Author Archives: carlaneal



This is one of my favority dishes. It is from the 1390 manuscript A Forme of Cury (1) Most of the recipes online from the 14th century that have been redacted are from this manuscript. You can see a transcription at Medieval Cookery.

Original Recipe


Take colyaundre, caraway smale grounden, powdour of peper and garlec ygrounde, in rede wyne; medle alle þise togyder and salt it. Take loynes of pork rawe and fle of the skyn, and pryk it wel with a knyf, and lay it in the sawse. Roost it whan þou wilt, & kepe þat þat fallith þerfro in the rostyng and seeþ it in a possynet with faire broth, & serue it forth wiþ þe roost anoon.



Take coriander, ground caraway, pepper and ground garlic, in red wine; mix all these together and salt it. Take pork loin and cut off the skin, and prick it well with a knife, and lay it in the sauce. Roast it when thou wilt, & keep that that falls thereto in the roasting and seeth it in a possinet with faire broth, & serve it forth with the roast rigth away.

My Redaction

  • 1 – 2-3lb. Pork Loin
  • 2 tsp. Coriander
  • 1 tsp Caraway (I don’t like caraway so I leave this out)
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • 4 Cloves minced Garlic
  • 1 1/2 cups Red Wine
  • 1 1/2 cups Broth

Gently toast the coriander and caraway (if using) in a dry frying pan. Keep moving them about until they become lightly toasted and are slightly fragrant. Takeoff of the heat and cool. When thoroughly cooled grind in a mortar or spice grinder until powdered.

Mix the wine and broth. Add the remaining ingredients and stir until mixed. Note: You can add, omit or change the quantities of the spices or garlic to suit your personal tastes.

Rinse the pork loin and dry completely. Take a small paring knife and prick small holes all over the meat. Optionally: you can silver the garlic and put a small slice into each of the knife cuts you make in the loin.

Place pork in your roasting pan and pour the wine mixture over it. Place a lid or aluminum foil over the roast. Roast in a 350º oven for about an hour to an hour and a half, occasionally basting the meat with the pan juices. A meat thermometer should read at least 160º for pork.

When cooked, take the pork out of the pan and place on a serving dish with the aluminum foil over it, to rest. Take the pan juices and degrease, if needed. Make a pan sauce by boiling the pan juices until reduced by at least half to two thirds, until there is one to one and a half cups of liquid left. Take off the heat and serve with the pork. OPTIONAL: You can also make a pan sauce at this stage by wisking in room temperature butter until the sauce is as thick as you like.


  1. A Forme of Cury. For more info about this historic manuscript click here
  2. Another redaction of this recipe is available at Cariadoc’s Miscellany


Epityrum or Olive Paste

This is a dish from antiquity. In Greece and Rome this dish was typically served with cheese which is where epityrum gets its name: epityrum = over cheese. It is delicious served with bread as well.

Original (1)

Epityrum album, nigrum, varium sic facito. Ex oleis albis, nigris variisque nucleos eicito. Sic condito. Concidito ipsas addito oleum, acetum, coriandrum, cuminum, feniculum, rutam, mentam. In orculum condito, oleum supra siet. Ita utito.

Translation (2)

Make green, black, or varied epityrum this way. Pit the green, black or varied olives. Season them thus. Chop them, and add oil, vinegar, coriander, cumin, fennel, rue, and mint. Put them in a small jar, with oil on top, and they are ready to use.

NOTE: “Rue is not to be used in pregnancy. The coumarins may cause photosensitivity and skin contact can cause a rash. Large doses may be poisonous.”(3) I have let it out of my redaction based on the above concerns.

My Redaction

  • 3 oz. Green Olives
  • 3 oz. Black Olives
  • 1 tsp. Cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. Fennel Seeds
  • Cilantro (fresh coriander)
  • 2-3 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 3 tbsp. White Wine Vinegar

Gently toast the cumin seeds in a dry frying pan, watching and moving them constantly until they become fragrant. You can add the fennel seeds at the same time or use them untoasted.

Chop the olives until they are as big or small as you want them. I use this as a relish on cheese or bread so I usually chop them on the smaller side. You can leave them whole and serve them as a salad or appetizer.

