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Monica Venturi

An egg pasta specialist since childhood

Monica Venturi is 100% Bolognese. She discovered her love of cooking because of her rebellious character. Monica’s grandmother found out how to harness the lively girl’s spirit. She set her to work on rolling egg pasta sheets. Everybody called this rebellious girl “Diabolik”.

An egg pasta specialist, but… not exactly by vocation!

Monica’s studies and work led toward music, another passionate interest (which she still cultivates). On retiring, Monica’s mother decided to take over a pasta shop in the centre of Bologna. She thought her work would be limited to just a few hours a day. Instead, it became such a booming business that she decided to call in her two daughters to work by her side.

An art whose origins date back many hundreds of years

The “zuppa imperiale” (imperial soup) is one of the oldest and most popular products of this pasta shop. The “zuppa imperiale” was a traditional dish of late nineteenth-century Bologna, blending the spirit of the nobility (imperial) and the culture of the peasantry (soup). A pagnottella (small bread loaf) for oven baking is produced by mixing breadcrumbs, egg and parmesan cheese. The mixture is finely diced and added to a hot soup or creamy vegetable puree. This speciality makes for extraordinarily flavoursome dishes.

The spirit of an Italian entrepreneur

“We are a very loving family. We’ve always spent our weekends together”, says Monica, who describes her work in the following terms:

Preparing tortellini, tortelloni, lasagne and tagliatelle as though we were preparing them for friends and family

She has come a long way, thanks to her skills as an egg pasta specialist. Foreigners come from all continents and ask her to reveal to them the secrets of the traditions of Bologna.

An open invitation

Monica says everyone should learn how to roll out pasta sheets because “it’s an excellent natural remedy against stress and keeps you nice and trim”. You need strong arms and excellent muscle tone (arms, gluteals and abdominals) if you want your pasta sheets to be as thin as this, just using a rolling pin.
The door of the shop of the Sfogline (pasta sheet rollers) is open to all who want to master this fascinating art.

Gallery

THE COURSE:
EGG PASTA SPECIALIST

Eight appointments, during which Monica Venturi reveals the secrets behind great Bolognese specialities such as tagliatelle, tortellini, tortelloni and passatelli.

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the programme

the programme

  • 29_01_2014 29_01_2014
  • 05_02_2014 05_02_2014
  • 12_02_2014 12_02_2014
  • 19_02_2014 19_02_2014
  • 26_02_2014 26_02_2014
  • 05_03_2014 05_03_2014
  • 12_03_2014 12_03_2014
  • 19_03_2014 19_03_2014

Lesson n° 1

Top quality ingredients and the perfect egg pasta mixture. The secrets behind malleable, elastic egg pasta and the techniques for use of the rolling pin. Get the basics that’ll turn you into a true egg pasta specialist, and learn perhaps just a little more than just the basics and essentials. Knowing when flour “falls in love”, for example!

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Lesson n° 2

Egg pasta rolling and all types of simple pasta: tagliolini da brodo (thin noodles for serving in clear soup), tagliatelle for cream and ham sauces, tagliatelle for ragout/Bolognaise sauce, pappardelle (a broad ribbon pasta), quadrucci (small pieces for serving in clear soup) and maltagliati (rough-cut pasta sheet). There is an ideal egg pasta each sauce.

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Lesson n° 3

Discover the secrets behind one of Bologna’s truly great dishes − tortellini. Ingredients for prime quality fillings and methods for wrapping the egg pasta around the filling. How to perfectly cook this simple, nutritious dish.

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Lesson n° 4

Now comes the star dish on the day of abstinence, or “giorno di magro” − tortelloni. Striking the ideal balance between delicacy and character. How to perfectly seal the egg pasta so none of the filling escapes when boiled. Tips, and today’s recipe ideas.

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Lesson n° 5

The triumph of tradition, layer upon layer – the legendary Bologna style lasagne. How to prepare green egg pasta. The secrets behind a perfect ragout/Bolognaise sauce and bechamel white sauce. How to lay out the sheets for compact, delicious lasagne.

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Lesson n° 6

Now that we know all about tortelloni, it’s time we experimented with new favours, such as pumpkin/gourd filling, ricotta (a cottage cheese) and pears, and many and many “variations on the theme”. Let’s round off with the real secret of all true egg pasta specialists – the form of the pasta must be adapted to the characteristics of the filling.

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Lesson n° 7

All about passatelli (a kind of parmesan dumpling) – the utensils you need in order to “strain” the mixture. Plus traditional ingredients and recipes. Bring the family around the table! It’s great fun for all. Kids too!

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Lesson n° 8

Last but anything but least, “raviole” (sweet ravioli). Raviole are a treat derived from the art of egg pasta preparation and from the traditional rice cake, or torta di riso. The ingredients are simple. The flavour is genuine. The secrets of a cuisine that goes back many hundreds of years.

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Monica Venturi

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