The pasta tales continue with the risqué examination of the origin of the tortellini and tortelloni pasta. As you may already know, the tortellini pasta is naval shaped pasta that is usually stuffed with meat, cheese or vegetables and served in a beef, chicken or pork broth.  Created in the Castelfranco Emilia region of Modena, tortellini’s were inspired by the beautiful naval of a woman.  The creator of the tortellini was an innkeeper that housed the lovely daughter of Pope Alexander IV, Lucrezia Borgia. Captivated by the woman’s splendor, the innkeeper decided to have a little peak through the keyhole at the fair maiden.  Due to the low lighting conditions, he could only make out the belly-button of Lucrezia.  Immediately after seeing this site, the innkeeper took to the kitchen to create a pasta that resembled the most beautiful thing he had ever put his eyes on (thank goodness they didn’t have electricity in the 17th century).

Another wonderful folklore of the creation of the tortellini comes from a legend where Venus and Jupiter had stopped at an inn on the outskirts of Bologna after battle between Modena and Bologna. Tired from their involvement, the two took the shape as mortals and after much food and drink, both shared a room.  The innkeeper could tell that the two were different. It is told that Venus had demonstrated her powers by balancing a glass of wine on her nose.  After the two gods went to bed, the innkeeper was so spellbound by her beauty, he decided to peek through their keyhole.  The only thing he could see was her naval.  Immediately, he made several batches of pasta resembling the most beautiful thing he’s ever seen.  To his surprise, the two had vanished the next morning before he was able to feed them his creation.

Others simply believe it was created after a turtle which is a very popular feature around the city of Modena.  That story is boring, so we’ll go with one of the first two.  If you’re looking to get a laugh out of your guests this evening, serve them Flora’s tortellonis and have these stories to offer up as a side dish. If It’s Italian…It’s Flora.

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