What a subject. The tagliatelle.
All over the world the ragu has been married to the spaghetti making one of the biggest mistakes in Italian history. Every time I see that in the menu I wonder why people want to destroy the so beautiful marriage of the tagliatelle and the ragu.
Let’s face the facts:
The ragu Bolognese is something typical from Bologna as the name says.
There the olive oil is a tourist. They have always used lard and butter.
Italians call Bologna “La Grassa” – Bologna the fat one.
Yes we will use prosciutto not bacon like seen in so many TV shows, recipes around the world.
The milk is extremely important as it is a way to tenderise the meat, to make it more creamy the ragu. It is the way they like it. Not the way we like it or want to change.
So very simple, if you wish to change this recipe that has been going on forever in the corners of Emilia Romagna, do so, but ensure you change the name.
It can be called your name after you decide to use bacon instead of prosciutto for example.
But please do not destroy what has been already damaged over the years.
Tagliatelle is the only pasta to be served with that. Off course tossed with butter – it is a must.
No Spaghetti – NO – NO – NO – Spaghetti belongs to the south and goes well with their sauce.
In the north, they like their tagliatelle, their butter, coated delicately with their very dry ragu and plenty of reggiano caro signore, per favore.
And this how my nonna told and retold the story of the Tagliatelle.
This is how it all started in Bologna.
What is it with us Italians? Always the woman becomes an inspiration, the food a form of art and somehow they express their love for the most beautiful part of the woman body!!! Well we leave the last part to your imagination, said nonna worried she would commit a sin in the eyes of God.
Let‘s start from the beginning, said nonna.
Once upon a time, to be précised the year of 1502 la grande Lucrezia Borgia was once again getting married. That was her third time around, another husband, another venom the story tells.
Lucrezia was beautiful, with long blond hair, pearls were embroidered all over her handkerchief and in her lovely hands the ring of the poison of love!
Lucrezia was unique, fluent in Italian, French, Greek and Spanish and with a deep knowledge of the Latin language. The banquets were her specialty, food and wine will flow and weeks would go by with the highest comments of her entertaining.
But the story also tells that Lucrezia could kill with her fatal caress or the secret venom inside of her ring. The venom recipe if you are interested? Almond oil with arsenic was the secret. Lucrezia quickly would drop the potion inside of one of her victims wine glass!
As you can imagine she would be busy with her love life, 3 husbands, many lovers, an illegitimate child and 8 legitimate ones and the sins this woman committed!
But now she is getting married with the famous Duke Alfonso D’Este. And all has been forgotten… A Bolognese Cook was quickly to create a pasta shape that will recall her beautiful blond long hair. And for that special ceremony, the tagliatelle was then invented.
Il tagliatelle, the story tells, since then was always tossed with the ragu.
Nonna, nonna, why all the places we visit outside Italy call this dish spaghetti Bolognese, asked Lucia.
Why the spaghetti took the fame, nonna? Was he the lover of Lucrezia added the little child starring nonna with her big blue eyes?
Maybe that is how the flavour of Lucrezia’s venom tastes for all Bolognese, said nonna!
Nothing insults more a Bolognese when their typical dish is called Spaghetti Bolognese!
So let’s call it loud and clear, so loud that the whole world can hear.
For once and for all. Let’s get this right.
Let’s call to enter the stage il Signore Tagliatelle con il Ragu.
And as they say in Italy: when you talk about the cucina Bolognese please bowl with respect.