another very brief pasta-inspired gift guide
five of my favorite things
Don’t mind me, sneaking in one more newsletter before T-Day. I realized with some alarm that holiday gifting season is nigh (which, as a perpetual last-minute gift-giver, means it’s already in full swing), and I’d be remiss not to offer a few suggestions for the pasta-lover, -maker, and/or generally enthusiastic cook in your life. (I assume that you, dear reader, fall into that category, too, and to that I say: treat yo self!)
I’m forever in favor of a gift guide that’s short and sweet, so here are five things that I can personally attest to being great. If you’re looking for even more inspiration, check out last year’s slightly longer round-up (I’m still eyeing that Made In Dutch oven!) and, of course, my own holiday offerings: My cookbook, Pasta Every Day, makes a great gift, and I also have a handful of private virtual pasta classes for sale through the end of the year, or until sold out. Click here for details. (Oh, and you can also gift a subscription to this newsletter!)
Let’s get into it!
Another Brief Gift Guide for Pasta-Lovers and -Makers
q.b. cucina x Molino Pasini Pasta Flour Subscription ($15-28)
My favorite destination for pasta tools, q.b. cucina, now supplies my favorite pasta flour, Molino Pasini! Better yet, q.b. is offering a subscription service that ships the flour straight to your door every three months. The subscription comes in two tiers: The Weekend Pastaio, for the occasional pasta-maker (includes one bag of 00 “Pasta Fresca” flour and one bag of semola di grano duro flour), and The Everyday Pastaio, for the more regular practitioner (includes two bags of each).
I can’t overstate my love of Molino Pasini. The company, based in Mantua, has been milling top-quality flour for over a century. When I first started making pasta, I received a bag of their flour as part of a brand package and used it to make pici. I immediately noticed the difference: Molino Pasini flour is silkier and more powdery than any other flour I’ve seen, resulting in pasta that’s incredibly smooth and tender. After polishing off that first bag, I searched fervently for more, but to no avail—until now. As of this year, Molino Pasini flour is available to U.S. consumers, and you’ll rarely find me using anything else.
PS: q.b. cucina also released a Pasta Every Day Gift Set ($80) featuring the book and a few of my favorite things, including two bags of Molino Pasini flour and my go-to olive wood gnocchi board!
Etto Pasta Gift Basket ($55)
There are a lot of great dried pasta brands out there, but this year Etto Pastificio sits at the top of my list. Etto is a small, family-owned pasta producer based in California. The company uses American grains, but their techniques and equipment are entrenched in Italian tradition, particularly the practices used in and around Gragnano, Italy’s hub of high-quality pasta production. Not only does this care and dedication shine in the finished dish—the pasta is deliciously al dente and holds its shape extremely well—but the shapes themselves are such a joy to eat, from classics like casarecce and conchiglie to the whimsical pet-shaped fido and figaro (great for kids!). Etto has a variety of gift boxes on hand (including a Pasta Every Day gift box, which I just discovered while writing this!), or you can contact them directly to create your own.
Romagnoli Pasta Tools Mattarello ($68-$160)
Filippo Romagnoli is one of the kindest, most talented artisans I’ve ever met. Based in Tuscany, Filippo and his family have been carving pasta tools—primarily corzetti stamps—since 1918. I have seven of Filippo’s stamps (they make a wonderful gift, too!), and now I have one of his beautiful mattarelli, a traditional Italian rolling pin. If you’re a serious pasta-maker or just want to get better at rolling dough by hand, this is for you. Filippo’s mattarelli are hand-carved into the traditional shape, based on his grandfather’s sketches: Each pin has rounded ends that make it easier and more comfortable to use, and can also help with, according to Filippo, grinding spices, crushing herbs, and tenderizing meats. The mattarelli are made from extremely solid and durable beech wood from the UNESCO Ancient Primeval Casentino’s Beech Forest, which spreads from Tuscany to Emilia-Romagna. This is a gift that will surely last a lifetime.
Note: My mattarello, like the one pictured here, is 44 inches, which is very long; 36 inches is also common and will better serve smaller spaces.
D.S. & Durga Pasta Water Candle ($70)
Okay, I have a bit of a candle problem. Actually—I have a bit of a D.S. & Durga candle problem. My husband and I discovered the New York-based brand years ago, when we lived in the city and treated ourselves to a staycation at The Beekman hotel downtown. Yes, the hotel was memorable (we’ve been back several times since), but so was the scent, a bespoke concoction created by D.S. & Durga. Although we can’t easily hop over to The Beekman anymore, we can bring the luxe hotel vibe home with a D.S. & Durga candle. I’m recommending the Pasta Water scent for the sake of this newsletter (it’s fun! and cool! and actually smells like pasta water!), but my favorite annual purchases are Portable Xmas Tree, Portable Fireplace (noticing a theme here?), and Johnny Walker Blue Label (currently sold out but worth waiting for!).
Making a big jump up the price ladder here! I had the pleasure of working with Frank Darling a few weeks ago on a social media campaign for their pasta-inspired wedding band collection. I don’t have a lot of fine jewelry, but I immediately fell in love with their trofie ring (pictured below; coming soon!), and it hasn’t left my finger since it arrived on my doorstep. Frank Darling’s pieces are high-quality, sophisticated, and delicate. It’s easy for pasta-themed jewelry to fall into the kitsch category, but these definitely do not. So, if you’re looking to spend a bit of extra cash on someone extra-extra-special, give this collection a look. (I’ve linked the capellini ring above, but they also have bands inspired by canule, barbine, rigatoni, rigatini, and lasagna.)
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