Breviary of traditional cuisine



Cappelletto or caplèt, in Romagnolo dialect, is a stuffed pasta named for its characteristic shape resembling a hat. The recipe for cappelletti encompasses, centuries-old traditions, popular culture and knowledge of ancient local products. It is the filling with its different ingredients, depending on the area of Romagna that makes us discover unique flavors and appreciate the excellence of the products in our territory.

The history of the cappelletto has ancient peasant origins, and in the shape of the cappelletto we can see a certain correspondence with the rural world, given by the resemblance of the cappelletto, to the hat used by peasants to protect their heads from too intense sunlight. Documents attest more precisely, the birth of this stuffed pasta in the early 1500s, within the noble courts. In the collective imagination, the cappelletto, as well as all “minestre” (this is how handmade dry pasta is called in dialect) is still associated with the figure of the Azdora, who was the one who once took care of the family and household care and prepared everything at home, having access to the secrets of the kitchen. The preparation generally took place in the evening, the whole family was involved in the closing ” one by one” of the cappelletti.

Ingredients and preparation

  • For the pastry: 600 g flour, 6-8 whole eggs
  • For the filling: 400 g soft country cheese and casatella (or also ricotta and raviggiolo); 200 g parmesan; 2 whole eggs; pinch nutmeg, salt and pepper
  • Chicken or capon broth for cooking

It is advisable to prepare the puff pastry by pouring the flour onto a cutting board and creating a hole inside where the eggs will be poured in. The dough, made by hand, is then allowed to rest between two plates.

Next, the filling or compenso ( batù in Romagnolo) is prepared by carefully mixing the ingredients.

Then resume the sheet of pasta, which should be rolled out thinly with a rolling pin or using a pasta machine.

Finally, cut the pastry into many small squares about 2 inches on a side and place the filling in the center, then proceed to fold it into a “hat” shape. The square should first be closed into a triangle, pressing very firmly at the edges to prevent it from opening when boiling, then each triangle should be twisted around a finger of the hand and the two ends overlapped, thus obtaining the typical chaplet shape. Cook the cappelletti in the broth for a few minutes and let them rest for at least 10 minutes before serving.


CIAMBELLA(Brazzadella or Zambëla)

The doughnut is the traditional dessert of Romagna. This is a rustic and very simple, but very tasty dessert. The typical doughnut from Romagna does not have the classic hole in the center and comes in loaves or round loaves. It is served for breakfast, snacks and even after meals, dipped in a good glass of sweet Albana or Cagnina.

Ingredients and preparation

  • 400 gm flour
  • 200 gr. of sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 100 gr. of butter
  • 1 sachet of yeast
  • grated zest of one lemon
  • half a glass of milk
  • colored sprinkles
  • greaseproof paper for baking

Strictly mix all ingredients by hand. After placing greaseproof paper in a baking dish, arrange the dough strands (about 3 centimeters) on it and sprinkle with granulated sugar and colored sprinkles. Place in preheated oven at 180° for about half an hour. Let bake until the surface is golden brown (about 20 to 30 minutes). Remove from the oven and allow the doughnut to cool completely before pulling it apart.


“Turtèll” are typical Faenza sweets. These are sweet treats with chestnut filling that are eaten mainly during the time of the Feast of St. Lazarus, which in Faenza is traditionally celebrated in Borgo Durbecco on the fifth Sunday of Lent.

Ingredients and preparation

  • For the filling: 300 g dried chestnuts, 50 g cocoa, 100 g chocolate powder, 50 g chopped dark chocolate, 200 g jam, peel of two oranges, peel of one lemon, one tablespoon ground coffee, pinch of salt, 4 tablespoons sugar, rum or cherry to taste.
  • For the puff pastry: 1Kg. Of flour, 300 g. of sugar, 200 g of butter or margarine, 1 tablespoon of lard, 1 whole egg and 3 yolks, yeast for 1 kg. of flour, a pinch of ammonia, enough milk to make a soft dough.

Boil chestnuts in a little water by adding: peel of two oranges, peel of one lemon, a tablespoon of ground coffee, a pinch of salt and 4 tablespoons of sugar.

As soon as they begin to boil, let them cook with the lid on a moderate heat for several hours. When the chestnuts are soft and and and the water is almost completely absorbed, pass them through a sieve. Add all the ingredients for the filling and soak well until the filling is quite firm.