Mince the cilantro and mint. Add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. I usually let this set for an hour or so in the refriderater so the flavors can get to know each other.



  1. Cato. Liber de Agricultura. On Agriculture. Translated by Harrison Boyd Ash. Loeb Classical Library. Cambridge: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, 1941-1955.
  2. Giacosa, Ilaria Gozzini. A Taste of Ancient Rome. Translated by Anna Herklotz. University of Chicago Press, Chicago. 1992. Print
  3. Mabey, Richard. The New Age Herbalist. Simon & Schuster Inc. New York. 1988. Print

Prenade: A dried Fruit Sauce/Dip

This sauce goes with the previous post, Losenges. It is a yummy dip that was served with the fried losenges. In case anyone missed the source info, here it is again:

The original recipe is in “Take a Thousand Eggs or More” volume 1 (1). It is contained within the Harleian Manuscript written in c.1450 and is housed in Oxford University. The  recipes are from Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, edited by Thomas Austin, published for the Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, first published in 1888 and reprinted in 1964 by Vivian Ridler.

Original Recipe (1 & 2)

“Prenade: Take wyn, and put hit in a potty, and clarified honey, sanders, powder of paper, canel, clowes, maces, saffron, pynes, minced dates, & reysons. And cast Þer to a litul vinegre, and settle hit ouer the fire, and lete hit boyle; and seth figges in wyn and grynde hem, and draw hem Þorgh a streynour, and cast Þereto, and let boile all togidre……”

This original recipe goes on to say how to make “faire kakes” to serve with this sauce. In this post I wanted to make the sauce to serve with the losenges.


“Prenade: Take wine, and put it in a pot, and clarified honey, sandelwood, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, mace, saffron, pinenuts, minced dates, & raisins. And cast thereto a little vinegar, and set it over the fire, and let it boil; and seeth figs in wine and grind them, and draw them through a strainer, and cast thereto, and let boil all together…”

My Redaction

  • 2 cups Red Wine
  • 4 tbsp. Honey
  • 1/4 cup Pitted, Minced Dates
  • 1/4 cup Pinenuts
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup Dried Figs
  • 4 Cloves, ground
  • 1/2 tsp Mace
  • 1 tsp. Sandelwood, optional (It adds a beautiful purple color but an off flavor)
  • Pepper to taste
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1-2 Threads Saffron
  • 2 tbsp. Red Wine Vinegar
  • Fried Losenges

In a pot bring 1 cup of wine to a boil and pour over dried fig. Let stand 20 minutes until the figs soften and start to plump up.

Take dried dates and mince them. Heat remaining wine and add the honey, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, mace, saffron, pinenuts, dates and raisins. Add the vinegar and bring to a boil.

Take figs with their liquid and mash with a fork until it resembles a loose homogenous paste. Add this to the spiced wine mixture and cook until the mixture is as thick as you would like. Keep in mind that it will thicken up a little more as it cools.


  1. Renfrow, Cindy. Take a Thousand Eggs of More: a Collection of 15th Century Recipes. 1998.
  2. Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books — Harleian MS279 (1430) & Harleian MS4016 (1450). London, Oxford Universty Press, 1888. Rpt Vivian Ridler, Printer to the University, 1964. Original serie no.91
  3. Napier, Mrs. ALexander, ed. A Noble Book off Cookry for a Prynce Houssolde or Eny Other Estately Houssolde. c. 1467. Reprinted verbatim from a rare MS in the Holkham Collection. Elliot Stock. London, 1882.


Carrot Torte

This recipe comes from a Spanish/Catalan manuscript written by Diego Granado called Libro del Arte de Cozina (1)I received this text in 2010 and I can not remember who gave it to me. She sent it in an email because I was researching Spanish dishes for a period feast I was planning. I do know that it was translated by Robin Carroll-Mann.

Original Text

Unfortunately I do not have the original text. This manuscript is housed in a museum or library in Spain. I met the lady who had an electronic version that she received from the translator and she was generous enough to send me a email containing several spanish cooking treatises.

