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Barbara e Pietro

lezione di cucina il salotto di penelope
The Bolognese Dough: The Art of Making Fresh Pasta by Hand
The Bolognese Dough: The Art of Making Fresh Pasta by Hand 1024 683 Barbara e Pietro

The Charm of Tradition in Italian Cuisine

The Bolognese dough is one of the excellences of Italian culinary tradition, a symbol of authenticity and taste that is handed down from generation to generation.

Many wonder whether it is really necessary to employ the manual method for its preparation or whether modern technologies can offer valid alternatives.

The answer lies in the uniqueness of homemade pasta, which transcends mere convenience to touch the peaks of quality and personal satisfaction.


Why Opt for Hand-Rolled Dough

Choosing to prepare the dough by hand is not a mere traditionalist whim but a decision based on solid technical and qualitative reasons.

Hand-rolled dough is distinguished by its porosity and roughness, essential characteristics for pasta capable of best absorbing the sauce.

Tradition requires the use of soft wheat flour and eggs, but the introduction of 30% durum wheat semolina flour elevates the quality of the result, making the dough ideal for every type of dish.

sfoglia bolognese fatta a mano

The Limitations of Pasta Machines

Electric pasta machines, although useful, impose limits on the quality of the pasta. They require a harder and more compact dough, which is less suitable for the preparation of filled shapes without adding moisture.

Hand-rolled dough, on the other hand, allows for greater thinness and keeps the dough naturally moist, facilitating the filling phase and reducing waste.

sfoglia tirata a mano

The Secrets of Perfect Dough

Now, let’s see what the secrets to perfect dough are.

The Composition of the Dough

Adding 30% semolina flour to the traditional soft wheat flour zero or double zero gives the dough its characteristic roughness and porosity, recreating the effect of ancient stone-milled flours.


The Weight of the Egg

The ideal proportion is 100 grams of flour for every medium egg (62-63 grams). Weighing the eggs ensures the perfect consistency of the dough, avoiding outcomes that are too soft or hard.


The Resting of the Dough

After mixing, it is crucial to let the dough rest for about half an hour, allowing the gluten network to reform. This step guarantees a softer and more workable pasta.


The Initial Consistency

Starting with a slightly harder dough allows for obtaining, after resting, the ideal moist consistency for subsequent processing.

Preparazione pasta fresca fatta a mano

Conclusion: An Art that Enriches the Kitchen

Learning the art of Bolognese hand-rolled dough not only enriches one’s culinary heritage but opens the doors to a world of creativity and satisfaction.

Il Salotto di Penelope offers you the opportunity to learn how to prepare fresh pasta by hand according to the most traditional Bolognese recipe, in a warm and welcoming context.


We await you in Bologna at our Salotto di Penelope.

Barbara and Pietro.

tortellini in brodo
Gastronomic Walk in Bologna: The Dishes You Must Absolutely Try
Gastronomic Walk in Bologna: The Dishes You Must Absolutely Try 1024 683 Barbara e Pietro

Bologna is undoubtedly a city rich in culture, but beyond its churches, towers, and ancient universities, the culinary culture is an integral and fundamental part of this wealth.

Therefore, while strolling under the arcades and feasting your eyes on its beauties, you cannot miss satisfying your palate as well.

Let’s Start with Pasta

The starting point of a taste tour is definitely the pasta in Bologna, referred to as “minestra,” whether it be dry or in broth.

In the Emilian capital, this reaches peaks of excellence recognized worldwide with Tortellini, Tagliatelle al Ragù, Tortelloni, and Lasagna, strictly green.

But true connoisseurs can embark on a quest for lesser-known yet equally tasty treasures like Balanzoni (green dough tortelli filled with mortadella, ricotta, Parmesan, and nutmeg) or Passatelli and Zuppa Imperiale served in a good traditional broth.

Balanzoni bolognesi Passatelli in brodo

The Cold Cuts: A Flavorful Tradition

After the windows of a pasta shop, the next obligatory stop is a delicatessen.

Here, in addition to the renowned Mortadella, which has become famous worldwide starting from Bologna, your taste buds can enjoy other delights such as Coppa di Testa or fresh or crumbly Ciccioli, obtained from the production scraps of lard (another ingredient used abundantly in Bolognese cuisine), or even Salame Rosa, similar to mortadella but with a less compact texture and a taste more akin to a roast.

Mortadella bolognese Coppa di testa

The Art of Baking

But at this point, one cannot speak of cold cuts without mentioning their ideal companions: Crescentine Fritte or Tigelle to be paired with mortadella & co.

These bakery products are the emblem of simplicity meeting flavor. Perfect for a picnic under the arcades or as an evening snack.

Every bakery in Bologna has its secret recipe, making each tasting a unique experience.

Tigelle Crescentine

Mains with Generous Flavors

Bolognese cuisine also surprises with hearty main courses and rich side dishes.

The Cotoletta alla Bolognese (petroniana) and the Gran Bollito Misto, for example, are just some of the delights we can eat in Bologna, showing how the culinary tradition of this city is deeply rooted in the generosity of flavors and the wise use of local ingredients.

But the leitmotif remains, even when we talk about vegetables, the use of animal fats and the richness of flavors, as in the case of Zucchini Stuffed with minced meat and mortadella, and in the case of Friggione, a stew of white onions and tomato cooked in abundant lard.


Traditional Desserts: A Dive into History

Every meal requires a worthy finale, and Bolognese desserts are true tales of taste and tradition.

Once you step through the baker’s door, you’ll immediately realize you’re in the perfect place to try a traditional dessert different depending on the time of year.

Simple yet rich in flavor and history desserts such as Raviole di San Giuseppe, generally prepared for Father’s Day, Torta di Riso, also known as the decoration cake and traditionally prepared for the Corpus Domini feast, or Pinza and Certosino typical of the Christmas period.


An Experience to Take Home

We have reached the end of this gastronomic journey, and if you wish to take a piece of Bologna home with you, Il Salotto di Penelope offers you the opportunity to learn how to prepare these delights in a historic and welcoming environment.

Getting your hands in the dough is not just a way to learn and fix the memory of these delicacies but also the chance to take them home and share them with your loved ones.

Do not miss the opportunity to explore this wonderful city, one dish at a time.

If you want to book an English Private or Group Lessoncontact us here.

We await you in Bologna at our Salotto di Penelope.


Barbara e Pietro.


lezione di cucina il salotto di penelope