21 August 2014

In which PASTA

After a slightly rainy breakfast Wednesday morning (made us more grateful for the indoor restaurant with beautiful glass walls looking onto the river), most of the cruisers boarded busses to Bolonga, city of knowledge, food, and left-wing politics.
Arcades of Bologna
Like Padua, Bologna's city center is mostly covered by these arcades. There are a few dating back to the thirteenth century, but some have been added and restored as recently as twenty years ago. By the time we arrived, the rain had cleared up, so we had a lovely walking tour led by a local archeologist.
Father of rhinoplasty Gasparo Tagliacozzi
I was intrigued by our stop in the dissection classroom of the university, especially when this man's statue was pointed out. The room was ringed by figures of important thinkers, but this man was on the wall with some other Bolongese, and was introduced as the inventor of rhinoplasty. Apparently prostitutes with venereal diseases were marked by having their noses cut off, and this gentleman was kind enough to invent a way for them to carry on their business with restored faces. 

Of course, this whole walking tour was just vamping until the best pasta restaurant in Bologna was ready to receive us.
Custom-made rolling pin with rested pasta dough on a giant rolling board
We learned how to mix, roll, and cut pasta dough, taught by a woman who learned from her grandmother, and has been working professionally (making about one hundred portions of various pastas daily) for twenty five years. 
Making fagottini or 'basket' pasta
Filled pastas use a slightly thicker, wetter dough. Shapes like farfalle, tagliatelle, and angel hair use a thinner dough that's dried for a few hours hanging over the edge of a table, which lets gravity help in the process of lengthening the dough.
Hand-rolled pasta sheet after several hours of rest
The whole sheet is then rolled up and sliced into ribbons of the desired thickness. When you get toward the end of the roll, where the edge is uneven, that's where angel hair, and non-uniform pieces for soups come from.
Quadretti, garganelli, tortelloni, ravioli, sacchettoni, tortellini, tagliatelle, pappardelle, fettuchini, capellini
What did you have for lunch today?

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