Allora, it’s been nearly a month since I’ve moved from the northwest of one country to the northwest of another country halfway across the world. Now, my appetite to learn Italian comfort food might be just as serious as my wish to be swept away into a certain Diane Lane rom-com. But I digress…
If there’s one thing I learned my first 30 days in Italy, it’s that you don’t mess with tradition. While the Italian language and culture are first time encounters for me, the language of food is universal. Sometimes when I dine there’s this odd moment just before I dig in, I wonder what stories my food could tell me if they could speak. (Completely bizarre, perhaps. I guess I could just talk to the chef, after I perfect my non-existent Italian.)
Nonetheless, one of the first things I’ve learned from eating through the Piemonte region, home of the Slow Food Movement, is that
chefs and cooks in Italy won’t make what they don’t know.
With that being said, whether you’re in doubt of what to order or not, always go with the region’s specialty. (Follow this rule, and you will have very few regrets in your life…at least when it comes to eating in Italy.) Luckily here in Piemonte region of Italy, that means laying eyes and tongue on as much tajarin as you can.
Tajarin is the Piemontese version of tagliolini – long like spaghetti, but thin like capellini. Silky smooth, creamy rich, thin ribbons of pasta exuding a golden hue of farm fresh egg yolks (40 yolks per kilogram of pasta dough to be exact). It was my first dish in Bra. After traveling for nearly 48 hours from Seattle, I couldn’t have asked for a better first bite than Tajarin Al Ragu.
A familiar flavor, with new sensations. It felt like home, but I knew I never had it before. An array of paradoxical emotions of the familiar and foreign swept over me. Next thing I know, I’m mopping the bottom of my dish with a piece of olive oily focaccia.
Since that day, I’ve had tajarin many ways, but I’ve yet to try them all. Here’s a few for your drooling pleasure.