Pasta in Cava between history and tradition

The Setaccioro pasta factory is located in Cava de ‘Tirreni, an ancient and historic city, consisting of about 20 hamlets that give it the characteristic of a star city. The lands of la Cava, well protected by the Picentini and Lattari Mountains, allow you to access the wonders of the Sorrento-Amalfi peninsula, which floods the surrounding area with the scent of lemons and salt.

Cava is a city with a strong commercial vocation, whose roots go back to the 15th century, a period in which numerous workshops of artisans and small traders populated Borgo Scacciaventi, today representing the oldest part of the historic city center.

The growth of the Metellian city reaches its peak in the first fifty years of the twentieth century. The territorial location, which still today the value of remarkable landscapes, the mild climate, the urban and industrial development, made Cava, in those years, one of the most popular and well-known tourist destinations for its industrial excellence both nationally and not.

In 1898 Andrea Sprecher decides to carry on the nineteenth-century tradition that sees the preparation of “maccaroni” in some shops of the course; Fascinated by the way in which the pasta is dried, or by hanging it on rods then placed on the doors of the shops, he decides to build a building in via Atenolfi where a pasta factory is set up.

In the same years as the Sprecher pasta factory, the factory was first called “Biscottificio Bisogno” and then became “Marcantonio Ferro e Figli, mill, pasta factory and feed mill”. The structure was located in Corso Giuseppe Mazzini; in it there was the production of excellent quality pasta, flour, semolina and feed, which were distributed in our peninsula but above all overseas.

Rather fragmentary news reports the names of other Metellian pasta factories. Among these we have the Pastificio Apicella in whose terranei premises, on Corso Umberto I, around 1934 the Metelliano Theater was built. The Senatore pasta factory was located in Passiano.

Some factors played a very important role in the choice of Sprecher and those who followed him, such as: the climate, the level of humidity that guarantees gradual and constant drying, the temperature and the wind. All these elements fit together perfectly for processing and excellent drying of the pasta.

A popular saying from the nearby city of Gragnano, well known as the city of pasta and from whose pasta-making tradition the Metellian city has drawn, tells that it mixes with the sirocco and dries with the mistral, but obviously there are no fixed parameters.

Among the advice handed down by the expert pasta makers of the Metellian pasta factories we remember: “to cook a kilogram of pasta, you need to boil eight liters of water in a container with a capacity of about ten liters. When the water has come to a boil, add the pasta and sixty grams of cooking salt. Always keep the water boiling and test the pasta from time to time. When it is cooked, according to taste (better if al dente), remove it from the heat, drain it with a colander and season it “.