Pictured here from left: Dominique and Jill Deana, Raffaella Ruttell, Anna Deana, Rinaldo Zola & Kevin Deana with his (and Dominique’s) lovely daughter Gianna joining in on the fun.
Meet the Deana’s. Long-time local Durbanites with a strong Italian heritage and background and the family behind the Millstone Flour brand.
Gathered around their dining room table for a meal, you get an understanding of how passionate they are about Family …. and about Food! It’s this passion that sparked the family business back in the year 2000 – when Kevin, his brother David Deana and their business partner Mark Essery bought a traditional Italian stone mill and Just Flour Mills and more recently Millstone Flour was born. You can read more about that here: https://www.justflour.co.za/ and here: https://www.millstoneflour.co.za/our-story/.
The stone ground flours that Millstone proudly produce are less refined, giving the flour that sought-after nutty flavour and coarser texture. Their speciality flours include the Millstone Rye flour and the famous Millstone Farina 00 flour. The milling methods used ensure that the flour retains its flavour and nutritional value. Millstone flour is GMO free, preservative free, unbleached, health and safety accredited, kosher, Halaal certified, readily available and pocket-friendly compared to similar imported flours – in short, the Millstone range is everything a baker needs in a flour. Get to learn more about the full range here: https://bit.ly/2vPILKO. The Farina 00 flour is readily available locally with a number of stockists across South Africa including Makro and Checkers retailers.
We recently had the pleasure of cooking at home with a very special member of the Deana family. Meet Nonna Anna – grandmother of Kevin Deana and her companion Rinaldo Zola, (who is quite the chef himself) who visited us all the way from the lovely province of Biella, Italy. Nonna Anna and her late husband Nonno Renzo, moved to South Africa as young adults to seek work in South Africa. Here, they raised their family who grew up accustomed and treated to homemade, authentic pastas and pizzas before returning to live in Italy decades later. So now you know how the Italian influence in the mill came about, and what inspired the Deana’s proudly South African/Italian-inspired flour, Millstone Farina 00!
Nonna Anna and Rinaldo gave us a taste of their home country by whipping up some magic in the kitchen, when they showed us how to prepare authentic, fresh Italian pasta from scratch using Millstone Farina 00 flour. Less seems to be truly more in authentic Italian style as ingredients are kept to a minimum yet out comes something extraordinary.
Nonna Anna explains how the Millstone Farina 00 flour has a strong gluten network that is able to develop nicely, and shows us how easy it is to handle when making fresh pasta. This takes us to our first fresh pasta recipe, made by Rinaldo and his adorable assistant baker Gianna.
For this recipe you will need a pasta machine. If you don’t already own one, we recommend The Jamie Oliver Pasta Machine which you can order directly from takealot.com. Buon Appetito!
Serves: 100g flour makes enough pasta for 1 serving
For every 100g Millstone Farina 00 flour you will need 1 free range egg (at room temperature)
A pinch of salt
1. Beat the eggs in a bowl and add salt.
2. Using all of the measured out flour, form a mound of Farina 00 flour on a clean working surface with a well in the centre.
3. Add the beaten eggs to the well and slowly start combining the flour and eggs with your fingertips. Continue to knead to form a consistent dough.
4. Once done, cover the dough with a cotton cloth and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
5. For every 100g of Millstone Farina 00 flour used, break the dough into 2 balls.
6. Pass each ball through the pasta machine several times, tightening the rollers each time to achieve fettuccini or spaghetti of thin consistency.
7. Place finished product spread out on a cotton cloth, sprinkle a little flour and allow to dry out for about 10 minutes. Watch out for little fingers pinching as you go along!
8. If pasta is to be frozen, place loosely in a plastic bag and seal and freeze.
9. If cooking the pasta immediately: Place in boiling, salted water for about 4-6 minutes Do not cover the pot with a lid. When cooked, pasta will rise to surface of water. Remove from the water with a slotted ladle.
10. Rinaldo explains that perfectly cooked pasta should be ‘al dente’ (firm to the bite). Add a sauce of your choice and enjoy!
Oh and don’t forget to stop mid-recipe to rehydrate…. with Prosecco!
Our next recipe, proudly made by our Nonna Anna, is Italy’s most beloved dumpling!
As the story goes, in Veneto, near Venice during World War Two, Italians found themselves with very little sustenance available to them. However, what they did have available at the time was a decent amount of flour and potatoes. How those two ingredients were eventually combined to perfection to create the delight that is gnocchi we will never know! But, it has become a firm favourite in the Deana household! Which takes us straight into our next dish – Fresh Gnocchi Pasta.
For this recipe you will need a gnocchi wooden board/pallet. You can find these online on Ubuy South Africa (https://bit.ly/2XCR46K). This pallet easily transforms pasta dough into authentic Italian gnocchi. The ridges on the board help shape the pasta and add texture. They also help create a more consistent shape (rather than using a fork Nonna Anna explains) and won’t flatten delicate dough.
Nonna Anna and assistant little Enzo Alberto (Nonna Anna’s grandson, Kevin and Dominique’s son) really make this recipe look like a breeze. Be sure to use the board dry. Your tastebuds will be watering at the end of it!
FRESH GNOCCHI PASTA WITH A SAGE BUTTER SAUCE
600g Millstone Farina 00 Flour
500g potatoes (waxy or red skinned)
2 free range egg yolks (at room temperature)
Pinch of salt (for the boiling water)
1. Boil and peel the potatoes.
2. Mash the potatoes well and move to a large bowl.
3. Then, add the Millstone Farina 00 flour to the mashed potatoes (a small amount at a time) and fold in well, adding the yolks one at a time.
4. Knead well to a uniform consistency (good for your arm muscles).
5. Using the tip of your fingers, roll out the dough into a thick sausage shape and cut the sausage into 2cm pieces.
6. Roll each piece down the wooden pallet to form the gnocchi. If too soft, sprinkle some flour over them.
Pictured here is little Enzo giving his Dad (Kevin Deana) the nod of approval as he’s quite impressed with Nonna Anna’s shaping of her gnocchi.
7. Place a few gnocchi at a time into salted boiling water.
8. Nonna Anna explains that gnocchi is cooked when it rises to the surface of the water. Remove with a slotted ladle and serve immediately with a sauce of your choice. You can also add grated parmesan.
We couldn’t let Nonna Anna leave us without showing us how to prepare Italian tomato-based pasta sauce. You can add this sauce to any dish of your choice.
TOMATO BASED PASTA SAUCE
Serves: 6 – 8
1 onion chopped
Salt & pepper
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 stem rosemary
Sage (whole leaves)
Chilli flakes (optional)
1. Fry the onion in melted butter.
2. Add garlic, rosemary, sage and salt and pepper.
3. When the onion becomes translucent, add the tinned tomatoes and slowly cook for 15 minutes.
4. Ladle over cooked pasta and sprinkle some grated parmesan.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief trip down memory lane and cooking session with the Millstone Flour family just like we did. Be sure to prepare these recipes in true, traditional Italian style with the help of Millstone Farina 00 flour!
At the end of this, you’ll be what the Italians like to say “pieno come un uovo” (as full as an egg!). What a descriptive phrase, right? So which recipe will you be trying out?
Saluti! (Italian for “Cheers”}. Deana’s pictured from left to right: Dominique with daughter Gianna, husband Kevin with son Enzo Alberto, Jill Deana (Kevin’s mum), Raffaella Ruttell (Kevin’s Aunt), Nonna Anna and companion Rinaldo.