Bigoli, Bigolaro, Bigolarist (page 2 of 2) Home
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My largest and most unusual pasta-making accessory, the bigolaro
, made 28 fat spaghettis, called bigoli
, each as long as the room. Served with the traditional duck ragł, this made my guests very happy despite the fact they had to make their own pasta.
The duck flesh is traditionally served a second course with mostarda, but nowadays people commonly add it to the ragł. That's what I do here. Carve the flesh from the carcass ...
... and chop it into bits. You can discard the carcass or use it to make more duck stock, but frankly with the quantity I already had on hand, it was a dead duck to me.
Here is your mise en place - it's important to get all your ducks in a row before the action.
Heat a little olive oil in a large pot and fry the chopped onions until soft, then add the carrot, garlic and celery.
Fry for a minute, move to one side ...
... then add the offal and toss until it turns grey all over.
Add the cinammon and bay leave...
...and the tomato.
Toss and add half a cup of duck stock.
Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to the lowest setting. Simmer for 45 minutes.
Add the duck meat shortly before serving.
If the sauce is too runny you can thicken it with a little butter, cream or mascarpone. Don't forget that we have removed most of the duck's fat, including its skin, and that this ragł is way lighter than what Venitian farmers used to make. You can afford a little milk fat.
You saw my meal's finale at the top of the article, and I just showed you how I cooked the ragł the day before. Now let me show how to make the bigoli dough. It is no duck soup but with proper instructions you'll be successful.
Traditionally bigoli were made from regular white or wholewheat flour and sometimes even with buckwheat flour. These are all inferior flours when it comes to pasta making and were seen as a cheaper substitute for the durum wheat semolina from the South of Italy. The present day gourmet who can afford a bigolaro is thus faced with a choice. Either go for the traditional regular flour bigoli and have softer pasta, or add a little durum wheat semolina to give the pasta more bite. Present day Venitian bigolarists often use a mix of both. I used 3oz / 100gr durum semolina per guest...
... and the same amount of regular white flour. Add one egg per guest, a bit of salt and a teaspoon olive oil.
Mix until smooth, adding a little water or flour as needed to get the hardest dough you can still knead. To get proper bigolis you need a super-dry, concrete-block sort of dough. Do not try this with the smooth dough for tagliatelle or your bigoli will stick to one another as they exit the bigolaro.
Ball the dough, cover in foil and set aside until the guests arrive.
To see how we made the bigoli, go to the top of the article.
Bring the duck stock to a rolling boil, adding water if needed. Plunge the bigolis in the stock in one go (don't forget we have 28 bigolis each as long as the room - you can't do this by batch!).
You recall from the start of the article that I rubbed the bigolis with flour as they came out so they wouldn't stick. Unfortunately I didn't use coarse polenta flour/cornmeal as is required but used plain white flour. Much of it accumulated at the bottom of the dish and fell over my pot right after the bigoli went into the water. Big flour cloud, the stove all white and the bigolis started to stick to one another around the flour clumps.
Please laugh at me all you can and use my mistake so that you won't have to make the same.
Up with the Kuhn Rikon pasta pot strainer ...
... and into a warm empty serving pot or dish.
Cover with the ragł and serve. See the start of the page to see the actual meal. Many times I had poor results when entertaining with homemade pasta, but this one was a roaring success with deliciously al dente pasta, just enough bite to be firm under the tooth, a delicate egg taste and the gorgeous ragł. For a moment, I felt like the capo di tutti i capi.
You can buy a bigolaro directly from the only manufacturer left in the world - that I know of - Bottene Brothers in Vincenza, Italy. Write an email to Alessandra Bottene at firstname.lastname@example.org and she'll send you a pro-forma invoice, pay and they'll ship. You can find the same at a much higher price in various online shops. Bear in mind that the model I have is the best looking but not the most convenient as you have to wind up the lever entirely to refill. It comes with a little bank you sit on in order to have enough leverage to turn the levers. Please consider that the wood comes untreated and looks like cheap, poorly finished pinewood. My friend Virgilio sanded the edges and varnished it for me. The bigolaro itself is of very high quality and I recommend it to anybody with an interest for homemade pasta and unusual cookware. I paid 200 including shipping.
«Mario Batali has a recipe for bigoli with duck ragu on the Food Network, but far more interesting is Bigoli, Bigolaro, Bigolarist, a blog post/article containing photographs and recipes at FXcuisine.com, a blog devoted to memorable food experiences
and far more interesting reading material than anything you can find on this humble blog! Wow. Im gonna click over there right now
» Mangiare Bene 24/11/2008
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If you do this recipe at home please let me know how it worked for you by submitting a comment or send me a picture if you can. Thanks!