Italy is the perfect place where you can learn how to make homemade pasta, at Slow Lake Como, in the Lake Como area we have fantastic cooking classes. One of the most appreciated types of fresh pasta we teach how to make is called tagliatelle.
Tagliatelle has an interesting story and origin: the name “tagliatelle” comes from the Italian word cut “taglio” made on the thin dough. The origin is from Emilia Romagna, a region in the central-northern part of Italy but it is spread all over the country. Already in the ancient past, the poet Orazio mentioned the special dough used to make tagliatelle, giving us the first historical reference about it.
According to a legend, tagliatelle were invented in 1478 by mastro Zefirano, the personal chef of Giovanni II Bentivoglio for the wedding of his son with Lucrezia, the daughter of Ercole d’Este. The chef was inspired by the beauty of Lucrezia and created the tagliatelle. A curiosity is that during fascism, Filippo Marinetti, writer inventor of Futurism, proposed the abolition of tagliatelle and maccheroni, as he considered them not so masculine, but it was a never listened to provocation.
To be perfect its width must be 8 millimeters corresponding to the 12.270th part of the Asinelli tower in Bologna (and about 7 mm when it is raw). The Confraternity of Tortellino and the Italian Academy of Cuisine in 1972 deposited the measure at the Chamber of Commerce of Bologna. And it is in the Palazzo della Mercanzia that there is a reproduction of an 8 mm gold tagliatella. However, there is no coding for the thickness, usually between 6 and 8 tenths of a millimeter. The tagliatella should be enjoyed strictly with meat sauce (“ragù”). The Bolognese one is so tasty because it is slow-cooked for hours on the stove.
There are different options of tagliatelle: in Lazio, this type of pasta is called Fettuccine, it is narrower in size than Emilian noodles, but they are usually seasoned with ragù. In Tuscany the most commonly used condiment is porcini mushrooms or wild boar ragu, while in the Marche they are considered a typical dish and are seasoned with various types of ragù, including duck. In Veneto they are used to prepare pasta and beans.
Here is the recipe of tagliatelle dough:
- Flour 300 g
- Eggs 3
- Salt 1 pinch
For the ragù:
- Beef 200 g
- Bacon 50 g
- Onion 1/2
- Carrot 1
- Celery 1
- Red wine 1 glass
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Pepper as needed
Here is the procedure: brown the bacon in a few tablespoons of oil, add a mixture prepared with vegetables. Finally, add the meat and brown it until it has reached a nice uniform brown color. Sprinkle with wine, let it evaporate and add the tomato paste, salt, pepper, and a little broth. Cook over low heat for a couple of hours, adding more broth if necessary. Mix the flour with the eggs and a pinch of salt, working the dough until you get a mixture of firm consistency. Roll out the dough into very thin sheets and cut into strips about one centimeter wide. Boil in plenty of salted water, drain it al dente and season with the previously prepared sauce.
Thanks to Slow Lake Como anyone can become a chef for a day and make homemade tagliatelle using healthy quality materials provided by local farmers. Making of pasta is a form of art: it is not only about cooking and eating but also understanding the products used in the recipes and the local traditions.
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