In the Court of the Bentivoglio Christoforo Zafirano was regarded as a maestro, a master of l'arte della cucina (the art of the kitchen) but this would be his greatest achievement. In only 3 days the beautiful and infamous Lucrezia Borgia would arrive in Bologna and he must prepare an unforgettable feast fit for a Renaissance princess and bride to be . . . . from Pasta for a Princess
And so the story begins.
One of Italy's most beloved pasta, tagliatelle, is born from a tradition of pasta making that begins with myth and legend. According to gastro-historians, a tagliatelle-like pasta (pasta cut into strips) was pictured in an 11th century Arabian health manual. According to legend tagliatelle was invented during the Renaissance at the Court of the Bentivoglio of Bologna on the occasion of the marriage of Lucrezia Borgia to the Duke of Ferrara. Lucrezia's brilliant long curly hair inspired the imaginative talents of Maestro Zafirano to create a new kind of pasta to serve at the wedding banquet. He remembered a type of pasta written about in ancient texts and another called fermintini that was made in long strips.
Zafirano directed the sfogline (women who prepare the pasta dough) to use the finest flour and rust-colored eggs of the region to create golden sheets of pasta so thin that when the pasta was held up to the window of the castle kitchen the silhouette of the surrounding hills could be seen. Then he instructed them to cut the dough into long golden strands to resemble Lucrezia's hair.
As in all myths and legends the truth may fall somewhere in between but the fantasy of the foods of a Renaissance princess still remains today for all of enjoy.