Parre (Val Seriana, Bergamo) – It was only a few months back that I learned of this specialty and each year a celebration of these uniquely shaped ravioli takes place on the 3rd weekend in August. Pronounced scarpinòcc (skar-pee-nohtch), the name comes from the similarity shared between the pasta’s shape and the traditional footwear (scarpe = shoes) worn long ago by the villagers of Parre. The resemblance is much more apparent before cooking, but try to imagine the felt or leather type of shoe with a slightly upturned toe and you’ll get the idea. Filled with a mixture of grated grana cheese, breadcrumbs, garlic, herbs, butter, milk, eggs and spices, this lean “magro” dish – considered as such for the absence of meat – is then enriched with a generous douse of melted butter and cheese.
A long queue for the pasta had already formed under the tent when we arrived, so this is where I confess to taking the easy way out (that line was so long!) and headed down the street to a small restaurant advertising scarpinòcc “their way”. They had plenty of room for us to kick back and relax, and their version of this pasta was cheese and butter-licious!