making pasta in florence, italy!

we have been in florence the last few days as we’ve continued our adventure in italy. i have been to florence only one other time, but it is perhaps my favorite city in italy and it’s been such a treat to get to be back here with my family. yesterday, our family took a little pasta making class at a small restaurant in the city and we had so much fun!

eleanor, samson and conrad were determined to do each and every step of our pasta making, and i was impressed that even conrad didn’t grow tired of the repetition of many of the steps, which require a lot of time and patience. they were diligent about the details, like closing each ravioli just right. we’ve decided we will be bringing our new found pasta making skills home and attempting more homemade pasta in our kitchen soon. if it can get my kids out of their spaghetti and mac and cheese only rut and more into tortellini and ravioli and other special pastas (as well as sauces), i am all for it!

we made three different types of pasta and then ate them at the end, which turned into a fun little taste-test as eleanor decided we should judge the three kinds together. during our lesson, they set our table for making the pasta right up by their front window, which meant a lot of people walking by would pause and watch and point and wave. the evening before on our way to dinner, our family had paused and watched a few shoe cobblers making leather shoes in an old beautiful shoe shop, so i think it was fun for the kids to be in that situation where it was their turn to be the “apprentices” making delicious things inside the window. samson made a comment about how he hoped they could hear our instructor so they knew the recipe when they walked away. :)

a few photos josh and i took whenever the other one was holding the babies (in our rush to leave that morning we had forgotten to grab the baby carriers so we juggled babies on hips during this class and while i’d normally say that is a recipe for not the best time, i can’t tell you how much fun we all had regardless, with the babies being so good, and josh and i just switching off holding both while the other tried their hand at pasta making or taking some photos of the process, too. it’s definitely a highlight for me from our trip so far.

lots of photos!

just two eggs and some flour. incredible what it can produce.  the eggs here are so orange in color, and have so much taste to them. we are renting a small apartment here in florence and so we made a big batch of scrambled eggs one morning and i couldn’t stop commenting on the taste. we buy free range organic eggs back home in new york, but STILL, these just taste far more flavorful and delicious.  our instructor told us that while these eggs are still fresh, they are about 5-6 days old because they might be too humid if they are any fresher. helps with the consistency of homemade pasta in some way.

kneading the dough until it is very firm and almost elastic-like (activating the gluten) which usually takes about 8-10 minutes. this way when you roll it out very thin, it does not break.

babies in their papa’s arms!

making ravioli (we stuffed them with a mix of ricotta with a bit of parmesan – so it’s not too soft – and mixed the cheeses with some pesto.) they also had a truffle stuffing but we just nixed that before stuffing since none of us loves truffle.

the kids made perfect little ravioli squares with mama’s dough, too. they didn’t grow tired of this step so i happily handed my task over to them!

using just a touch of water on your finger to make a line around the edges and close the ravioli. the water works like glue and as long as you seal it everywhere, it’s good to go!

we also made a different shaped ravioli, like a tortellini but our teacher called it something else which translated to “bad hat.” it is something that looks like the pope’s hat? it was difficult for me to understand but if any of you are italian and know please help me understand in the comments! i tried looking it up after but didn’t have much luck.

after all of your pasta has been made, you just boil it for a few minutes (3-5 depending on the shape) and then mix in the sauce of your choice.

taste-testing all three of the pastas we made together at the end of our lesson! the kids loved the one with pomodoro sauce the most, but they also ate the ravioli and tortellini shaped ones with a light pesto sauce on top which made me very happy. those were my favorites of the three we made.

loving our time here in florence so much. it’s a beautiful city where i haven’t really eaten a pasta dish i didn’t love! don’t even get me started on the pizza….

  1. Wow, they look like pros! The past looks yummy! I am traveling to Italy with my now 8-month-old so I’m taking notes. Enjoy your vacation :)

  2. Natalie

    Looks so fun! I’m planning a trip to Florence right now, I’d love to know where you took this class at. Would you recommend?

  3. Franny

    This looks so fun (and delicious!) Was it cappelletti? It means “little cap,” and the ones your family made look about right!

