Home-made Pasta Simmered in Grape Must (Moustokoulika)

Though popular belief maintains that Marco Polo returned to Italy from his travels in China bearing pasta, experts now surmise that the food may not have come from any one place but from several, including Ancient Greece.
Moustokoulika from Limnos  resemble miniature pretzels and are usually boiled in grape must.

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3 cups Limnos flour or 2 cups hard wheat flour
1 cup semolina
pinch of salt
1-1 cups warm water
4 cups grape must syrup (petimezi)
2 cups water


1.  Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl or basin.

2.  Make a well in the center and add the water.

3.  Using your fingertips, slowly incorporate the flour from the inner rim of the well, working it into the water until a mass begins to form.

4.  Continue doing this until the dough is more or less formed. It will be sticky and dense.

5.  Knead the pasta dough until it is smooth and firm, about seven to ten minutes. Let it rest for a few minutes.

6.  Divide the dough into six balls.

7.  Dust a large work surface with flour. With your fingertips and palms, roll out each ball into a strip about one inch in diameter.

8.  Working from one end, roll this strip a little at a time into a thinner strand, about half an inch in diameter and about four inches long.

9.  Take the end and bring it around so that it forms two loops, like a pretzel.

10. Break the moustokouliko off, and continue until all the dough is used.

11. Bring the petimezi and water to a boil and add the pasta, a little at a time.

12. Simmer for about eight minutes, remove with a slotted spoon, and cook the rest, in batches. Serve warm.


Limnos is still cultivating about 5,000 tons of wheat and barley annually, so it's rather easy to find flour from the island.
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