Monday, October 31, 2011

Memories of Dad via Vintage Cavatelli Maker

When I was growing up in the late 50's and early 60's I doubt the term "stay at home" mom was in our vocabulary, but my Mom with 7 kids to look after certainly was one and as she will say now at 91 very happily so. She worked hard raising us Solomita's and did more than her share of of laundry, cleaning, cooking, helping with homework and numerous other tasks a parent has to do.

In order to feed a large family my Dad worked multiple jobs most of the time. So needless to say he was not in the kitchen very much, if at all. But I do remember him making Italian ices with a ice crushing machine that he had once in a while and also making homemade Cavatelli, a fresh pasta that is about 1/2 of inch long with a slit running down the length with ridges. You can still find Cavatelli in Italian specialty markets. I sometimes buy them at Caputo's on Court Street a family owned business that makes handcrafted Mozzarella and pastas. They have two types one with ricotta cheese and one plain.

With Little Buddy Biscuit Company temporarily out of action, I am in the process of testing different recipes that I might want to use professionally in the future. I am also doing a lot cooking for the fun of it, the kind that you don't have time when you are working full time. I thought it might be fun to try my hand at Cavatelli, which I made once before but not since I first received my Dad's Cavatelli Maker #50 made by Vitantonio Manufacturing Company of Cleveland Ohio, at least 35 years ago but my guess longer than that. I tried to locate them on the web but could not find an active web site and I found one post that said they went out of business.

I took the box upstairs from the basement and took the maker out of the box. Inside the box there is also an envelope filled with notes and recipes. There is an original sheet of paper from Vitantonio with two Cavatelli recipes, one with potato and one without. Uncle Tony also gave his own recipe "Uncle Tony's Style" to my Dad dated 1976. I love the fact that he signed the recipe "Get Fat Woody, Uncle Tony" Woody being my Mom's nickname (long story there).

My Dad also took notes when he made the pasta, not sure if he did each time but there is one from 1976, 1979, 1982, and 1983.
I would guess he made them more often than that but who knows.

I decided I wanted to try a recipe that I found on line that adds eggs and ricotta. Unfortunately this recipe produced a dough that was too soft and sticky to go through the rollers of the machine. I wound up rolling, cutting and shaping the dough by hand. After reading all the notes and setting up the maker it was kind of anti-climatic and disappointing, though the resulting pasta surely tasted good. Oh well I guess that means making Cavatelli again soon because I really want to crank out some pasta on the Cavatelli Maker #50 made by Vitantonio Manufacturing Company of Cleveland Ohio.

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