Priest Strangler Noodles - Strangozzi

Regional Italian Pastas

I was unfamiliar with strangozzi noodles until I read this question on HubPages. Quizzing a friend that is half Italian and makes her own pasta, I learned that the strangozzi noodle is also sometimes called the priest strangler.The origin of that nickname seems a legend from the Umria region of Central Italy and it could be true or not. "Strangolare" means generally to strangle in Italian, but strangozzi may be a slang term derived from the verb. I hope our Italian readers will help us to understand that with their comments below.

This all reminds me of the pasta dishes with the nickname "Puttanesca", prepared quickly by ladies of the evening in old Italy and Sicily between guests. It was very quick to prepare, because restaurants often kept a kettle of sauce on the stove top all day and gave portions of it to the women at night, which they ate with angel hair or spaghettini pasta. The very thin pasta cooked in less than 5 minutes and dinner was served.

Each region of Italy has developed its own specialty pastas, sometimes with nicknames and stories to accompany them. This makes the regional cuisines even more colorful and fun to enjoy. Where Puttanesca uses thinner spaghetti or angel hair pasta, strangozzi uses thicker spaghetti, often hand made.

The strangozzi pasta is a speciality of the central Italian region known as Umbria, depicted in the map below, right. The noodles are thicker and a little more rough than spaghetti noodles. it is said that parish priests in Umbria quite often dined at the homes of parishioners that wanted to ensure that their priests left their homes well fed. Supposedly, a large quality of these noodles with sauce were served to the men of the cloth, suggesting that eating so much could strangle the priest - or at least his appetite.

To make the actual strangozzi noodles, you can make spaghetti by hand, but make it a little thicker than spaghetti. Alternatively, you can purchase the pasta hand-made from Italy. A recipe is available below.

Strangozzi al rag from Perugia in Umbria, Italy. (Public domain photos.)
Strangozzi al rag from Perugia in Umbria, Italy. (Public domain photos.)

Test Kitchens

I made this dish the night before publishing the Hub, so I could test it out. Instead of making pasta, though, I used some linguine noodles that I already had handy. Not as tasty as hand made strangozzi, surely, the linguine noodles were still very good in this dish.  

Note that the pasta recipe below does not include eggs. However, if you like egg noodles, you can add 2-3 eggs and reduce the amount of water used in the recipe.

Handmade Spaghetti or Strangozzi

My friend received a pasta maker for her wedding or as an anniversary, but always preferred to make her pasta by hand.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2.75 Cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 Cup plus a 3 TBSP room temperature H2O (I cook with spring water)
  • 1 Cup semolina for dusting the strands of strangozzi to help them dry separately

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Clean your whole kitchen counter top area and sanitize it with purchased sanitizer or a solution of water and bleach. You may also want to use a large bread board for preapring the dough.
  • Pour your measured flour onto a clean. sanitized kitchen counter top in a mound and form a well in the center of it.
  • Pour salt into the well, followed by 1 Cup water and 3 TBSP water a little at a time while you mix the flour up over the water.
  • When all water is added, mix the dough well. Adjust the flour/water with more or less as needed, if the dough is to sticky or too dry.
  • Roll the dough into a ball, place it in a mixing bowl (cooking spray bowl to keep it from sticking), cover with a clean tea towel and set aside for 1 hour.
  • Remove the dough from the bowl and roll out on a counter top or bread board that has been dusted with semolina. Roll it to about 1/16th inch thick or a little thicker - thicker than spaghetti.
  • Dust the top with semolina, fold the dough half over itself, and cut into 1/8thinch strips or a bit wider. Unwind the cut strands, dust with more semolina, and set out to dry on the counter top.

Umbria, Central Italy

Strangozzi alla Spoletina

Spoleto is a city in Umbria region, Italy.

INGREDIENTS

  • Homemade pasta for 4 people
  • 1/4 Cup olive oil
  • 3 Cloves of garlic, and cut up (not chopped)
  • 1/2 Red bell pepper, diced
  • 1/4 tsp Ground red pepper
  • One 14-16 oz can plum tomatoes
  • Salt to taste
  • Large pot of boiling salted water.

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Place a large skillet over medium heat, heat the pan, and add 1/4 Cup olive oil.
  • Heat the oil and add the garlic and both peppers. Stir and heat until lightly brown and fragrant.
  • Add tomatoes, their juice, and salt to taste. Stir well.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Taste for seasoning and add salt if needed.
  • Simmer an additional 10 - 15 minutes until liquid is reduced.
  • Boil the large pot of salted water and drop in the pasta. It should cook very quickly, in less than 5 minutes and it should be al dente. Otherwise, it may disintegrate to paste.
  • Drain noodles and place them in the simmering skillet. Stir through and serve.

This is linguine with clams and you can see the thickness, or width, of the noodles.
This is linguine with clams and you can see the thickness, or width, of the noodles.

More by this Author


Comments 14 comments

Ben Zoltak profile image

Ben Zoltak 6 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

I enjoyed this article thoroughly Patty. I find the Italian obsession with pasta to be a regular source of entertainment and delight for my stomach. Glad to hear that strangozzi noodles were more likely deemed that because of overfeeding Padres, not strangling them literally! Still good for a smile and nice angle/hook for an article I might add.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

And they taste good too! I am going to make the hand made pasta just as soon as I can - between Christmas and New Years. Thanks for your happy comment!


Mac Mission profile image

Mac Mission 6 years ago from bangalore

delicious...


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

Thank you for and wonderful hub. I enjoyed it and love spaghetti. Have a lovely Christmas.


lauryndaw profile image

lauryndaw 6 years ago

I'm rearranging my Christmas Eve menu. Instead of chili and cornbread, I will make Strangolina with homemade sauce, garlic breaded fish and Italian bread. Off to shop to get the red and orange sweet peppers and some decent red wine. Halleluyah for my Italian cousin and his sexy southern wife, we are going to rock the socks of the teenagers tomorrow.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

How wonderful to see these comments! Merry Christmas to you all.

lauryndaw - You are making me starving now, so I will have to make some more myself. Garlic breaded fish is one I'll try too!


dusanotes profile image

dusanotes 6 years ago from Windermere, FL

Thanks Patty, I, too, love pasta, but my wife never seems to make it anymore. Your plate of Strangozzi al rag from Perugia in Umbria, Italy really looks tempting. Have a great Christmas, Patty.

Don White


bearclawmedia profile image

bearclawmedia 6 years ago from Mining Planet Earth

Nice hub, pasta is one of those subjects like chocolate.It inspires or shall I say invokes a passionate response in just about everyone. Glad your on the pages. Bearclaw


RGraf profile image

RGraf 6 years ago from Wisconsin

Thank you again. I couldn't resist reading it once I read the title. I have never heard of this. Thanks for the education.


Sandyspider profile image

Sandyspider 6 years ago from Wisconsin, USA

First time I heard of Strangozzi noodles. Thanks for the recipe and educational information.


RuthieG 6 years ago

I watched Lidia Bostianich make Strangozzi on her show this week. I had never heard of them before but plan to make them this week. Husband is sicilian and loves Pasta...


Susan Valley 6 years ago

Check out some Strozzapreti! It's also Umbrian. Flattened pasta discs are hand rolled into a quill. You may want to try making these with Italian Chestnut flour.


E J 6 years ago

There seems to be a confusion here between strangozzi (stranglers) and strozzapreti (priest chokers)...


hannaym profile image

hannaym 5 years ago

I find the Italian obsession with pasta to be a regular source of entertainment and delight for my stomach.

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