Beet green and ricotta gnudi

April 7, 2011 § 6 Comments

The Italians have such a way with naming their dishes.  I love how they seem to have a sense of humor about it.  I’ve already mentioned pasta a la puttanesca, the fast and easy pasta supposedly named after, ahem, women of the street.  Strozzapreti, a thick slightly coiled pasta, means “priest choker,” and was purportedly given this name because villagers in Emilia Romagna would feed it to friars who came over for dinner (in those days friars ate free) as a first course in an attempt to stuff them too full to have much room for the more expensive second course, meat.

The nickname for tortellini means “sacred navel,” and one must admit they do look a lot like navels.  (Sacred because legend has it that an innkeeper created them after being so inspired by the sight of Venus lying sleeping, he wanted to come up with some tribute to her.  So, he made a pasta that looked like her navel.  Creative, if nothing else!)  There’s even a traditional way of cutting fresh pasta haphazardly at angles that is know as maltagliati, which just means “badly cut.”  Because, hey,why not just tell it like it is?  As long as it tastes good.

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