Lucrezia Borgia: daughter of Pope Alexander VI, three husbands (of which one was murdered), countless lovers, an adventurous life, eight legitimate children and one illegitimate child, lover to her father and her brother, and all this in the space of only 39 years. This woman certainly has a controversial reputation, but did you know that the charismatic socialite also inspired the invention of a new pasta recipe?
At the age of 13, Lucrezia was married off to Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro, to strengthen the ties with the influential and powerful Sforza family from Milan, but in 1497 the marriage was annulled. At that time, the rumor was that Lucrezia had taken shelter in a convent to recover from a broken heart.
However, more generally accepted is the story that she had an affair with a messenger called Perotte, which resulted in a pregnancy. Lucrezia wedded again in 1498, this time to Alfonso of Aragon, the Duke of Bisceglie. Just two years later, in 1500, her second husband was murdered, strangled by order of Lucrezia’s brother, Cesare Borgia.
Shortly after, a third marriage was arranged to the Duke of Ferrara, Alfonso d’Este. Together they acted as patrons to many Renaissance artists, further enriching the cultural influence of Ferrara, which was already an important center of music and visual arts. Lucrezia died in childbirth in 1519.
This infamous woman, with the thick blonde hair and hazel eyes, inspired a contemporary chef to invent a new pasta, namely tagliatelle. According to legend, tagliatelle was made for the first time when Lucrezia married the Duke of Ferrara. A cook from Bologna, called Zefirano, made the pasta ribbons to look like Lucrezia’s lovely golden hair.
Here is how to make your very own Capelli Lucrezia Borgia.
Editor’s TIP: To get the best possible taste, it’s best to use a home made pasta. To make such, use a pasta pachine. Take a look on our best pasta machine guide to learn more.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 30 minutes
- ½ lb fresh egg tagliatelle or durum wheat (dried) tagliatelle
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped
- ¾ cup sliced celery
- ¾ cup sliced carrot
- ¼ cup pancetta or bacon
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup red wine
- ¾ cup vegetable bouillon
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- ¼ cup warm milk
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large skillet, brown the onion for two minutes in olive oil, then add the celery and carrot. Cook the vegetables on a medium/high heat for three minutes, stirring frequently, before adding the pancetta or bacon.
- Extinguish the mixture with the white wine, and leave it to reduce somewhat. Next, add the red wine and half of the vegetable bouillon. Simmer for 15 minutes, adding more bouillon when the liquid is low.
- Mix the tomato concentrate in the warm milk and add this to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Leave to simmer until most of the liquid is reduced.
- Bring water to the boil in a large saucepan. When the water is boiling, add a teaspoon of salt.
- Next, add the tagliatelle to the boiling salty water and cook for three to four minutes (10 to 12 minutes if you are using dried pasta). Stir gently a few times to separate the pasta ribbons.
- Remove the pan from the heat, and drain the tagliatelle well, before tossing together with the sauce in a serving bowl.
- ‘Buon appetito!’