The history of Romagna is a history of poverty. Scarce in natural resources and mostly covered in swamps till the beginning of the 20th century, it has been under the ruling of different conquerors over time. None was more resented than the Pope’s domain. Romagna was a territory of the Papal state throughout the Renaissance and well into modern history, and that has developed a very anti-clerical attitude in the population.
How does this sentiment come through in the kitchen? The Fossa cheese was “discovered” because of the citizens’ refusal to pay taxes to the Pope, and hence putting their cheese in underground hiding places. More evident is the name of a typical pasta of the area, strozzapreti- literally “Priest Stranglers.” The diffused sentiment of resentment surrounding clergy was certainly not hiden!
A simple pasta made only with water and flour- and olive oil in splurging time, strozzapreti are long, irregular strings that took their name in one of two ways. One version says strozzapreti are named after the movement done when preparing the pasta, rolling the hand together repeatedly over a string of dough- a motion that applied to a person’s neck could be quite harmful. Another version has it that it is only the “wish” that the chefs would cast upon its eaters- most often, affluent members of the clergy.
Either way, don’t miss out the experience of savoring this spectacularly simple but unforgivable dish should you go through Romagna: you will never forget the experience!
Filed under: Traditional Foods