Pasta Tales by Lyndsey Marshall, Programme Manager


Every Italian food has to have a legend – a good story that lends its own kind of flavour, colour, character and form. Sometimes the legends are just stories designed to entertain and feed the soul as well as feed the appetite. There are multiple stories – every small town in Italy, after all, has to lay claim to something! Sometimes they are grounded in something more factual and concrete… the question is though… how do you tell the difference?


David Loftus Squid Ink Crab Web











The grooved quill shaped pasta. Originated in Romagna (Northern Italy) takes its name from the dialect word ‘garganel’ which is used to describe the cartilaginous rings around the trachea of chicken. They are made by rolling out squares of pasta around a pencil like stick and then rolling the tubes over a wooden comb. This gives them their distinctive grooves. Take note – Paddles can be bought in Lakeland for £5

There are a number of stories over the birth of garganelli – the most famous and most repeated is that it appeared for the first time in 1725 in Imola, in the home of the Cardinal of Aragon, Cornelio Bentivoglio, Romagna. Its claimed that a creative cook had rolled out squares of pasta to make cappelletti (a hat shaped version of “tortellini” a filled pasta typical of Romagna) for the cardinals lunch but when she discovered that the cardinals cat had eaten the filling, she had dozens of little squares of pasta all cut up and awaiting their stuffing and not quite enough filling to go round.

At that time, women used to spin hemp and the cloth was woven to make linen for the whole family. The cook went to the room next to the kitchen and having decided to dispense with the filling altogether and to make little maccheroni-like rolls instead, with the aid of the pencil-sized wooden twigs, normally used to light the kitchen fire and borrowed a tool from the weaving room:

“This is the true story of the origin of Imola garganelli, as told in the stables during the story telling sessions of the long winter evenings of Romagna”













Commonly known as “bow-tie pasta”, the name is derived from the Italian word farfalla meaning butterfly . Farfalle date back to the 16th century in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna in Northern Italy.

Farfalle come in several sizes, but have a distinctive bow tie shape. Usually, the farfalle are formed from a rectangle or oval of pasta with two sides trimmed in a ruffled edge, and the center pinched together to make the unusual shape. They are sometimes ridged, known as farfalle rigate. Different varieties are available – commonly – plain, tomato, and spinach. These are often sold together in a mix, recalling the colors of the flag of Italy. Though usable with most sauces, farfalle are best suited to cream and tomato dishes.

In addition to plain and whole wheat varieties, as with any pasta, other colours can be made by mixing other ingredients into the dough, which also affects the flavour; for example, beetroot for red, spinach/wild garlic for green and squid ink for black. In Modena, farfalle are known as strichetti.


pappardelleThis large, very broad, flat pasta noodle is similar to a wide fettuccine. The name derives from the Italian verb “pappare” – to gobble up! – served in Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen Cornwall, often with a rich meaty ragu or like here with wild garlic, giving the pasta a green colour and local mussels.



This is a type of ribbon pasta. It is like tagliatelle but is a thinner version. It’s traditional recipe is from Piedmont and typically served with butter and truffles, or a roasted meat ragu. Served in our restaurant with seafood, like Fifteen’s Seaside Taglierini.




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