Exclusively hand-made with kitchen scraps such as stale bread, hardened cheese, eggs and broken beef marrow bones, passatelli, or rather passatelli soup, is a poor but definitely tasty dish typical of the ancient Emilia culinary tradition.
The Origins of Passatelli
Let's start from the name. Passatelli is a pasta obtained by "passing" the dough through a special tool called fer (the iron). It's quite similar to a ricer, formed by a slightly domed metal disc with a diameter of 15 cm, with holes of about 4-5 mm and comes with two side handles for crushing hard on the dough until it comes out of the holes, realizing that the typical shape: thick and coarse spaghetti .
Passatelli with mortadella and zucchini at Sfogliarina
How to make passatelli
In the past, passatelli were prepared only for important occasions: Easter, first and foremost, but also births, baptisms, or weddings, because it was necessary to use white bread and Parmesan cheese, at that time a real luxury! So at the houses of the rich passatelli were made of a lot of parmesan cheese, while at farmer's houses they were made mostly with stale bread.
The ingredients are very simple: bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, eggs, nutmeg and lemon zest. However, it required great skills in the working of the dough that should have the right consistency.
The so called "azdore", the wives of the head of the family who represented the true "guides" of the house especially the fireplace and the kitchen, certainly didn't lack of this qualities. You can learn their skills and secrets too during our Bologna cooking class.
My grandmother Teresa preparing Passatelli dough for Easter
The spaghetti obtained after the passing through the fer are cut with a length of about 4cm and, according to the tradition, are cooked and served in beef broth as a soup.
But passatelli are also delicious as a pasta. You can find them dried and seasoned in various ways, such as with sauces based on vegetables, meat, including sausage, mortadella, bacon for Carbonara etc. At Bagnacavallo (RA), at the fair of St.Michele you can find them with a sauce of Bursôn, a famous local wine.
Passatelli alla Carbonara at Osteria La Baita in Faenza
Ingredients for 4 people
For the dough:
200 grams of Parmesan cheese
200 grams of bread crumbs
peel of 1/2 lemon rind
3 tablespoons of flour
1 grated nutmeg
1 pinch of salt
For the broth :
3-4 liters of water
1/4 piece of hen
1 piece of beef
1 stalk of celery
Where to eat them
Via Francesco Petrarca, 11 - 40033 - Casalecchio di Reno (BO)
Tel. +39 051 6135389
Osteria N° 7
Via A. Costa 7, 40067 Rastignano di Pianoro (BO)
Tel. +39 051 742017
La Baita Faenza
Via Naviglio, 25c, 48018 Faenza (RA)
Tel. +39 0546 21584
You can buy them already made at:
Panificio Atti Bakery
Via Caprarie 7 - Via Drapperie 6 Bologna
Tel. +39 051 233349
You can find the tool to make passatelli at:
Antica Aguzzeria del Cavallo
Via Drapperie, 12/b, 40124 Bologna
Tel. +39 051 263411