Pasta Making

Today I had an incredible adventure learning to make pasta from scratch! The Italian Study Center (Arezzo) held a pasta making class this afternoon as a part of Italy week. I have always been curious about the art of homemade pasta, so when I saw this opportunity, I was thrilled! Lucio Bianchi was the instructor for the class, and guided us along as we mixed flour, eggs, olive oil, and salt to create dough. The technique was to form a flour “volcano” and then add the other ingredients to the well in the middle. Some advice Mr. Bianchi passed along was to always use whole wheat flour, because it leads to the best pasta. It was a fun, messy process incorporating everything together – you definitely need to use your hands to get a nice, even dough! Finding the perfect consistency required a trial and error process of adding slightly more olive oil if it was too dry, or slightly more flour if it was too wet.
The next step was to roll out the dough to a thin sheet using a good old fashioned wooden rolling pin. Flouring every surface the dough touched was extremely important, so that the pasta would not end up melded to the table or rolling pin! Once the dough was very flat, we rolled the edges inward to create two tubes, one on top of the other. We then used sharp, circular blades to cut this log into small pieces. This is considered the basic pasta shaping technique.
The final step was to unroll the pieces and marvel at our homemade strips of pasta. Although they were a bit misshapen and were not very uniform in length, they were certainly made with love.

Homemade Pasta Recipe:

1 Cup of flour (or slightly less)
1 Egg
1 Tbsp. olive oil
A pinch of salt

Fun Games and New Names

This past Thursday I had an incredible time attending a game night for international students and other OU students wanting to get to know their peers from around the globe. I arrived quite late due to a prior commitment, and I was worried that I would not be able to find a game to join or people who had not already broken off into their own groups. To my surprise, I was instantly greeted with smiles and enthusiasm when I asked a group of girls playing Guesstures if I could join in the next round. As they introduced themselves to me and told me where they were from, I couldn’t believe how many countries were represented! I had the chance to talk individually with many of them and learn a little bit more about their home countries and what they were studying in the US. One of the girls I met even showed me a photo of her hometown in Uruguay, which was absolutely beautiful!
I tend to be shy when I meet people for the first time, and I was surprised by how comfortable I felt. Everyone I met was so friendly, and they welcomed me right away into their international community! The game we were playing added another element of comfort to the situation, because it was based on charades. Since there were varied levels of English fluency present, being able to play a game that utilized the universal language of human movements was an awesome way to connect and have fun. I ended up walking with the group of girls back to the Traditions Apartments, and had even more time to get to know some of them. I began the night feeling quite lost among a sea of students from other countries, and ended up making some great new friends!