Translation (1)

Torta de Zanahoria (Carrot-Cheese Pie)

Wash and scrape the carrots, and remove them from the water and cook them in good meat broth, and being cooked remove them and chop them small with the knife, adding to them mint and marjoram, and for each two pounds of chopped carrots [use] a pound of Tronchon cheese and a pound and a half of buttery Pinto cheese, and six ounces of fresh cheese, and one ounce of ground pepper, one ounce of cinnamon, two ounces of candied orange peel cut small, one pound of sugar, eight eggs, three ounces of cow’s butter, and from this composition make a torta with puff pastry* above and below, and the tortillon [pie pan?] with puff pastry all around, and make it cook in the oven, making the crust of sugar, cinnamon, and rosewater. In this manner you can make tortas of all sorts of roots, such as that of parsley, having taken the core out of them. 

My Redaction

Note: since I live in the middle of southern podunk nowhere and the nearest grocery stores that aren’t Walmart or Kroger are over 30 minutes from my home, I have substituted cheeses that are available where I live for the spanish cheeses named in this recipe.

My husband Ben is the one who developed the following recipe. He has become my go-to guy for anything involving a dough or paste. He has a natural feel for it and loves doing it!

He redacted this recipe while working on a class he was teaching; A Survey of 16th Century Pie Crusts. I must admit that this “rough puff” pastry dough is my favorite so far. It is very delicate and seems to just melt in your mouth!

The translator of this manuscript, Robin Carroll-Mann, tells us that

“The word used here for pastry, “ojaldre” (“hojaladre” in the modern spelling)                means puff pastry according to my modern Spanish dictionary, and the etymology of the word (from hoja, “leaf”) would seem to indicate that it is the period meaning as well.”

Since  the Spanish treatise does not have a puff pastry so we are using, once again, a recipe from Scappi, Book V recipe 48.

Translation of Dough Recipe (2)

“…then have some doughmade of fine flour and the same amount, by weight of butter, and salt, cold water and rosewater….”

The Dough 

  • 115 grams Butter
  • 115 grams of Flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 drops of Rosewater (optional)
  • 2-4 tbsp. water IF needed

Mix salt into the flour. Cut butter into half inch cubes and work into flour with your fingertips. puff pastry adding butterIf butter becomes too soft from the heat of your hands put the dough mixture into the fridge for 20-30 minutes until it firms up.

butter too warm

Continue working the butter in using a pastry cutter or two knives until the dough resembles course meal.

using two knives

Add the rosewater and enough of the cold water to make in come together into a soft pliable dough. Let the dough rest in the fridge for twenty mintues being using.

finished dough

Roll the out into a circle large enough to cover you pie, leaving enough dough to form a decorative edge.

The Filling

  • 1lb Carrots
  • 9oz Ricotta Cheese
  • 6oz Mozzarella
  • 3 oz. Mascarpone
  • 2 tsp Pepper
  • 3 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Grated Orange Peel
  • 2 tbsp Juice of the Orange
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 3 tbsp. Butter

Peel and chop the carrots. Place carrots into a pan of boiling salted water and cook until very tender and soft. Place in a food processor and add the remainder of ingredients and mix until smooth and uniform.

Preheat oven to 350º. Have the pastry made and roll out to fit the pie pan. I flute the edges to make the pie look prettier. Place filling in pie pan. Optional: Mix a little cinnamon and sugar with rosewater and brush on top.

Bake for 40-50 minutes until crust is golden and center is set.

NOTE: Use your best guess at the timing. I usually make small single serving size carrot tortes which take anywhere from 15-20 minutes to cook. Please be watchful.


1) Granado, Diego. Libro del Arte de Cozina. 1599. Translated by Robin Carroll-Mann.  Print.

2) Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570). Trans. Terrence Scully. Toronto, Canada. University of Toronto Press. 2008. Print.




This recipe I discovered when I was searching for an appetizer dish for a first course in a luncheon feast I was planning. They are the medieval equivalent of chips and are serve with Prenade, a dipping sauce made mostly of dried fruit.


The original recipe is in “Take a Thousand Eggs or More” volume 1 (1). It is contained within the Harleian Manuscript written in c.1450 and is housed in Oxford University. The  recipes are from Two Fifteenth-Century Cookery-Books, edited by Thomas Austin, published for the Early English Text Society by the Oxford University Press, first published in 1888 and reprinted in 1964 by Vivian Ridler.