Prepare the dough for the puff pastry at this point and let it rest for half an hour. Roll out the dough with a rolling pin to a sheet larger than a coin and cut medium-sized disks. On each disk put some filling and close giving the characteristic shape.

Bake in a hot oven for about 25 minutes and serve the treats where they have been soaked in saba or other liqueur to taste.

STUFFED PASTA (Spoja lorda)

This soup, typical of the tradition of the Romagna Faentina area, owes its name to the dialect way of describing when the filling in a pasta is scarce, in fact “lorda” means that the pasta is barely dirty.

Ingredients and preparation

  • For the pastry: 400 g flour, 4 eggs
  • For the filling: 150 g Raviggiolo-type soft cheese, 150 g cow’s ricotta cheese, 100 g grated Parmesan cheese, 1 egg, a pinch of salt, a pinch of nutmeg, salt and pepper
  • For cooking: chicken or capon broth

First prepare the dough for the puff pastry by combining the flour and eggs (same process as for cappelletti) and form a loaf and let it rest for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, also prepare the filling with the listed ingredients. The consistency should be soft and easy to spread on fresh dough.

With a rolling pin, roll out a fairly thin sheet of pastry, spread the filling on half of the pastry and fold the empty sheet over the filling, sealing it carefully by letting the air escape. With a serrated pastry cutter wheel, start by cutting out strips all the same size then proceed to make many filled squares about the same size.

Place the spojai squares carefully on a cloth and allow the dough to dry before baking. Cook in a good broth.

( Spoja lorda according to tradition is served in broth but can also be brought to the table dry with various toppings such as prosciutto, radicchio, walnuts and parmesan cheese.)


Among the many typical dishes of Romagna, the most characteristic soup in broth is passatelli.

History has it that the famous azdore (housewives of Romagna) came up with this specialty using a few simple ingredients probably derived from the “tardura,” a soup made with eggs, cheese and breadcrumbs traditionally given to women who had just given birth to regain their strength. Passatelli have the same ingredients although the texture differs. The dough made is firmer due to a special tool used to make them.

This is the famous iron (“e fèr”), a slightly convex disk covered with holes and fitted with two wooden handles. Thanks to the pressure exerted on the dough from the holes, passatelli come out (thus explaining the origin of the name: to make them, the dough must “pass” through the holes of the tool). Today iron is very hard to find, and is often replaced by the potato masher with wider holes.

Ingredients and preparation

  • 4 eggs
  • 200 g breadcrumbs
  • 200 g grated parmesan cheese
  • a pinch of nutmeg
  • a pinch of pepper
  • 2 liters of meat broth

Knead the ingredients and mix everything together very well, taking care to obtain a firm dough. Let stand for a couple of hours while bringing two quarts of meat stock to a boil. Using the special tool, cut passatelli to the length you prefer by cooking them in the boiling broth. They will be ready when they rise to the surface. Let them rest for about half an hour so that they can absorb the broth well before serving.

Watch Lea Gardi prepare passatelli for Faenza on Demand.


Strozzapreti is a poor and simple fresh pasta because it has no eggs. The absence of eggs hashistorical value and is indicative of the hardships in which many families in rural Romagna lived, where they were sold in order to be able to buy other necessities such as salt and sugar. There are various legends and explanations around this name, but they all revolve around the situation of historical anticlericalism created in Romagna among the population oppressed by the long domination of the Papal State.

Ingredients and preparation

  • 500 g flour
  • Water
  • Salt to taste.

After creating the dough with flour, water and salt, let the loaf rest in a layer of plastic wrap for about 30 minutes. It is then rolled out with a rolling pin until a sheet about 3 mm high is obtained, and with the help of a knife, strips 1.5 cm wide are cut and, one at a time, taken between the two palms of the hands and rolled up with a firm gesture. Again using fingers, cut strozzapreti about 5-6 cm long. The strozzapreti should then be placed on a floured tray and cooked in plenty of salted water, for a few minutes, until they come to the surface.

As pointed out, since this is a poor pasta, a rich and tasty sauce is a must. Excellent are strozzapreti pasta served with meat sauce (perhaps from Mora Romagnola), or with radicchio and pancetta, or even with a vegetarian sauce with a hint of spiciness given by the chili pepper.


