It’s not a pasta that I typically seek out. I’m not even sure I’d even had bucatini. But we all learned about bucatini in late December of 2020. Rachel Handler authored a spectacular article on Grub Street,”What the Hole Is Going On? The very real, totally bizarre bucatini shortage of 2020.” The internet was buzzing — #bucatini — was trending! Just days later, Dr. Jen Foell tweeted:
In the meantime, I was not really worried about it, until I started planning Knead & Nosh‘s first pasta class. Bucatini was not in the mix since I knew it would require an extruder, and my goal was to design a class that allowed anyone to make handmade pasta. Nonetheless, I fell into the abyss that is the internet, and lo and behold, I found bucatini. Well, I found a manual extruder from a company in Italy. It wasn’t that expensive. It had brass dies, something I’ve long heard and known creates superior pasta as compared to a lot of mass manufacturers that use teflon coated dies. And it was for research, right?
I placed the order the morning of February 14 at 9:38 am Eastern or 3:38 pm in Italy. Estimated shipping on the invoice said 8-10 business days. To my surprise, I had a shipping notification the morning of the 17th, and on February 19 at 3:39 pm my time, there was a box at my doorstep!
I’ve been making pasta with nothing but a rolling pin, my traditional Imperia pasta rolling machine, and as I’ll cover in the class, random kitchen items like chopsticks and bamboo skewers. I figured the dough had to be different, so I went back to the internet. As I suspected, recipe sites and long-winded (kinda like this post) blog posts talked about the dough being dryer and almost crumbly as compared to pasta that you roll into thin sheets with a pasta rolling machine. Recipes varied wildly from lots of eggs to no eggs, semolina flour only to a mix to completely all purpose flour. Lacking any consensus (which I’ve found to be the case for pasta dough of any kind really), I simply picked the top hit I on google, April Blake’s recipe.
April’s dough, once mixed, was not dry and crumbly. Since it’s basically just flour and eggs, the amount of liquid can vary depending on the eggs, so not her fault that my dough was wet and sticky. I added another 50g of all purpose flour, and I had a dry and crumbly dough. Covered the dough for a rest, and got a simple red sauce simmering on the stove.
20 minutes later, with the assistance of my sister, we attached the extruder to the counter, and I began cranking. It didn’t take long, and bucatini began to emerge from the extruder. A bit of fussing with how I had attached the extruder to the counter, and I was making bucatini at a good clip!
All told, in about an hour, we were eating bucatini!