A New Pasta
This summer I visited Karin and Antonio who run a beautiful *Agriturismo in Montepulciano, Tuscany. A place I visit every year, first as a guest and now as a friend. Catching up with Karin is always inspirational and every year there is a new initiative they are working on. This initiative actually started a few years ago: Karin and Antonio set out to cultivate and grow an ancient grain on their biodynamic farm to develop a grain with a very high food quality: Good for the body and good for the soul!
They strongly believe in the importance of holistic and sustainable agricultural practices, advocating for a balanced relationship between the spiritual and physical aspects of farming. Biodynamic farming emphasizes working with the rhythms of nature and cosmic influences.
The reason was that conventional farming and its potential negative effects on food quality.
When we talk about Ancient Grains we are referring to those varieties that until the 50s were cultivated in a natural way. These ancient varieties have not been subjected to selection by humans, they therefore retain their original genetic heritage that only nature has selected over time.
Having kept their characteristics intact, Ancient Grains naturally have a lower percentage of gluten, this guarantees a balanced ratio of soluble and insoluble proteins.
Once harvested, the cereal is stone-ground using the whole grain without any loss of the precious nutrients found in the germ: the flour is, therefore, less refined, but very rich in flavors and fiber. This set of factors makes it extremely nutritious and tasty.
Cultivating and growing the grain was one part of the project, making pasta out of this grain was another challenge. It started with an experiment 6 years ago: using the wheat that was sown in the north of Italy, Enzo spent six years "communicating" with the ancient wheat to transform the gluten into protein. It was planted at the farm in Tuscany in the seventh year. This is the Tagliatelle Pasta (long, flat ribbons) I had the opportunity to taste and I can already reveal…. it is a great success!
This year, in the eighth year, Pereto has sown the wheat, and we will soon see the results. If everything goes well, they will be available on the market this winter; a pasta rich in flavours, extremely nutritious, tasty, full of fibre, and gluten-free.
I left that day with a box full of pasta (from the year-seven experiment). I always make it when we have friends and family over and every single person is blown away! As soon as the pasta is on sale, I will update this article and add where and how you can get your hands on a few bags!
One of my favourite recipes this summer:
- 300g pasta
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 3 medium courgettes (600g total)
- 4 garlic cloves
- 100g pistachios
- 150g low fat crème fraîche
- 1 bunch of basil leaves, plus extra to
- 50g parmesan
- 1 lemon
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, then cook the pasta for a few minutes less than per the packet instructions. Reserve a small mugful of the pasta water, then drain well.
- Meanwhile, heat the oil in a wide, heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cut the courgettes into lem rounds, season with salt, and fry over medium-high heat for 4-6 minutes, until golden brown, turning often.
- Peel and crush the garlic, roughly chop the pistachios (reserve some to serve). then stir both through the courgettes.
Cook for another 1-2 minutes.
4 Add the pasta to the courgettes along with the mug of starchy water and the crème fraiche, Bubble briskly, until the pasta is coated in a silky sauce. Roughly tear most of the basil leaves into the pasta, then finely grate in most of the parmesan. lemon zest and squeeze in half the lemon juice. Season and serve topped with the reserved pistachios, basil leaves, and grated parmesan.
*This pasta should be available by the end of 2023 (info will be updated when available)
Shop another pasta from ancient grains at Podere Repereto
Nidi di farro dicocco bio 500g
*They can ship the pasta outside Italy but there are delivery charges to pay, depending on the total weight of your order. Unfortunately, you can’t use the online shop, because it only works for deliveries in Italy, but you can send an e-mail with your order: email@example.com
*The word Agriturismo is a combination of the Italian words agricoltura (agriculture) and turismo (tourism). An agriturismo is effectively a farm designed to also receive guests, whether for food (lunch and dinner), holiday accommodation, or a combination of the two.