Strega Nona Pasta Recipe: A Taste of Italian Tradition

When it comes to Italian cuisine, few dishes can match the sheer comfort and flavor of a well-made pasta dish. And if you’re looking for a recipe that’s steeped in tradition and bursting with flavor, then the Strega Nona Pasta Recipe is a must-try. In this article, we’ll dive into the world of Strega Nona, the beloved fictional Italian grandmother, and explore how to recreate her famous pasta recipe. From the ingredients you’ll need to the step-by-step instructions, we’ve got you covered.

The Legend of Strega Nona

Before we jump into the culinary details, let’s take a moment to get to know the legendary character behind this famous pasta recipe – Strega Nona. In the heartwarming children’s book “Strega Nona” by Tomie dePaola, Strega Nona is depicted as a wise and kind-hearted Italian grandmother who possesses magical powers. Her magical pasta pot, which is said to never run out of pasta, takes center stage in the story.

Strega Nona’s character symbolizes the essence of Italian cooking – love, tradition, and the joy of sharing a meal with loved ones. This recipe pays homage to her legacy and is sure to become a cherished tradition in your own family.

Gathering Your Ingredients

To embark on this culinary adventure, you’ll need to gather the following ingredients:

For the Pasta

  1. 2 cups of all-purpose flour: Use high-quality flour for the best results.
  2. 3 large eggs: Fresh eggs are key to making the perfect pasta dough.
  3. A pinch of salt: Enhances the flavor of the pasta.

For the Sauce

  1. 2 cups of crushed tomatoes: Opt for canned San Marzano tomatoes for an authentic Italian flavor.
  2. 1/4 cup of olive oil: Extra virgin olive oil is preferable for its rich taste.
  3. 3 cloves of garlic, minced: Adds a delightful aroma and depth to the sauce.
  4. 1 teaspoon of dried basil: Aromatic basil brings a fresh herbal note.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste: Season to your liking.

For the Topping

  1. Grated Parmesan cheese: For that unmistakable Italian touch.
  2. Fresh basil leaves: To garnish and enhance the visual appeal.

With these ingredients in hand, you’re ready to start creating your Strega Nona Pasta masterpiece.

Preparing the Pasta Dough

Strega Nona’s pasta recipe starts with a homemade pasta dough. Here’s how you can make it from scratch:

Step 1 – Create the Flour Well

Begin by placing the 2 cups of all-purpose flour on a clean surface, forming a mound. Use your fingers to create a well in the center.

Step 2 – Add Eggs and Salt

Crack the three large eggs into the well and add a pinch of salt. The well will prevent the eggs from spilling over.

Step 3 – Combine Gradually

Using a fork, gently beat the eggs while gradually incorporating the flour from the sides of the well. Continue mixing until a dough forms.

Step 4 – Knead the Dough

Once the mixture becomes too thick to stir with a fork, use your hands to knead the dough. Knead it for about 10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Step 5 – Rest the Dough

Wrap the dough in plastic wrap and let it rest for at least 30 minutes. This allows the gluten to relax, making it easier to roll out later.

Making the Tomato Sauce

While the pasta dough is resting, you can start preparing the delicious tomato sauce:

Step 1 – Heat the Olive Oil

In a saucepan, heat the 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat.

Step 2 – Sauté the Garlic

Add the minced garlic and sauté it until it becomes fragrant and just begins to turn golden brown.

Step 3 – Add Crushed Tomatoes and Basil

Pour in the 2 cups of crushed tomatoes and add the teaspoon of dried basil. Stir well to combine.

Step 4 – Simmer and Season

Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 15-20 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Rolling and Cutting the Pasta

Now, it’s time to roll out and cut the pasta dough:

Step 1 – Roll Out the Dough

Divide the rested dough into smaller portions. Roll out each portion into a thin sheet using a rolling pin or pasta machine.

Step 2 – Cut into Desired Shapes

Cut the rolled-out dough into your desired pasta shapes. You can go for classic fettuccine or opt for something fun like farfalle (bowtie pasta) or orecchiette (little ears).

Cooking and Serving

Step 1 – Boil the Pasta

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the freshly cut pasta for about 2-4 minutes or until it’s al dente, which means it’s cooked but still slightly firm to the bite.

Step 2 – Combine Pasta and Sauce

Drain the cooked pasta and toss it in the prepared tomato sauce.

Step 3 – Garnish and Serve

Serve your Strega Nona Pasta hot, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil leaves. It’s a dish that’s meant to be enjoyed with loved ones, just like Strega Nona intended.


The Strega Nona Pasta Recipe is not just a meal; it’s a journey into the heart of Italian tradition and flavors. As you savor each bite of homemade pasta coated in that rich tomato sauce, you’ll feel the warmth and love that goes into every dish in Italian culture. So, why not carry on the tradition and create your own Strega Nona moment at your dining table? Buon appetite!

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FAQs about Strega Nona Pasta Recipe

Can I use store-bought pasta for this recipe?

Yes, you can use store-bought pasta if you’re short on time. However, making your own pasta from scratch is a rewarding experience and adds an extra layer of authenticity to the dish.

What can I substitute for fresh basil in the sauce?

If you don’t have fresh basil, you can use dried basil. Just reduce the amount to 1/2 teaspoon since dried herbs are more concentrated in flavor.

Can I make the pasta dough in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the pasta dough in advance and refrigerate it for up to 24 hours. This can save you time when you’re ready to cook.

How can I store leftover Strega Nona Pasta?

Store any leftover pasta in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2-3 days. Reheat it gently in the microwave or on the stovetop.

Can I freeze Strega Nona Pasta?

Yes, you can freeze the pasta dough and the tomato sauce separately. Wrap the pasta dough tightly in plastic wrap and store it in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. The sauce can be frozen in a suitable container for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to enjoy, simply thaw and follow the cooking instructions.