 Harleian MS(2)

“134 Take floure, water, saffron, sugur, and salt, and make fyne paast þer-of, and faire thyn kakes; and kutte hem like losenges, and fry hem in fyne oile, and serue hem forthe hote in a dissh in lenten tyme”


134 Take flour, water, saffron, sugar, and salt and make fine paste there-of, and faire thin cakes; and cut them like lozenges (diamonds), and fry them in fine oil and serve them forth hot in a dish in lenten time.

A Noble Book of Cookery (3)

“To make lossenges fried in lent make a paiste of pured flour knodden with faire water sugur saffron and salt then mak a thyn foil in lossenges the bred of your hond or lese and fry  them in oil and serue them iij or iiij in a dyshe”


To make lozenges fried in lent. Make a paste of pure flour sodden with faire water, sugar, saffron, and salt. Then make a thin sheet of diamonds the breadth of your hand or less and fry them in oil and serve them 3 or 4 to a dish.

My Redaction

  • 1 cup FLour
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/4 cup  + 1 tbsp boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 threads saffron

Infuse the saffron in the boiling water. Mix together the dry ingredients. Add saffron mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until blended. When it is cool enough to handle, knead the dough for about 10 minutes. Cover and let the dough rest about 10 minutes.

Roll the dough as thin as possible and baste with a very small amout of oil so the do not stick to each other as you continue working the dough. After oiling the sheet of dough cut into diamond shaped pieces and place aside until all the dough is rolled and cut into diamonds.

Heat oil in deep frying pan. When hot but not too hot (no more than 350º) fry the pieces until puffed and golden, approximately 2 minutes. Flip and fry on the other side. Take them out and drain on paper towels.

Optional: Immediately after being taken out of the oil you can salt them. This makes them a little more modern and they still taste good with the prenade.

These are delicious! They go fast at parties so be sure you make enough!



  1. Renfrow, Cindy. Take a Thousand Eggs of More: a Collection of 15th Century Recipes. 1998.
  2. Austin, Thomas. Two Fifteenth Century Cookery-Books — Harleian MS279 (1430) & Harleian MS4016 (1450). London, Oxford Universty Press, 1888. Rpt Vivian Ridler, Printer to the University, 1964. Original serie no.91
  3. Napier, Mrs. ALexander, ed. A Noble Book off Cookry for a Prynce Houssolde or Eny Other Estately Houssolde. c. 1467. Reprinted verbatim from a rare MS in the Holkham Collection. Elliot Stock. London, 1882.



This is the final pasta ripieni (stuffed pasta) from The Pasta Project. I used two recipes: the first is from The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570) and the second is from The Art of Cooking; The First Modern Cookery Book written by The Eminent Maestro Martino of Como in 1465 (1).

I would like to mention that in 15th & 16th century cooking manuscripts, any filling could be used for any pasta. There are several recipes in Scappi that tell you that a filling could be used for any sort of torte or ravioli or even without a “casing”. In Queen Anna’s New World of Words by John Florio, an Italian to English dictionary printed in 1611 (2), he tells us that ravioli is basically a generic term meaning ” a bundle, a cradle, a folding up”. This means that any time we read a historical cooking manuscript, when we see a ravioli, it means that it is any shaped and filled pasta that you want to make.

While ravioli is any generic filled pasta, we also see tortellini and anolini which Scappi differentiates by giving instructions for shaping them and  John Florio tells us that aniline is a diminutive of anello meaning “a small ring”. Scappi describes anolini as “tiny like haricot beans or chickpeas, with their little edges overlapping so they look like cappelletti. So back to john Florio and a cappelletti is “any kind of chaplet or little hat”.


Original Recipe (3)

178. Book II

“Per far tortelletti con pancia di porco, & altre materie dal nullo chiamate annolini

…..e come sara fattatel compositione babbiasi un sfoglio di pasta futto come il sopradeiso, e faccianosi gli anolini piccioli come faggiuolio ceci, e congiunti con li lar pizzetti in modo che siano vennuti a foggia di cappelletti, e quando faranno fatti lascinosi riposare al quanto, e cuocanosi in buon brodo di carne, e servanosi cum cascio, zuccaro, e cannella sopra…..”

