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Official Tourist Information Site of Imola's Area



This Romagna-native pasta recalls penne for its elongated cut but with horizontal rather than vertical ridges. Its unusual name comes from the Latin “gargala,” meaning “trachea” (note also the similarity to the English term “to gargle”). The dough for garganelli is made from flour, grated Parmigiano, eggs, and nutmeg. To prepare them, roll the dough as thin as possible with a rolling pin, then cut squares (4-5 cm per side) from the dough and place them diagonally on a small tool called “pettine” (literally “comb”, although it would correspond to the “loom reed”). Finally, roll them using a 4mm-diameter stick. For additional colour and flavour, a small quantity of spinach or minced herbs can be added to the basic recipe. Today good dried versions of garganelli are also available. Garganelli were once cooked in a meat broth and served as a soup, while today they are usually tossed with a typical meat ragù to which peas can also be added.


Legal reference:
Traditional products were established by Decree-law 173/98.
Production area :
Romagna and Imola’s territory.
Wine matches:
Garganelli dressed with a venison ragù marry best with a young Sangiovese di Romagna.
Historical and geographical information:
It is believed that garganelli were invented in Imola by the cook of Cardinal Cornelio Bentivoglio d’Aragona, who was the Apostolic Legate of Romagna in 1725. She was preparing “cappelletti” (a hat-shaped version of “tortellini” typical of Romagna). After making the filling with pork and chicken breast, she stored it away and began to knead the flour with the eggs. While rolling the dough with her rolling-pin, she noticed that a domestic animal had eaten most of the filling. An excellent idea flashed through the mind of the desperate cook. At that time, well-off women used to spin hemp and then the cloth was woven to make linen for the whole family. The cook went to the room next to the kitchen, where the looms were kept, and took a small piece of the reed (in Italian, “pettine”). She also found some 20-30 cm long wooden sticks used to light the fire. Then, she cut the dough into small squares (intended for making cappelletti), rolled them around the stick and passed them on the reed of the loom. The result were garganelli, similar to penne but with horizontal ridges and an elongated cut. Served in a rich capon broth (already prepared for cappelletti), they met an outstanding success among diners who complimented the imaginative cook on this unusual type of pasta. In a short time, the new recipe spread all over the surrounding area. Today, garganelli are served not only in a broth but also stewed in the oven or dressed with a meat ragù or with truffles and mushrooms. However, it is essential to sprinkle them with excellent Parmigiano. This is the true story of Imola’s garganelli, which used to be told at night in Romagna when people gathered in the warmth of the stables during the long winters.

Related events:

Sagra del Garganello (Garganello Festival) – Codrignano (Borgo Tossignano), beginning of September.

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Last update: 18-10-2013