Emilia-Romagna, a region to the northeast of Rome, is home to the city of Bologna. This whole region and Bologna in particular are known to have some of the best food in all of Italy – which is quite the feat! If anything, it is certainly the richest – fresh egg pastas, rich meat ragu, Rarmigiano-Reggiano, thick syrupy balsamic vinegars, mortadella – a rich sausage stuffed with pork and cubes of fat…drooool…ANYWAY, back to the Tradition of the “Pasta of the Rolling Pin”.
Bologna is scattered with fresh pasta shops the way we have Starbucks on every corner. Every morning, the “Sfogline” – the pasta making ladies get to work on producing pounds and pounds of fresh tortellini and gnocchi by hand. The Bolognese stop by on their way home to pick up a kilo or so for dinner that night.
Here is how the pasta is made:
First, fresh eggs are added to Tipo “00” Flour – this is a finely milled wheat flour.
The consistency is closer to a fine talcum powder. This is what gives the pasta dough its soft texture.WHOA, those eggs are orange. In Italy these are typical eggs and they of a rich, high quality. We can get close to this kind of quality in the USA using only fresh eggs from local farms.
Next, after letting the ball of dough rest, the pasta dough is rolled out by hand with a “matterello” – a rolling pin made of cherry wood about 3 feet long.
Finally, once the pasta is rolled out, it can be cut into tagliatelle (long strands of pasta similar to fettuccine), shaped and twisted into tortellini, rolled into Garganelli, squeezed into Farfalle shapes, or any of the infinite shapes of pasta each with its own name:
Pappardelle, Cappelleti, Agnolotti, Taglierini, Cannelloni, Mezzelune, Caramelle, Tortelloni etc...