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pasta ribbons

Feminine pulchritude led to the invention of tagliatelle 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. It 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 about 15 years of practice to get it exactly right.

Don't worry. The classic sauce for tagliatelle, ragù alla bolognese, takes just as long to perfect.

Text © Dana Facaros and Michael Pauls

Images by: Irene Cassarinoi