Did you know that the oldest known recipe for pasta was written in China in the year 2000 BCE?
According to this recipe, pasta was made from wheat flour, eggs and water, and it was served with poultry. This fact is not very well known today, even though pasta is one of the most important symbols of Mediterranean cuisine – and thus of Istrian cuisine as well.
Peasant life in old Istria was most greatly marked by cuisine and dishes that have been prepared on the peninsula since ancient times. Of these original dishes, an important place has always been held by traditional Istrian pasta, which changed its form and name on the way from Italy to Istria. Made with white flour, a pinch of salt, a bit of water, and sometimes a home-raised egg, Istrian pasta was made then as it is today – with great skill and lots of love.
The best-known Istrian pastas
Pasutice, lazanje, fidelini, ravijoli, makaruni, and rigatoni are just some of the types of pasta made in Istria. However, the best known and most sought after in northwestern Istria are fuži, pljukanci and potato gnocchi.
This is how they are made:
Make a soft dough out of flour, salt, egg and water. Roll it into a thin layer and slice it into diamonds 3-4cm wide. Then use a skewer to wrap one end of the diamond around the other and pinch them together. When you have rolled all the fuži, boil them in salty water. In Istria, fuži is most often served with free-range chicken žgvacet stew, various types of goulash, and truffle or asparagus sauce.
According to the original recipe, pljukanci are made by mixing hot water little by little into a mixture of flour and salt until it turns into a stiff dough. The dough is then torn into small pieces and rolled between floured palms into a spindle shape. They are then boiled in salted water and served with various types of goulash, truffle or asparagus sauce, or fish.
In Istria, gnocchi are made from top-quality potatoes boiled skin-on, which are then peeled and riced. Flour and a pinch of salt are then added to the potato and kneaded into dough from which gnocchi are made. Gnocchi are boiled in salted water and served with traditional goulashes.