Showing posts with label Pasta. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pasta. Show all posts

Hilopites: making fresh or dry pasta for winter soups and stews

Oct 17, 2015

     I can’t recall any summer of my life that we didn’t make dry pasta at home for the winter. What has changed through the years is my role in this family tradition. When I was little and we spent the whole summer at our cottage, my mother, together with the other housewives in our neighborhood, would organize a ‘’hilopites week’’. During this week they would gather at a different house each day and help each other with the hard work of making enough of this pasta for the rest of the year. More hands can make the process easier, faster and actually fun, with lots of laughter, cakes, coffee breaks and gossip. I and the other kids were given a piece of dough to use as a ‘’play dough’’ so as not bother the mums who were working with their rolling pins and knives. 
     Nowadays we make even more pasta for the tavern, and not just in summer but during winter as well. Rolling pins have been replaced with pasta machines and my adult role calls for fast hands on the bench. 
     Summer’s hot weather is. of course, ideal to dry the pasta in only  two days, but you can make pasta indoors all year long as long as your house is not humid and there is proper heating and fresh air. It just takes a few more days for the pasta to dry indoors. 
Hilopites  are the most common type of traditional pasta in Greece. Though the shape can vary a little from short ‘’linguine’’ to small squares, there is no right or wrong. Here in Peloponnese we make the small squares, shapes that can be easily used in soups, stews and savory pies. The type of flour used is ‘’bread wheat flour’’ but it can be substituted with all purpose flour and, if you like, some fine semolina too can be added to the mix. The other three ingredients are eggs, pasteurized milk, and a little salt for taste and the preservation of the dry pasta.
 Of course you can use this recipe to make fresh pasta too. The nice thing with homemade pasta is that after only three minutes of cooking and some grated cheese added, you have a lovely meal.