Tagliatelle

Inspired by Lucrezia Borgia's Golden Locks

Tagliatelle al ragù

Feminine pulchritude, the inspiration for tortellini, was also the secret behind tagliatelle, invented in Bologna in 1487 on the occasion of Lucrezia Borgia’s wedding to the Duke of Ferrara.

The pope’s daughter had long golden hair, and a chef named Zafirano from the village of Bentivoglio, called on to help prepare the wedding feast, created the long fair strips of pale golden egg pasta in her honour. According to one old authority, the pasta must be rolled out until a person holding it up can be seen through the dough.

The Academy of Italian Cuisine, based in Bologna, has solemnly decreed that for pasta to be called tagliatelle, the width of the ribbons must be precisely 1⁄1,270th of the height of the Torre Asinelli, i.e. 9mm, no more, no less. It takes only 15 years of practice to get it exactly right.

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