- Addolorata Marzovilla, or Nonna Dora, has been making pasta for about 70 years. After emigrating to the United States in the 1970s, she started working at her son’s restaurant, I Trulli in NYC.
- Her expertise in making Puglia-style pasta has given her the nickname “the pasta machine.”
- INSIDER’s Herrine Ro visits the restaurant to see how Nonna Dora makes a few of her signature handmade pastas.
Following is a transcript of the video:
Nonna Dora: I am Nonna Dora. I can make pasta almost all my life.
Herrine: That’s so good.
Narrator: Addolorata Marzovilla, also known as Nonna Dora or the Pasta Machine, has been making pasta at i Trulli for more than 20 years.
Ben: Nonna Dora definitely is a pasta machine.
Nicola: My mum has been making pasta since she was a little girl. I would put it closer to 70 years. We named her Pasta Machine because my mother has the knack of making piece of pasta after piece of pasta exactly the same, and some people accused us of actually using a machine, so often we encouraged her to mess one up.
Narrator: At the age of 83, Nonna Dora refuses to retire and enjoys making her handmade pasta on the weekdays.
Nicola: She’s here every day Monday through Friday. People who walk in, she’s the first thing they see, and people like to even sit down and eat with her. Even when she has people sitting in front of her, she’s still just making pasta and pasta and pasta.
Nonna Dora: When my son, he want to open the restaurant, I said I’ll come with you and make pasta. I offered to make pasta. I teach the girl in the restaurant to make pasta. I come here to work Monday to Friday, five or six hours a day.
Narrator: Some of the more popular pasta dishes she makes include orecchiette, cavatelli, and malloreddus.
Nonna Dora: This is orecchiette. I am from Puglia, Italy. I came in the ’70s. They teach me to make pasta, my mother, my mother-in-law, my sister, the whole family.
Narrator: Do you think your mother would be proud of the pasta you make today?
Nonna Dora: Yes, yes. Every mother is proud for the daughter to make something.
Narrator: Nonna Dora likes to keep things fresh and makes sure that different kinds of pasta are always on rotation.
Nonna Dora: Now I have to make malloreddus. Now I have cavatelli.
Ben: I don’t know that our pasta is that much better, but I’m sure that the love and care that she puts into it probably adds something to it.
Narrator: I wanted to try Nonna Dora’s pasta myself and get a taste of her magical touch, so I ordered the orecchiette with rabbit ragu and the malloreddus with saffron sausage.
Herrine: Nonna Dora is really, I mean, really the Pasta Machine. She just cranks out that pasta like it’s second nature. I expect it to be soft and plush and still have a great flavour. So we’re gonna first start off with the orecchiette, orecchiette, orecchiette.
Nonna Dora: This is orecchiette.
Herrine: Orecchiette? I’ve only had store-bought, dry orecchiette before, and I thought it tasted fine, so hopefully when I taste this handmade one, it’s gonna be blow me out of the water. So also, fun fact, I’ve never tried rabbit before, so there’s a first time for everything, and today’s the day. Each pasta… Ooh, that’s gamey. Each pasta bit, shell, is all uniformly shaped. I know that if I was making this pasta, there would be one that’s teeny tiny and one giant old one, there’ll be rips everywhere. Delicious. I don’t…I can’t really say anything about the rabbit. As I’m eating this orecchiette, as I’m eating Nonna Dora’s pasta, she’s right behind me making more. She really is a pasta machine! Each pasta is handmade by Nonna Dora, and so I know that each of these little pasta bits are made with love. I’m eating 50 years in the making. Next up, the malloreddus. Oh, f— yeah. Sorry. That’s so good. This is it. I mean, all of them are delicious, but this tastes like a gnocchi, but the ridges just, I think each of the crevices kind of hug the sauce more because there’s more surface area, and it’s plush and soft.
Herrine: What do you think?
Jake: It’s not a bad gig. That’s really good.
Herrine: This dish, honestly, just feels like Nonna Dora has fluffed up some pillows, put me to bed, and tucked me in.
Nonna Dora: I’m happy when the people say, “Oh, it’s beautiful, the pasta. It’s good!”
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