Emilia-Romagna is the home of rich egg pasta, with 1 egg used for every 100g of flour to create pasta sheets that are then cut into an endless variety of shapes. Garganelli are similar to penne rigati but instead of an extruded flour and water dough, they’re hand-rolled squares of fresh egg pasta (see video below). They’re rolled around a wooden rod, traditionally across a set of strings in a wooden frame (called a comb), though today a gnocchi board is more commonly used. I had garganelli with a delicious duck ragu at Hosteria Giusti in Modena in Emilia and learnt to make this simple pasta at Casa Artusi cooking school in Forlimpopoli in Romagna. The ridged hollow shape holds sauce well and you can dress garganelli with whatever you like, from a classic ragù Bolognese to this simple tomato sauce; Parma is the home of Mutti after all. Keeping it northern, I like to enrich my sauce with plenty of freshly grated Parmigiano and sometimes a knob of butter at the end.
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Use the large pieces of pasta trimmings to make maltagliata. The name of this rustic pasta literally means ‘badly cut’, referring to its irregular shape. Simply cut the trimmings into irregular strips or shapes and cook as you did the garganelli and serve with your favourite pasta sauce or add to soups like pasta e fagioli.
Any small scraps of pasta dough needn’t go to waste. They can be chopped up finely to make pastina (literally ‘little pasta’) which goes into soups just like risoni, stelline and Sardinian fregola does. Pastina cook in a couple of minutes in boiling water, but can simmer in soups for longer without falling apart.