Fresh Southern Italian Handmade Pasta and Its History

Pasta is commonly associated with Italy, and indeed there are more than 300 types of pasta to be found on its peninsula!

On Sunday, June 21, at 12:00 PM EDT, join VAWAA Artist, culinary historian and archaeologist Ursula for fresh handmade pasta making from scratch. We'll prepare cavatelli, a precious recipe from Southern Italy. Ursula will also introduce you to a couple of other short pasta shapes — orecchiette, strascinate, and the medieval itriyya — for which you won’t need a pasta machine, not even a rolling pin — simply a wooden board and a knife!

Did you know ancient Romans already ate some kind of pasta, laganum, which might have been a kind of lasagne, or maybe an unleavened pie crust? It's not entirely clear, and pasta as we know it only came to Italy later… While our hands will be kept busy, we'll also discuss the rich history of Italian pasta and its unlikely origins (no spoilers here).

Joining us from a different time zone? Be sure to convert the time.

What you'll need

For the pasta
- 2 cups of durum wheat semolina
- salt
- small knife without dents
- wooden board (plastic doesn’t work well - surface should be a little rough)

For the sauce (adjust to taste and availability)
- fresh sage
- couple of garlic cloves
- olive oil
- black pepper
- cooked chickpeas
- parmesan cheese

How to join

We'll be hosting this VAWAA Online on Zoom. We'll send you the link and details to join via email a few hours before it begins.

About Ursula

Ursula is an archaeologist and cook, passionate about sustainability. For years, Ursula worked on excavation projects in Syria, Turkey and Egypt, where she often lived in small, traditional villages where locals would produce much of the food themselves. Inspired by this way of life, Ursula picked up a variety of recipes and traditional food preparation techniques throughout her travels.

Historic methods of producing and cooking food inspire Ursula academically, but also motivate her lifestyle. “Humanity has been able to sustain itself without extreme over-consumption for millennia, without exploiting the planet,” Ursula explains. She believes that looking back to traditional cooking techniques also encourages getting back to a more sustainable way of living. Ursula’s self-sufficient, solar-powered estate in Southern Italy, shared with her husband, harkens back to simpler times. Ursula grows most of her  food, eats fresh ingredients seasonally, raises chickens, makes wine and olive oil, and in her spare time, practices archery!

Visit her artist page to learn more about her in-person VAWAA.


"She is a powerful and kind person with an impressive knowlege of history and great instincts for food and people." - Katie

"I particularly enjoyed Ursula’s way of being both rigorous in her explanations, while joking and being thought provocative about the evolution of our habits, tastes and beliefs through the ages." - Fredy

"Her wealth of knowledge on history, archaeology and the culinary traditions of Italy made for an informative and delicious experience." - Cherri

Sessions are ticketed to support artists, makers and our small team. If you’re experiencing financial hardship, please reach out. We may have a generous participant who has paid it forward and would ask that you pay the love forward by sharing online sessions with 3 new friends.