10 wonderful things about ‘The Geometry of Pasta’

Not even counting how every recipe ends with Parmesan or Pecorino over everything. The book is part cookbook, part history, part design.

Inside the front cover:

1. Bigoli. “The recipe is nearly impossible to follow exactly, as it relies on the use of a bigolario — something resembling a gymnastics horse which you sit astride, with a brass hand-cranked press attached to one end. Given that probably only a very small minority of families in the Veneto (where bigoli come from) have such a device, it seems a fair assumption that even fewer of my readership will.”

2. Busiati. “The version described and illustrated here looks and behaves like a coiled telephone wire.”

3. Capelli  D’Angelo – Pasta Souffle. “This recipe comes from my grandmother, who remembers the dish from Rome in the 1950s. We have had some interesting times cooking it together, since the original recipe went missing a few years ago. Here at last is a new working version, to avoid the dramas of impossible thick bechamel and collapsed dreams.”

4. Cavatelli. “Like a comma in cross-section.”

5. Dischi Volanti. “Named flying saucers (literally, “flying discs”), dischi volanti were designed shortly after the name was coined in 1947 following Kenneth Arnold’s sighting in the United States.”

6. Farfalle. I had no idea the word meant butterflies.

7. Gnocchi. “Their name may derive from gnocco (“idiot”), but seems more likely to stem from nodo (“node,” or “knot” as in wood).

8. Malfatti. “The dough is so soft you will never manage a sphere, but that is why they are called malfatti — ‘badly made.’ ”

9. Pappardelle. “In Tuscan dialect, papparisi means to gobble up or to stuff oneself.”

10. Tortellini. “There are various enchanting and similar tales of their origin. In one, Lucrezia Borgia stopped off at an inn in Castelfranco Emilia. Smitten by his guest’s beauty, the innkeeper crept up to her door in the night to sneak a peek through the keyhole. All he could see was Lucrezia’s navel, but what a navel it was!”

Inside the back cover:

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