The rolling pin is arguably one of the simplest tools found in a kitchen, yet the type, style, and composition can provoke quite a debate.
What you should know about rolling pins
The French prefer handle-free rolling pins. Rolling pins without handles are most widely known as French rolling pins, and they are the preference in many kitchens because of their maneuverability and the level of control they provide. Sans handles, the pin offers a more direct connection to the dough in front of you. So once a baker is comfortable working with one, the pin can begin to feel like a fluid extension of one’s own arms and hands. (allrecipes.com)
Italian Tradition dictates a rolling pin with handles. According to lacucinaitaliana.com, The rolling pin capital is Emilia Romagna, where the razdore (a local term for the women who roll out pasta) have used them since they were girls in making homemade tagliatelle or tortellini. With ancestral skill, they pushed a rolling pin back and forth over the dough, making it so thin it was nearly transparent. They used this thin dough to create tortellini or tagliatelle, which some continue making at home today using a pasta rolling machine.
It is not just a rolling pin
I have my grandmother’s rolling pin. It is nothing extraordinary. It is well-worn and makes a squeaky sound when you roll it. The handles are that old-fashioned Italian green, and the paint is chipping. But all I see are her hands stretching pizza dough and rolling it thin to fit in the odd assortment of pizza trays she had in the pantry. I can hear her voice in that kitchen with dough and flour all around her. When we cleaned out her house some years later, I took the rolling pin.
Chip used only her rolling pin every Friday night. He even took it to the lake one summer because who doesn’t bring a rolling pin, an oversized cutting board, and a pizza cutter on vacation? Making pizza was a production. We would chat about what we were going to make as we sat and discussed our latest pizza creation. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Pizza with black garlic
- Peaches and Pancetta Pesto Pizza
- Tequila Shrimp Pizza with Chorizo & Cilantro Pesto
- Pizza with Caramelized Onion, Pears, Chicken & Blue Cheese
- Mascarpone Lobster Pizza
- Hot & Spicy Monkey Pizza, aka Sopressata and Manchego pizza
- Clams Casino Pizza
- Pizza with Clams and Olives
- Chocolate Pizza
Now her rolling pin sits idly in my drawer, along with all the other cool and useful cooking tools and utensils that I can no longer use. It is calling for loving hands to bring it to life yet again. I cannot answer that call. Today would have been Chip’s birthday, and if ever I was incented, it would have been today. My grandmother’s rolling pin will return to glory one day when a new generation is ready to roll up their sleeves and shape their perfect creation. I look forward to that day. But ‘till then, still (not) cooking.