Translation (4)

“….When the mixture is made up, get a sheet of dough made as above and with it make tiny anolini like haricot beans or chickpeas, with their little edges overlapping so they look like cappelletti, and cook in good meat broth, and serve with cheese, sugar, and cinnamon on top….”

Original Recipe (3)

179. Book II

“Per far minestra di tortelletti d’herba alla Lombarda

 Piglinosi hiete, o spinacci, taglinosi minute, e lovinosi in piu acque, e strucchisi fuori l’acqua, faccianosi soffriggere con butiro fresco, e con esse ponasi a bollie una brancata d’herbe odorifere, e caninosi, e ponganosi in un vaso di terra o di rame stagnato, e giungauisi cascio parmeggiano grattato, e cascio grasso, dell’uno quanto dell’altro , e pepe, cannella, garofani, zafferano, una passa & uoue crude a bastanza; e se la compositione folle troppo liquida pongauisi pan grattato, ma se sara treppo soda, mettauisi un poco piu di butiro, & babbiasi un sfoglio di pasta fatta mel modo che dice nel e. 176. e faccianosi i tortelletti piccioli, e gradi, sace doli cuocer in buon brodo di carne, e servanosi con cascio, zuccaro, e cannella sopra.”

Translation (4)

“To make soup of herbed tortelletti in the style of Lombard

Take chard or spinach, chop it up small and wash it in several changes of water. Press the water out of it, saute it in fresh butter and set it to boil with a handful of aromatic herbs. Take that out and put it in an earthenware or tinned copper pot, adding in grated Parmesan cheese and a creamy cheese in the same amount, pepper, cinnamon, cloves, saffron, raisins and enough raw eggs. If that mixture is too moist, put in grated bread; if too dry, a little more butter. Have a sheet of dough made up the way that is directed in recipe 176 and make tortellini of various sizes, cooking them in a good meat broth. Serve them garnished with cheese, sugar and cinnamon.”


My Redaction

Printable recipe

Click here for the dough recipe


Please note: The below amounts have already been reduced.

  • 4oz Spinach
  • 4oz Parmesan Cheese
  • 4oz Ricotta Cheese
  • Butter
  • 1/2 tsp. Pepper
  • 1-2 threads of Saffron
  • 1 tsp. Mint, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. Cloves
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup of Raisins, depending on your preference, ground in a mortar.
  • 2 or more eggs
  • 1 tsp. fresh Marjoram, chopped fine

Wash the spinach and dry it completely. Chop the spinach, mint and marjoram finely. Add them to a small amount of butter and the saffron and sautè them until soft and cooked. Cool completely.

Put spinach mixture into a bowl or food processor and add remaining ingredients using only one egg to start and adding a second if mixture needs it. If using a food processor you can add the raisins whole.

     Keep in mind that the total amount of filling used for one anolini is a scant 1/8 teaspoon so the mixture must be homogenous. While a food processor makes life considerably easier, you will get better results grinding things in a mortar.

Roll the pasta dough (by hand or with a machine) until pretty thin. Cut out small rounds, we used the cap from a rosewater bottle. It was somewhere between a nickel and a quarter in size.

Take a scant 1/8 teaspoon of the filling and place in the center of each round. Barely wet half of the edges and then close it up, pressing the edges firmly to seal. You should have something that looks like a small half circle. Gently wrap this tiny half circle around  the tip of your finger and press the ends together.

Anolini wrap

You should wind up with something resembling the picture below.

Final anolini



  1. Florio, John. Queen Anna’s New World of Words (1611). Scholar Press. 1973. Print.
  2. Como, The Emminent Maestro Martino of.  The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book. 1465. 14 ed. by Luigi Ballerini, translated and annotated by Jeromy Parzen., Regents of the University of California, 2005. Print.
  3. Retrieved August 3, 2019.
  4. Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi, The. (1570) Trans. Terrence Scully. Toronto Canada. University of Toronto Press. 2008. Print.

Chicken Tortellini

This tortellini recipe is from “The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi 1570” and was part of the “Pasta Project”. It was written by Bartolomeo Scappi for his apprentice. Scappi was head chef for two popes; Pius IV (1559 –  1565) and Pius V (1566 – 1572) and the funeral for Pope Paul III (1534-1549) and the conclave that elected his successor.

