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pasta with a twist

If the first father of the human race was lost for an apple, what would he not have done for a plate of tortellini? an old saying in Bologna

The eternal symbol of Emilia and its famous cuisine, known the world over. The word comes from 'twist' and they are folded like Chinese wontons. In Emilia, they stuff them with meat (as many as five different kinds), plus cheese, egg, nutmeg and butter. Tortellini can star in a simple soup (tortellini in brodo) or as past'asciutta, often with a meaty ragú. If you make large ones, they're called tortelloni or turtelein in Bologna dialect.

The Bolognese are not an excitable race, but they go as gaga as Neapolitans on the subject of tortellini. For many, even the great University of Bologna, founded in the early Middle Ages, pales before plump rings of pasta as the city's culminating cultural achievement. Men have fought for the honour of tortellini; in the 1920s, when a visiting Venetian dared to insult them, a postman beat him up so badly that one ended up in the hospital and the other in jail (sentenced to six months without tortellini).

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Text © Dana Facaros & Michael Pauls

Image by cyclonebill, Creative Commons License