Testaroli of Lunigiana is a specialty kind of pasta of Northern Tuscany. Someone says that they are the first kind of pasta ever made because it dated back to Ancient Rome. Its production is located in the Lunigiana area, especially in the villages of Pontremoli, Fosdinovo, and Castagnetoli.
You can easily find them in all shops and supermarkets in the province of Massa-Carrara and La Spezia, while it’s really difficult to find them in other parts of Tuscany.
This kind of pasta is a typical example of the gastronomy of the poor peasants and shepherds of the area. They became quite popular after the Second World War, and nowadays the Slow Food foundation protects them as a traditional product at risk of extinction.
Testaroli of Lunigiana reminds me of when I was 12 years old. Every Thursday I used to visit my aunt Loredana that was pregnant with my cousin Alessandro. I have happy memories of relaxation, fun, and intimacy from those moments with them. Thanks to her I knew this traditional dish for the first time and my uncle Gianni taught me how to make the pesto sauce.
How to make Testaroli of Lunigiana
The ingredients to prepare the Testaroli of Lunigiana are really common. You just need wheat flour (in the past they used spelt flour), marine salt, and water. Once you mixed the ingredients, you have to drop some batter in a really big container called “Testo“. The name Testaroli comes from the Testi, these kinds of cast iron baking pans (once also made in terracotta) that are necessary to create a thin pancake.
Of course, Testaroli has nothing to compare with pancakes, but it is just to help you realize what they look like. To prepare the original Testaroli, you need to bake them using a wooden oven. When they are toasted, you will have a big disk to cut in lozenge shape stripes with a knife. When the salted water in the pan is boiling, immerse the stripes in the water and turn off the fire. Let the pasta cook for three minutes, and then drain the water.
Thanks to the porosity of the batter, Testaroli of Lunigiana absorbs perfectly all kinds of sauce, and your palate will be delighted.
How to season the Testaroli of Lunigiana
Testaroli is really good with pesto sauce as the Lunigiana tradition says. But you can also use mushrooms sauce, ragout sauce, or just extra virgin olive oil and parmesan cheese.
Testaroli of Lunigiana a tasty specialty of Tuscany
- 28 oz wheat flour
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 5 oz basil fresh
- 4 oz pine nuts
- 30 walnut kernels
- 4 oz Parmesan cheese grated
- 2 oz pecorino cheese grated
- 1 garlic
- extra virgin olive oil
- Mix the flour with warm water and a pinch of salt, until you obtain a very soft batter.
- Let stand for about 10 minutes. In the meantime heat the “Testi” on the fire (you can also use a pan).
- Pour the batter into the pan until it reaches a thickness of 3 or 4 mm and cook for about 5 minutes per side.
- Cool and cut into lozenges of about 3 cm per side.
- Dip lozenges in a pot with warm salt water (the water should not boil). Cook them a few minutes.
- Finally, strain and season with pesto and grated parmesan cheese.
- To prepare the pesto put the basil leaves, pine nuts, garlic and nut kernels in a mortar.
- Mash until you have a pulp. Add the olive oil, the grated cheese, and salt and then taste before to season Testaroli.
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- How to visit Fosdinovo Castle
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