At first glance, this recipe seems unusual to the modern palette. It pairs chicken with cinnamon and other sweet spices. My personal opinion is that Scappi was a culinary genius. He pairs sweet with sour, or agrodulce, with savory creating some of the most delicious historical bites. Let me know what you think of this dish.

The Original Text (1)

“Per fare tortelletti con la polpa di cappone

 Pestinosi nel mortaio due polpa di due petti capponi, che prima erano flatialessati una libre di midolle di bova senza ossa, tre onice di grasso di pollo, e tre di zinna di vitella lessata, e quando ogni cosa sarà pesta, ginnganisi una libre di calcio grasso, otto onice di zuccaro, una onice di cannella, mezza oncia di pepe, zafferano a bastanza, mezza oncia tra garofani e noci moscate, quattro onice d’una pasta di Corinto ben netta, una brancata tra menta, maiorana, & altre herbette odorifere, quattro rossi d’uove fresche, e due con il chiaro, fatta che sarà la detta compositione di modo che non sia troppo salata, sabbiasi una sfoglio di pasta alquanto sottile, fatto di fior di farina, acqua di rosi, sale, butiro, zuccaro, & acqua sepida e con esso sfoglio faccianosi i tortelletti piccioli, e grandi tagliati con lo sperone, o buffolo, e faccianosi cuocere in buon brado di pollo, o d’altra carne grasso, e cervanosi con cascio, zuccaro, e cannella sopra. In questo modosimo modo si potribbe fare di polpe di galline d’India, e pavoni arrostitinello spedo, e di faggiani, e starni, e di altri volatili & sati, e anche di loin boletti di vitella arrostiti nello spedo con grasso di rognone.”

Translation (2)

To Make Tortelletti with Chicken Breast

In a mortar grind the flesh of two capon breasts that have first been boiled with a pound of boneless beef marrow, three ounces of chicken fat, and three ounces of boiled veal udder; when everything is ground up, add in a pound of creamy cheese, eight ounces of sugar, one ounce of cinnamon, half an ounce of pepper, enough saffron, half an ounce of cloves and nutmeg together, four ounces of very clean currant raisins, a handful of mint, sweet marjoram and other common aromatic herbs together, four fresh egg yolks and two with their whites. When the mixture is so made up that it is not too salty, get a rather thin sheet of dough made of flour, rosewater, salt, butter, sugar, and warm water and out of that dough, with a cutting wheel or dough cutter, cut out large or small tortellini. Cook them in a good fat broth of chicken or some other meat. Serve them with cheese, sugar and cinnamon on top. In the same way you can do it with the flesh of spit-roasted turkey hens and peacocks, and of pheasants and partridges and other commonly eaten fowl, and also of veal loin roasted on a spit with kidney-fat. (Scappi 230)


Dough for Tortellini, Anolini and Other Formed Pasta

So again, to make this dish we must first make the dough. Scappi uses this dough for a couple of recipes, specifically tortellini and anolini. I find it intriguing that he has so many different doughs for pasta. The dough we used for the Lobster Ravioli was softer, more pliable and contained white wine and olive oil. Most importantly, it was delicious when fried as Scappi directed.

Dough Redaction

  • 100 grams of Semolina Flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. rosewater
  • 1/4 cup warm water

Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into cubes and work it into the flour mix, rubbing it between your fingers. Add the rosewater and half of the warm water. Mix this until it comes together into a shaggy dough. Knead the dough adjusting the amount of liquid until it forms a smooth supple dough, approximately the consistency of play-dough.

Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes and then roll it thin and cut whatever shapes you will need. In this recipe we cut two inch squares and used these to make tortellini.

Note: This recipe makes enough for hundreds of tortellini. I would recommend halving the below amounts. 

