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Tagliolini colla Crosta

March 18, 2021
Photo: Justin CovingtonPhoto: Justin Covington

Jews have been living in Italy since at least the first century C.E., and over the centuries, Italian Jews have created many traditional pasta dishes. Tagliolini colla Crosta is a favorite among Italian Jews, and you can find many variations in different towns throughout Italy. Because an al dente pasta dish is impossible to make on the Sabbath, in this delicious case Italian Jews boiled their pasta ahead and baked it with a good Bolognese sauce. Tagliolini colla Crosta is particularly popular on Purim.

Many years ago, Edda Servi Machlin, the author of The Classic Cuisine of the Italian Jews, served me this dish at her home and I have been intrigued by it ever since. She calls it ruota di faraone, “Pharaoh’s wheel,” and grew up eating it in Pitigliano, a mostly Jewish hilltop town in southern Tuscany. When Edda served it to me, she baked it in a ceramic mixing bowl and, with ceremony, flipped it onto a plate at the table for all of us to see. It is quite an eye catcher for Purim, the Sabbath, or a special dinner at any time of year.

Featured in: Pharaoh’s Wheel

Great for: Purim


  • ¼cup olive oil
  • 2medium onions, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
  • 2medium carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2stalks celery, diced
  • 2cloves garlic, chopped
  • ½cup chopped Italian parsley
  • 2pounds lean ground beef
  • 1cup dry red or white wine
  • One 14.5-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes
  • One 3-ounce can tomato paste
  • 3cups beef broth or water
  • Salt to taste
  • ½teaspoon dried hot red pepper, like cayenne
  • 1teaspoon oregano
  • 1pound tagliolini pasta
  • ½cup dark seedless raisins
  • ½cup coarsely ground whole almonds
  • ½cup pine nuts
  • ¼pound kosher pastrami, salami, or pickled tongue, chopped into small chunks
Yield: 6 to 8 servings


Crusty Pasta with Bolognese Sauce, adapted from King Solomon’s Table

  • Step 1

    Heat a large saucepan and add the oil. Toss in the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and most of the parsley and lightly brown for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • Step 2

    Add the ground beef and brown thoroughly, stirring occasionally. Then, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and oregano. Pour in the wine and raise the heat, allowing the wine to evaporate completely. Cook over high heat for 1 to 2 minutes, stirring frequently and using a wooden spoon to break apart the tomatoes.

  • Step 3

    Add the beef broth or water and cook, covered, over very low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. The sauce should be nice and thick. If it is too thin, cook a few minutes longer until it loses its excess liquid. Add raisins, almonds, pine nuts, and pastrami, salami, or tongue. Add salt to taste and the hot red pepper.

  • Step 4

    Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a round, 12- to 16-cup-capacity oven-proof baking dish.

  • Step 5

    Fill a large pot with water, add a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Add the tagliolini, bring the pot back to a boil, and cook for 7 minutes. Drain and put the pasta into a large bowl with the meat sauce. Toss everything together to thoroughly distribute.

  • Step 6

    Put the pasta mixture into the baking dish and bake for 1 to 1/2 hours, or until a nice crust has formed. Invert onto a platter and serve warm with the remaining chopped parsley sprinkled on top.