Presidents Day Reflection: Founding Fathers Love Pasta Too

On this Presidents Day we reflect that indeed a holiday is in order to celebrate our Founding Fathers and the men that have heretofore lead this great nation throughout its illustrious history. With that said, did you know that we can pretty much guarantee that unless there was a secretly gluten free leader-of-the-free-world,  pasta has been on the presidential diet since the inception of the United States. The proof comes straight from the journals of Thomas Jefferson.

Importing European traditions

Our famously multi-talented, renaissance man-executive officer, was not just an architect, writer, intellectual, but in addition he had an avid interest in winemaking, as well as pasta production. During his ambassadorial work in France, Jefferson became very acquainted with the fruits of Europe’s culture, artistic and gastronomic, and he sought to transplant these interests to America. His efforts lead him to important Italian plants such as apricots, olive trees and grapes, for his own gardening and wine production on his homestead in Virginia: Monticello (Italian for ‘little mountain.’)

Jefferson’d drawing of a ‘maccaroni’ machine with notes. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress.

A pupil of Jefferson’s, William Short, wrote to the future president that he had procured a “mould for making maccaroni” in Naples, and would subsequently have it shipped to his mentor. In hand written notes by Jefferson (image included) we can see this pasta machine is much like our modern day industrial extrusion pasta makers, which are the kind we use at our restaurant. Jefferson wrote:

“The best maccaroni in Italy is made with a particular sort of flour called Semola, in Naples: but in almost every shop a different sort of flour is commonly used; for, provided the flour be of a good quality, and not ground extremely fine, it will always do very well.”

Jefferson was most likely not the first to introduce macaroni to America, there are records of his purchases of pasta products from a John Sartori of Trenton (1809). However, Jefferson did have a small hand perhaps in popularizing it by serving it to dinner guests during his presidency

Thomas Jefferson’s surviving pasta recipe

The science of “making macaroni” has not changed much over the centuries. Good, hard semolina flour, fresh ingredients, the power of forced extrusion machinery and old world know-how will create the allure and irresistible taste of fresh made pasta. A formula for drawing in the everyday dinner guest or the most V.I.P. statesman alike. As Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence, we are endowed with certain ‘unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ So, declare yourself free eat pasta on Presidents Day too, in honor of the foresight of one of our greatest leaders. Included below, is a surviving pasta recipe held by Thomas Jefferson that mirrors all the qualities of our fresh pasta techniques. I guess some things never go out of style.

TJ’s surviving pasta recipe.

6 eggs. yolks & whites.
2 wine glasses of milk
2 lb of flour
a little salt
work them together without water, and very well.
roll it then with a roller to a paper thickness
cut it into small peices which roll again with the hand into long slips, & then cut them to a proper length.
put them into warm water a quarter of an hour.
drain them.
dress them as maccaroni.
but if they are intended for soups they are to be put in the soup & not into warm water

Source: “Maccaroni Recipe and Press Design,” n.d., Thomas Jefferson Papers, Library of Congress. Manuscript available online (see image 2 for recipe).

Valentine’s Day Dinner Boulder. Seats Still Available.

Our last post shared the details of our upcoming Special Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe dinner. Sure “Prix Fixe” is a French term, but consider it a global restaurant term for “great opportunity to eat well for a good price.” Certainly that is what we are offering with our four course event that features among many good notes our fine ravioli making skills, delicious pork belly option and a singular opportunity to enjoy a white chocolate mousse, hand made by our Chef and captain: Giuseppe Oreamuno.

Our past Prix Fixe meals have always been a success, and we plan to yet again bring our “A” game. Our goal is that when you think Valentine’s Day Dinner Boulder, we want you to think: Il Pastaio! We are also working on a special surprise that is almost locked in, hopefully it will come to fruition. The food is happening, the setting is ready all we need is your reservation to create a memorable night for our lovely diners.

The settings start at 5 pm, 7 pm, and 9 pm. This gives diners a good amount of time to enjoy their courses while also leaving plenty of room for your other evening plans. We are a small restaurant (only setting for 35 people at full capacity) so, that is why we stress the need for reservations, to ensure that we can get you and your special date seats. You can also contact us through out Facebook page.

We will have vegan options, but sadly, the ravioli will not be vegan. We will not have an on hand vegan pasta and there fore will not have a pasta substitution (this also means we cannot alter the price due to the demand of these dinners seats), but we will have gluten free gnocchi for anyone with a wheat allergy that cannot eat pasta.

Once again, thank you for your consideration and we look forward to seeing those of you who have made reservations at the meal. We wish you all a splendid day for lovers. Grazie Mille!

4 Courses, three time slots for your most convenient dinner hour.