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Testaroli

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Testaroli
A plate of testaroli with pesto, as served at a trattoria in Pontremoli, Italy
A plate of testaroli with pesto, as served at a trattoria in Pontremoli, Italy
TypePasta, bread
Place of originEtruscan civilization, Italy
Serving temperatureHot
Main ingredientsFlour, water
Ingredients generally usedSalt
VariationsFalsi testaroli al ragu
Other informationMay be served with pesto sauce, olive oil, Pecorino cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano or garlic

Testaroli, sometimes referred to as testarolo,[1] is a type of pasta or bread in Italian cuisine that is prepared using water, flour and salt, which is sliced into triangular shapes. A common dish in the Lunigiana region and historical territory of Italy, it is an ancient pasta originating from the Etruscan civilization of Italy. Testaroli has been described as "the earliest recorded pasta." It is also a native dish of the southern Liguria and northern Tuscany regions of Italy.

Testaroli is prepared from a batter that is cooked on a hot flat surface, after which it may be consumed. It is traditionally cooked on a testo, a flat terra cotta or cast iron cooking surface from which the food's name is derived. It is sometimes cooked further in boiling water and then served. Testaroli is sometimes referred to as a bread, similar to focaccia in composition, and is sometimes referred to as a crêpe. It may be dressed with pesto sauce or other ingredients such as olive oil, Pecorino cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and garlic. Falsi testaroli al ragu is a similar dish prepared using sliced pasta dough and a ragù sauce.

Etymology[edit]

Testaroli's name is based upon the testo, a terra cotta or cast iron cooking device with a hot, flat surface that testaroli is traditionally cooked on.[2][3]

History[edit]

Testaroli is an ancient pasta[4][5] that originated from the Etruscan civilization,[6] a civilization of ancient Italy. The book Rustico: Regional Italian Country Cooking states that testaroli is "a direct descendant of the porridges of the Neolithic age that were poured over hot stones to cook."[2] It is a native dish of the southern Liguria and northern Tuscany regions of Italy.[4][5] According to an article published by The Wall Street Journal, it is "the earliest recorded pasta."[1]

In the Italian province of Massa and Carrara, located within the Tuscany region, it was a peasant food consumed as a one-course meal, topped with grated cheese and olive oil.[7] In Massa and Carrara, it was sometimes accompanied with stracchino cheese or charcuterie.[7] Testaroli remains a very popular dish in Pontremoli, a small city in the province of Massa and Carrara, where it is served at virtually every restaurant in the city, during both mornings and evenings.[a] Testaroli is also a common and specialty dish in the Lunigiana region and historical territory of Italy, which is located between the Liguria and Tuscany regions.[6][9][10]

Testaroli have been celebrated by Lunigiana-born Col. Primo Tomellini with a vibrant and vivid poetry.

Overview[edit]

Ingredients and preparation[edit]

Testaroli being sliced
Testaroli being sliced

Testaroli is a type of pancake-like pasta prepared using water, wheat flour and salt that is sliced into triangular shapes.[b][6][12] Chestnut flour is sometimes used in its preparation.[9][13] The ingredients are mixed together and prepared as a batter, after which it is cooked, sometimes using a two-stage cooking process.[6] In the typical first stage, and sometimes only stage of cooking, the batter is poured and cooked on a hot, flat surface in the style of a pancake or crêpe.[c][4][6][10][15] In this process, testaroli is traditionally cooked on a testo,[6] which may be prepared for use by being heated over hot coals.[15] A skillet is another cooking device that can be used to cook the batter.[d] The pasta is then sliced into triangles, and is sometimes directly served after this cooking process.[1][10] In the second cooking stage that is sometimes performed, the pasta may be set aside to cool, and then cooked further in boiling water.[6][16]

Testaroli is sometimes referred to as a type of bread that is similar to focaccia,[3] and is also sometimes referred to as a crêpe.[17] The book The Italian Country Table refers to testaroli as a "near cousin to pasta", and as a "great round pancake-like bread no more than a quarter inch thick."[3] This book also states that when it is baked to a crisp texture, it can be consumed in the style of a bread, whereas when baked less, it may have a spongy and soft texture, like a pasta.[e] Cooking methods vary in different areas of Italy, and some of these methods are traditional in nature.[e]

Service[edit]

Testaroli is sometimes served with pesto sauce,[6][17] which is a common addition to it in the Liguria and Tuscany regions of Italy.[10][13][18] Another dressing method includes the addition of olive oil, Pecorino cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, garlic and basil.[10][18][19] Significant amounts of sauce may absorb into testaroli.[5]

