Torta di Tagliatelle

Shredded-Pasta Cake from Mantua

This unusual pastry is a specialty of Mantua’s, although variations are to be found as far south as Bologna (see Torta Ricciolina,). A cake pan is filled with alternating layers of an almond-and-macaroon mixture and thinly shredded, raw egg-pasta dough. After baking, the pasta is crisp, sweet, and delicate, almost like the shredded phyllo pastries of the Middle East.

Ingredients

    Pasta Dough

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons white rum or brandy

    Almond Mixture

  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • 12 amaretti (Italian macaroons), such as Amaretti di Saronno
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup sugar

Method

For the pasta dough, place the flour on a work surface and make a well in the center. In the well, mix the salt, eggs, and rum. Gradually draw the flour into the egg mixture to make a firm dough, adding a little more rum or brandy if the dough is too dry. Knead the dough well and set it aside to rest, wrapped in plastic, for about 30 minutes.

While the dough is resting, prepare the almond mixture. Combine the almonds and sugar in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade and reduce to a powder. Add the macaroons and continue processing until they are also reduced to a powder. Sift in the cocoa powder and process a few seconds, then pulse in the vanilla. Set aside.

Divide the dough into 4 or 5 pieces, flour them, and pass the pieces, one at a time, through a pasta machine, starting with the widest setting and ending with the next to last. Let the sheets of dough dry for at least 30 minutes on a floured surface.

Loosely roll up the sheets of pasta dough, one at a time, from one of the short ends. Slice the rolls of dough crosswise with a sharp knife, making fine shreds of dough.

Butter and flour a 10-inch springform pan and arrange a layer of the shredded pasta in the bottom. Sprinkle with the almond mixture. Continue alternating layers of the pasta and the almond mixture, ending with the pasta. Dot with the butter and sprinkle with the sugar. Bake the torta at 350 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes. Cool in the pan, then release the sides of the springform pan and slide the torta off the base onto a platter.

Serve the torta in thin wedges, preferably with a glass of sweet wine, since the torta is dry and crisp. Keep any leftover torta loosely covered at room temperature.

Loading
Loading
Loading