Filling Redaction

Printable recipe

  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 12 oz. Ricotta Cheese
  • 1 oz. cinnamon
  • 1/2 oz. Pepper
  • 1/2 oz. Nutmeg and Cloves together
  • 1 tbsp. Minced Fresh Mint
  • 1 tbsp. minced fresh Marjoram
  • 8 oz. Sugar
  • 1 or 2 threads saffron
  • 4 oz. dried Currants
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 batch of pasta dough

Boil the chicken breasts in water. While the chicken cools pound the currants in a mortar and set aside. When the chicken is cool enough to handle, minced it very fine and place it in the mortar to grind to a fine paste.

chicken filling 1

Mincing Chicken breast


Chicken filling2

Grinding minced chicken

chicken filling 3

Final consistency

When the chicken is a paste like consistency add the ricotta, spices, herbs, currants and eggs. It is important that the filling be ground as finely as possible. Each tortellini contains only one teaspoon, AT THE MOST, probably more like one half to three quarters of a teaspoon.

To form the tortellini, take the two inch squares of dough and place a scant 1/2 teaspoon of filling in the center. Barely wet the edges of half the square and fold it in half from point to point so you have a triangle shape. Now for the tricky part: Take the triangle and wrap it around your finger so that the points on the longest side go around your finger and meet. The final tortellini should look like the one below.

Version 2

Cook the tortellini in a fatted broth. If I do not have homemade stock I have used a store bought stock and added butter or oil for the “fat”. When the tortellini rise to the surface of the water cook them an additional 1-2 minutes. Serve them with a little of the broth and parmesan cheese. Garnish them with a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon on top.

This recipe is delicious even though the modern palette finds the combination of chicken and cinnamon odd. During the pasta project these tortellini were the second favorite behind the Lobster Ravioli. Please let me know what you think!

Note: since there is a lot of cinnamon in the filling you can skip this if you would like. I recommend trying it in it’s original form before making alterations. The added cinnamon on top was basically showing off your wealth. Spices were extremely expensive and to sprinkle it on top was a way to let others know your wealth.

Note: This recipe was redacted to enter into a competition so I did exactly what the original text described. You can substitute the spices you prefer. You can also throw everything into a food processor, you do not have to grind it by hand. I will say that you get a smoother final product if you use a mortar and do everything manually.




  1. Scappi, Bartolomeo. 1570 Digital copies of the original text, Italian retrieved 7/30/2019
  2. Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi (1570). Trans. Terrence Scully. Toronto, Canada. University of Toronto Press. 2008. Print.

Pasta Dough

Dough for Tortellini, Anolini and Other Formed Pasta

Scappi uses this dough for a couple of recipes, specifically tortellini and anolini. I find it intriguing that he has so many different doughs for pasta. The dough we used for the Lobster Ravioli was softer, more pliable and contained white wine and olive oil. Most importantly, it was delicious when fried as Scappi directed.

NOTE: The credit for this redaction goes to my husband, Ben.


  • 100 grams of Semolina Flour
  • 1 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. rosewater
  • 1/4 cup warm water

Combine the flour, salt and sugar. Cut the butter into cubes and work it into the flour mix, rubbing it between your fingers. Add the rosewater and half of the warm water. Mix this until it comes together into a shaggy dough. Knead the dough adjusting the amount of liquid until it forms a smooth supple dough, approximately the consistency of play-dough.

Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes and then roll it thin and cut whatever shapes you will.





Lobster Ravioli

I was not sure how to organize this blog. Should I arrange the recipes cronologically or by original manuscript etc. I decided to jump in and do whatever recipes were intriguing me at the moment. So here is the first recipe.

This recipe is part of a greater project, “The Pasta Project”. A dear friend of mine was making pasta at home trying to use the ingredients and methods of Maestro Martino of Como, a 15th century chef and Bartolomeo Scappi, a 16th century text. The project started out with the formed pastas of vermicelli, gnocchi and maccheroni (16th century spelling). As we rolled along the project morphed to included two sauces for the gnocchi, lasagna, and three pasta ripieni or stuffed pasta.

Background Info

Ravioli are a very old food. The first documentable reference to ravioli is in 14th century. The earliest mention of ravioli appears in the writings of a 14th century merchant, Francesco di Marco, a merchant of Venice in the 14th century. Ravioli are also mentioned in the 14th century manuscript Libro per cuoco (1) and describes ravioli of green herbs blanched and minced, mixed with beaten egg and fresh cheese and simmered in a fatty broth.

