I happened to notice this in one of our cookbooks, A Mediterranean Feast.
A medieval instrument for forming macaroni is still used today in Calabria. Ferrassoli or ferrazzuoli is a kind of pasta made with a device called a ferreti, a thin iron rod. A ball of dough is rolled as thick as a pencil and cut into 2 1/2 inch lengths. One kind of ferreti is an iron rod that is greased and placed lengthwise on the rolls of pasta dough and rolled back and forth, wrapping the dough around the ferreti until one has 6-inch lengths. The dough slides off the ferreti and one ends up with, depending on the diameter of the ferreti, a kind of spaghetti with a large hole in the middle — what is called perciatelli or bucatini today in most parts of Italy, or ziti, rigatoni, or macaroni. Other instruments traditionally used to make this pasta in southern Italy and Sicily have been knitting needdles and billiard cues.
Fascinating, no? I’d love to watch somebody making this kind of pasta.
Did I tell you that one of my recent New Year’s resolutions was to make pasta? Well. I did it, but it was way more work than I’d bargained for, and my pasta was horrible. Two bites, then into the rubbish it went. But hey — resolution accomplished! I have since resolved not to make any more pasta unless I find a better way.