Does Carmela have a passion for pasta? Some would say this is a ridiculous question, I live and breath pasta. From the moment I open my sleepy eyes to the moment I close them. I wouldn’t call it an obsession , it is a passion, a passion and love I adore in so many ways.

My first book ‘Southern Italian Family Cooking‘ touched lightly on pasta, offering around 20 or so pasta recipes. The second book I’m writing will have between 100 to 125 recipes, including regional pasta and sauces, many that you may not have heard of but I will discover and fall in love with their history as well as their flavour and taste , I’m sure!

Whilst visiting Romagna recently I was honored to cook with Nonna Violante at the beautiful family run Hotel Eliseo. Strozzapretti , is the names of a pasta shape and this is a shape I cook all the time, when I am able to find them, however I was yet to master the shape by hand. Nonna Violante soon demystified how to make ‘Strozzapretti’ by hand. Its simply a little breathtaking, well it is to me as pasta is a fundamental part of my writing, teaching and daily life.

So ‘Strozzapretti’….What does this long word mean? Strozzaprezzi means – Priest strangler or priest choker. Is there any significance to the name at all.   Well as a matter of fact, legend has it that priests were so taken with this shape they would gorge on it so quickly, choking and some even collapsing to the floor and dying! This is a regional shape from the Emilia Romagna, Marche and Umbria regions of Italy. A beautiful shape that can withstand a robust sauce.

I wanted to share with you a few pictures of Nonna Violante and I making strozzapretti by hand.
The dough is made with 00 flour, egg and water. Rolled out and cut into strips. Each strip is then rolled between the palm of your hands and cut to the desired length. A beautifully delicate shape which is relatively easy to master with a little work. Grazie again Nonna Violante, forever my inspiration…..x

Rolling pasta dough


Nonna Violante and I making Strozzapretti
Making strozzapretti


Strozzapretti fatt a mano



Strozzapretti con pomororini e salsicia