Having lived in and around Bologna for three years of my life, there is probably no region in all of Italy as close to my heart as Emilia-Romagna. From the magnificent Byzantine frescoes in Ravenna to the two towers in the city of Bologna, and the riches of a magnificent small town like Modena, there is plenty to do besides eat.
However Emilia-Romagna is considered by many Italians to be the culinary apex of the entire peninsula. Traditional dishes like piadina, lasagne alla bolgnese, tortellini in brodo, tortelloni, tagliatelle al ragu and passatelli rule the world of breads and pastas. Every now and then, when I haven’t made a trip back to Italy in too long of a stretch, my taste buds begin to itch for those mouthwatering flavors of Italian comfort food.
My parents, Armandino and Marilyn Batali, are coming to visit us in NYC next month, which naturally translates to big family-style Italian meals with the whole lot: grandparents, cousins and all. Since my mother has the world’s greatest homemade gnocchi covered, I thought I’d make one of my favorite nods to Emilia-Romagna: fresh taglliatelle. My fresh tagliatelle with garlic, rucola and sundried tomatoes is what’s on the table this week.
Cutting fresh pasta, such as the tagliatelle, tagliarini or papardelle is easy. All you need is a cutting board, some flour and a good sharp knife. Even better is that the recipe for basic pasta dough is hard to mess up, as only two major ingredients are included, flour and eggs. Like the Italians in Emilia-Romagna, I prefer my pasta slightly chewy, and most importantly, recognizably simple.
My fresh tagliatelle with garlic, rucola and sundried tomatoes is my homemade rendition of an Italian classic.