong broth with grated parmesan – pumpkin from the Halloween pumpkin carving can certainly be included. The Duchess probably comes into play because it must be an absolutely incredible effort to twist Lumachelle for a big Italian wedding party: the noodles are small, it takes a lot, and each noodle has to be shaped by someone. Crowds of servants or all the women of a village sit there for a while. For a single person or maybe a handful of loved ones, I find the effort bearable. For a special occasion. I enjoy a little boring meditative work from time to time. However, there is also an abbreviation that is quite acceptable from the point of view of taste – see the instructions below.
But the Lumachelle della Duchessa recipe hides another ingenious and simple idea: the pasta dough is seasoned lovingly and quite strongly, with cinnamon, nutmeg, pepper and parmesan cheese. Normally, the spices or flavors of coloring ingredients such as spinach are largely lost in the pasta cooking water and are then simply discarded. However, we cook the lumachelle directly in broth, which gives the broth a fine flavor and the noodles always have just the right amount of flavor. You can find many basic homemade pasta recipes in previous episodes of Try it or in detail in the spring pasta guide. But if I ever had to write a second part, then the snail ride is a must!
Here are some additional tips for anyone looking to get started with the original Lumacelle. Because the Italian method is not complicated at all, just a bit long: To create the typical grooves, you can use a grooved gnocchi board or the traditional pasta comb Pettine by pasta. I’m afraid there aren’t many craftsmen left making this beautiful and inexpensive little gadget. I bought mine from Marco Galavotti. The dough is wrapped around a wooden stick and then rolled onto the pettine using a pasta or gnocchi board. Several Italian hollow doughs are thus formed around a stick, for example also Sicilian maccheroni. At first I was worried that the noodles wouldn’t come off the chopstick. But it works very well, because the rolling lengthens the dough pieces, which also increases the inside diameter of the rollers, so the lumachelle slips off the stick very easily. Thick chopsticks make bigger noodles, thin chopsticks make smaller noodles, small ones are of course more work.
My version would probably not appeal to the ducal family, but it should suffice for a sumptuous country wedding. In order for the rolls to look beautiful and even later, it is better to wrap a single layer of dough around the stick, with a small overlap. Then take a turn in the direction of winding. Roll out the dough for the strips without flour if possible and cover the strips until needed. If the dough is still too dry, brush the pieces individually with a little water (preferably with a thick watercolor brush rather than a regular hard pastry brush) and roll them around the stick with the wet side facing up. ‘outside. First wrap only two pieces of dough around the wooden stick at the same time, with a little practice you can make four pieces – there should be some space in between so you can squeeze the stick between the noodles with your fingers.
Lumachelle della Duchessa: Spicy Pasta in Pumpkin Broth
For 4 people
- 200 g Flour (preferably wheat flour type 550 or Italian Tipo 0) flour
- 2 Eggs (size M for a total of 110g of eggs) Egg
- ten g grated parmesan and a little parmesan to sprinkle Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 each teaspoon Cinnamon, nutmeg and pepper total about 2 g cinnamon, nutmeg
- For the soup
- 1 spring onion
- 1.2 I Broth (traditionally chicken, vegetables work too, of course) broth
- 100 g pumpkin
1. Knead the flour, eggs, parmesan, a small pinch of salt and the spices into a nice smooth dough. It takes more than 10 minutes than 5. Cover the dough and let it rest for half an hour.
2. Then roll out to about 1mm thickness – you can see through it a bit – and shape. Now you can easily cut the dough into 2cm squares and proceed to step number 4.
3. For ambitious cooks: cut the dough into strips 2 cm wide. Choose a thicker shish kebab stick or a bamboo stick or another straight, long wooden stick that is as sticky as possible, wrap the strip of dough around the stick once, tear it off, repeat this three times or more, then gently pull the stick with the dough rolls onto a gnocchi board, pasta comb (see video) or roll directly onto a counter. This loosens the lumachelle and you can easily scrape the noodles onto a floured board.
4. Cut the spring onion into thin rings, reserve the green part of the rings. Bring the broth to a boil, finely chop the pumpkin and bring to a boil with the white onion rings in the soup. Add the lumachelle and cook for about 3 minutes. Divide the pasta and soup among plates, sprinkle with spring onion rings and Parmesan cheese and serve.