The homemade leaf(spoja) made with fresh eggs and wheat flour, worked on the cutting board and flattened with a rolling pin and “arm effort,” is the cornerstone of traditional Romagna cuisine and is the irreplaceable raw material for tagliatelle, wide or narrow, but always very long. Tagliatelle seasoned with meat sauce is a beloved dish of the people of Romagna; Pellegrino Artusi (recipe no. 71) talks about it in his book Science in the kitchen and the art of eating well, first published in 1891 and, about a century earlier, is also mentioned by Michele Placucci in Farmers’ customs and prejudices of Romagna (1818).

Ingredients and preparation

  • 500 g flour
  • 5 eggs

(We generally recommend 1 egg per diner)

Place 1 ounce of flour for each egg on the cutting board. Mix the ingredients well and knead the dough with the palm of your hand until it becomes smooth. Let the dough rest, closed between two plates, about half an hour. Roll out a sheet with a rolling pin and let it dry slightly. Wrap the sheet on itself and cut the noodles, open them and cook them in plenty of boiling, salted water. Drain the pasta and toss it with a good meat sauce, finishing the dish with a generous grating of Parmesan cheese.

SAPA (or Saba)

This is a syrup typical of the Romagna tradition made from grape must, used in the preparation of sweet tortelli, as an ingredient for tarts or other desserts, as a condiment or in its pure state or even with savory preparations to create a contrast of flavors.

Ingredients and preparation

  • 3 liters of fresh must

Boil 3 liters of fresh, well-filtered wort. The saba should simmer slowly for about 6-10 hours and should be foamed during the first few hours of boiling. Eventually the wort will be reduced by about 2/3 of the initial amount. Allow to cool and store in bottles or jars.


Throughout Romagna, this condiment for pasta dishes is traditionally associated with tagliatelle, which were part of the dishes of feast days.

Ingredients and preparation

  • beef and pork
  • sausage; fresh bacon
  • carrot, celery and onion
  • salt and pepper
  • EVO oil and butter;
  • ripe or peeled tomatoes
  • dry white wine

Sauté celery, carrot and onion with oil, and possibly a little butter, then add chopped or shredded meat. Next, deglaze with the wine and allow it to evaporate, adjusting for salt and pepper. At this point add the tomatoes, simmering for about an hour. The variations practiced by our grandmothers concerned the lard (an animal feed fat obtained by hot dripping of fats present in the subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue of the pig, widely used in traditional Romagna cuisine) instead of oil and butter, preserves it instead of tomatoes, crushed lard instead of bacon.

BRACCIATELLI (Brazadèll ‘d la Cròs)

And brazadel is considered a typical dish of Castel Bolognese, still sold in the town’s bakeries.

Ingredients and preparation

  • 1 kg of flour
  • 30 g of fine salt
  • carbonated water to taste

Mix white flour well with water and salt until the dough is smooth and consistent. Then take 80-100 gram pieces of dough, giving them the shape of a finger-thick string, long enough to make a ring with a cross in the middle.

Allow the resulting bracciatelli to dry for at least 15 minutes and in any case until a thin crust has formed on their surface. Now immerse them in a pot of gently boiling water; when they come to the surface, drain them and pass them into a bowl of cold water. Finish baking in the oven, at 220 degrees, until they have a nice golden color.

As a curiosity, we report the recipe for brazadel dictated directly by Paolo Borghesi, the last heir of the ancient family of bakers who had conceived it, to the editors of the volume “Mangiari di Romagna” (edited by M. Caminiti, L. Pasquini, G. Quondamatteo, Milan, Garzanti, 1961).

Mix in water and salt, some good white flour (double zero); knead well, repeat, until the mixture is as firm as a young bride’s hips.
Peel off chunks of 80 to 100 grams, cut out finger-thick bigoli, long enough to make a nice circle with a cross in the middle. Let them dry for at least 10 to 15 minutes–better if more–for, on the surface, a thin crust to form. Soak for no more than 3-4 minutes,in a large pot where fresh water simmers (but very slowly). The bracciatelli will come to the surface on their own to tell us immediately to pass-always for 3-4 minutes-in a tub of cold water. Arrange then until cooked, a wood-heated oven, from which they will be lifted with the panéra, a kind of wide wooden shovel, from the shovel thinned at the top.” Borghesi also confided that he also added some lard in the dough, this was used to keep the brazadèll crispy for long days.

Informazioni e ringraziamenti

In partnership with:
Union of Romagna Faentina