Maccheroni al Ferro…Hand-Rolled Pasta

Of all the pastas being made by hand I remember while growing up, this one holds the most joyous memories and tradition for me. For Sunday Dinner or special occasions, my maternal and paternal grandmothers would sit across from each other, on their lap would be a wooden board that they used as their table top. They would chat and chat and chat and laugh (they were good friends before their children married) and laugh all the while cranking out handmade pasta, one by one they would roll the dough into ropes before cutting it and then pressing each piece onto a thick piece of straw, using both hands they would then press and roll and stretch and then meticulously wiggle each pasta strand off the straw and onto a tablecloth to dry. They were really fast at it too! Many towns in Calabria make this shape, each in their own way and each has their own name for it. I love the way the sauce gets stuck in the hole, mmmm!

Nonna’s Notes: In the old days women would spit on their palms to add moisture to the dough to roll it right. Yuk! We do NOT recommend that! LOL So please make sure you keep the pasta covered in between use either with plastic wrap or in a sealed container that holds in moisture.



  • 2lbs Italian 00 Flour
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ cup water 200ml

Preparation Steps:

  1. Mix all ingredients very well with hands until smooth (IF you have the upper strength of a Calabrian Nonna) or (like me) use a stand mixer fitted with a hook attachment. Dough should not be sticky, it should be pliable and uniform. It should not stick to your hands or counter. Keep in a sealed container in-between rolling into ropes to lock in moisture. (You don’t want to have to use spit! See Nonna’s notes!)
  2. Press a 5” rope onto the stick, press and stretch until you’ve created a hole in pasta and wiggle it off the stick. Place on a tablecloth to dry. The pasta can be cooked right away, left out to dry overnight and then frozen for later use. When you’re ready to cook it, bring a large pot of water to boil and add enough salt to make it taste like the sea.
  3. Add pasta and stir occasionally until cooked but still al dente – about 15-20 minutes. It will start to float, taste for doneness and serve with Sugo con Carne Sauce.