Falsi testaroli al ragu[edit]

A very similar dish is falsi testaroli al ragù (English: "false testaroli in ragù"), which is prepared using sliced pasta dough and does not involve the use of a batter or cooking on a testo.[15] It is served with a ragù, an Italian meat-based sauce.[15]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Yet in Pontremoli there is not a single restaurant that does not offer testaroli, morning and evening, daily brought fresh from the villages surrounding the town, at midday and the evening as well."[8]
  2. ^ "The local culinary speciality is a type of large pancake-like pasta, testaroli, available in any one of the town's ..."[11]
  3. ^ Pesto here is served with primitive pasta called testaroli—a crêpe-like Ligurian concoction that is rolled out and pan-fried, then cut up in spongy ...[14]
  4. ^ This centuries-old pasta dish is prepared like a pancake in a hot skillet, then ... Once testaroli are cool, cut into diamond-shaped pieces about 6 ...[1]
  5. ^ a b "When baked to soft and spongy, (a state reached in several different ways, each traditional to its own area), tesatroli straddle the line between bread and pasta."[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d Dunn, Elizabeth Gunnison (December 13, 2013). "Historical Recipes Are the Next Big Thing". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 5, 2016. (subscription required)
  2. ^ a b Negrin, M. (2002). Rustico: Regional Italian Country Cooking. Clarkson Potter/Publishers. p. 48. ISBN 978-0-609-60944-6.
  3. ^ a b c d Kasper, L.R. (1999). The: Italian Country Table. Scribner. p. 318. ISBN 978-0-684-81325-7.
  4. ^ a b c Pyenson, Luke (July 30, 2013). "Genovese pesto 'pancake'? Perfetto!". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 5, 2016. (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b c White, A.; Varney, J. (2012). Philadelphia Chef's Table: Extraordinary Recipes from the City of Brotherly Love. Chef's Table. Lyons Press. p. 94. ISBN 978-0-7627-8944-3.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h May, T. (2005). Italian Cuisine: The New Essential Reference to the Riches of the Italian Table. St. Martin's Press. p. 152. ISBN 978-0-312-30280-1.
  7. ^ a b Viaggio in Toscana. Alla scoperta dei prodotti tipici. Ediz. inglese. Progetti educativi. Giunti Editore. 2001. p. 41. ISBN 978-88-09-02453-3.
  8. ^ Swiss Review of World Affairs. 1986. p. 18. (subscription required)
  9. ^ a b Johns, P.S.; Wyner, A. (2011). Cucina Povera: Tuscan Peasant Cooking. Andrews McMeel Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 978-1-4494-0238-9.
  10. ^ a b c d e Touring Club of Italy (2005). Authentic Tuscany. Authentic Italy Series. Touring Club of Italy. p. 122. ISBN 978-88-365-3297-1.
  11. ^ Tuscany & Umbria: The Rough Guide. Music rough guide. Rough Guides. 2009. p. 259. (subscription required)
  12. ^ Loaldi, P. (2011). Pasta fatta in casa. Fatti in casa (in Italian). Gribaudo. p. 118. ISBN 978-88-580-0285-8.
  13. ^ a b Fodor's Italy 2016. Full-color Travel Guide. Fodor's Travel Publications. 2015. p. pt899. ISBN 978-1-101-87899-6.
  14. ^ Marcus, J.S. (July 29, 2014). "In Search of Perfect Pesto". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 5, 2016. (subscription required)
  15. ^ a b c d Bugialli, G.; Dominis, J. (1992). Giuliano Bugialli's Foods of Tuscany. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. pp. 120–121. (subscription required)
  16. ^ Honore, C. (2009). In Praise of Slow. Knopf Canada. pp. 78–79. ISBN 978-0-307-37351-9.
  17. ^ a b Kummer, C.; Schlosser, E.; Petrini, C. (2013). The Pleasures of Slow Food: Celebrating Authentic Traditions, Flavors, and Recipes. Chronicle Books. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-4521-3380-5.
  18. ^ a b Keahey, J. (2014). Hidden Tuscany: Discovering Art, Culture, and Memories in a Well-Known Region's Unknown Places. St. Martin's Press. p. 10. ISBN 978-1-250-02431-2.
  19. ^ Fraioli, J.; Curti, J.O.F.L. (2009). Food Festivals of Italy: Celebrated Recipes from 50 Food Fairs. Gibbs Smith, Publisher. p. 128. ISBN 978-1-4236-0967-4.

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]