  4. Giulia

    The type of tortellini you made is called “Cappellacci”, that in fact sounds like “bad/hugly hat” in italian :)
    You have “Cappelletti” as well, that sounds more like “small hats”.
    Cappelletti have the appearance of a medieval hat, made from a padded band that revolves around the head with a higher and falling side. Cappellacci can have the same shape, only larger in size.
    The cappellacci are characterized by a filling tending to the sweet-based pumpkin. To enhance their delicate taste, they should be served only with melted butter and a handful of grated Parmesan cheese. Cappelletti, on the other hand, are traditionally served in the broth in which they are boiled, with capon, chicken or capon and beef.
    Enjoy Italy!

  5. CC

    Looks great! Will you please share the name of restaurant/price?

  6. Euge

    That’s cappelletti (little hats)!
    Hi from Milan.

  7. Maggie

    I just did the exact same class in Florence, so fun and delicious! The “ugly hat” shaped pasta are called cappellacci :)

  8. Mary Jane

    What a wonderful activity for the whole family-such happy memories!❤

  9. Jacqueline

    This looks like so much fun! Can you share the name of the shop? I would love to visit.

  10. Jackie

    Wow!! We will be there this summer and this would be amazing to do with our kids! What was the name of the restaurant? Thank you for all of these amazing stories and experiences from your trip!

  11. Paola (Italy)

    I believe the “bad hat” ravioli are actually the “cappellacci” (cappello = hat ;-) ).
    in Italy you’ll find any kind of “stuffed pasta” with different shapes, and names, and insides, from the northern mountains to Sardinia and Sicily!

  12. Cristina Lázaro

    So nice! Could you please say to me in what place of Florence did you do this workshop? Thank you!

  13. Pirillinca

    You made cappellacci! :)

  14. Lindsey

    This makes me want to bust out my pasta roller/maker thingy and have my daughter help me make noodles. How fun! I mean we wouldn’t be in Italy, but I’m sure she wouldn’t care. Praying for rest in the midst of travel.

  15. Olga

    I was in Florence in September and loved it! This is such a fun activity to do with kids.

    If you’re still there, I recommend Tratttoria Zaza!

    Olga
    http://www.littlethingsolga.com

  16. Lauren

    This looks sooo fun! Definitely gonna try this with my son this weekend! He’s 8 and has ADHD so it’s so difficult to find activities that don’t quickly bore or frustrate him 😂 will happily give it a try though and see if this amuses him for a while! I’ll report back with my findings 😂

    IG: secretlifeofananxiousmum

  17. Lisa Amore

    Hi! The type of pasta you mentioned is cappellacci. They are originally from the Emilia-Romagna or southern Lombardy region. In the city of Ferrara they are stuffed with pumpkin and seasoned with butter and parmesan cheese. The term may refer to their shape, which is similar to the hats worn by farmers in the 19th century. There is also another type of pasta, called cappellini (small hats), which are similar to tortellini but a bit bigger. They are usually boiled in broth. Happy to see that you like Italian culture! Enjoy your stay!

  18. Kelsey

    We were here two weeks ago!!! Oh it makes my heart so happy to relive those moments!!! That is for sharing your cute family and helping me rembeer how much fun I had!

  19. Lena

    I guess the pasta is called cappelletti.
    Beautiful post and wonderful pictures.

  20. Silvia

    Hi! “Bad hat” pasta is Cappellacci! There is no link with Pope hat: the term Cappellacci refers to the shape similar to a straw hat typical of peasants of the last century.
    Enjoy your stay in my country!

  21. Victoria Siracusa

    Absolutely love this! So happy you’re all enjoying your time in Italy ☺️ I believe that pasta is called “tortelloni”. It’s like the cousin of tortellini! Enjoy your time and I’m looking forward to reading more posts on your journey! Xx

  22. Victoria Siracusa

    Absolutely love this! I’m so glad you’re all enjoying your travels in Italy. I believe the pasta you mentioned is “tortelloni” its like a cousin of tortellini! Looking forward to reading more posts on your travels! Enjoy xx

  23. Cara

    Headed to Florence with a 3 year old in July. Can you link this cooking class?

  24. Rachelle

    Going to Florence in April with a 5 year
    Old and two year. Please link the name of the class so we can sign up ASAP! Thank you!

  25. Elena Falcini

    Ciao taza, the italian name of thai kind of ravioli is “CAPPELLACCI” !
    Baci

  26. Lauren

    This looks like so much fun!!! I’m not usually a ravioli person but you have. Given me the worst craving!!