Most scholars agree that these little bundles were originally Arab in origin and came to southern Italy at an early date. By the 14th century ravioli were well known throughout Europe and they are included in several cooking manuscripts during this time. (2)

According to John Florio (3), a ravioli is a “bundle or a fardle”. In Martino (4) and Scappi (5), several ravioli recipes have no casing or dough. It was just the filling that was boiled in fatted meat broth. In modern times a ravioli has come to mean a dough wrapped filling while just the filling has become a dumpling, of sorts.

The Original Text

Per fare torta di banche di locuste “Piglinosi le banche lessate in acqua, mondino, & pesticcino nel mortaio con pignoli che siano stati in molle, & datteri freschi, & pasta di marzapane, & ogni cosa si farà una composizione con zucccero, uove fresche, menta maioriana & pimpinella battute minute, & un poco di mostacciolo fatto in polvere, cannella fina pesta, e buttino fresco, mescolata ogni cosa insieme, & d’essa composizione si fara torta co un poco di sfoglia di pasta sotto fatto come di sopra, & il giorno di viglia in luogo di buttino ogle di mandole dolci & in luogo dell’uva mollica di pane cotta in latte di mandole, & se ne potranno anche fare ravioli senza spoglie, & con le spoglie, servendoli con zuccaro, & cannella sopra dapovi che faranno lessate, & se ne porrebbeno ancho fare ravioli fritti co olio, cioè incolti in una pasta fatta di fior di farina, ogle, vino bianco, sale, & acqua.”


“To Prepare a tort of Lobster claws Get claws that have been boiled in water, shell them and grind them in a mortar with steeped pine nuts, fresh dates and marzipan paste; make a mixture of all that combined with sugar, fresh eggs, finely beaten mint, marjoram and burnet, as well as a little powdered mosticciolo, finely ground cinnamon and fresh butter, everything mixed together. With that mixture make up a torte with a small sheet of pastry both beneath and above. On fast days instead of butter use sweet almond oil, and instead of eggs, breadcrumb cooked in almond milk. You can also make ravioli of it with or without a casing, serving it dressed with sugar and cinnamon after it has been boiled. You could also make ravioli fried in oil – that is, encased in a dough made of fine flour, oil, white wine, salt & water” Translated by Terrence Scully: The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi 1573 (pg. 580)

My Redaction

The following research on the wheats and dough is credited to my husband, Ben.

Any pasta recipe starts with the dough and any discussion of period pasta dough starts with a discussion of wheat. The nutshell version: the ancestor of modern wheat is einkorn wheat which is not a good bread wheat being that it is bitter and needs to be leached. Einkorn mated with a wild grass to produce emmer wheat. Emmer has developed into what we know as bread wheats and durum. Emmer is better for bread but is very hard to mill. The modern bread wheats Vulgare, Compactum and spelt are much easier to mill.

Durum, in latin, means hard. Durum wheat is a very high protein, high gluten wheat but it has a very low moisture content. This means that it is not very good for bread (but you can make bread with it) but it is perfectly suited for making pasta. Pasta made from durum wheat, once dried, can be stored for years. (6) (Storck 31-33) Semolina is a grind of durum wheat whose coarseness is equivalent to fine cornmeal. Scappi notes that plain, non stuffed pasta could be dried and stored for an extended period of time which was the purpose that dried pasta was originally designed (Scappi 48)

We have tried to make several period pasta using bread flour, spelt and cake flour (because Scappi uses the term “fine” flour) but the soft flours mildewed quickly. Pasta made with all purpose flour (a combination of soft and hard wheat flour) and semolina did not mildew. Our conclusion is that Scappi would have used semolina for all pasta including pasta asciutta, or dried pasta and all-purpose only for pasta to be used immediately or stuffed pasta.

Dough Redaction

  • †200 g. semolina
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3tbsp. water
  • 3tbsp. white wine
  • 1 tsp. salt

Make a well in the center and add the egg, olive oil, wine and water


Use your hand as a whisk to incorporate the liquids.
















Keep slowly incorporating the flour until it comes together as a shaggy dough


Keep kneading until the dough forms a smooth subtle ball similar to play-dough in consistency. Let the dough rest for thirty minutes, wrapped in saran.Knead the dough for approximately 20 minutes. You may have to adjust the amount of liquid or flour.


Filling Redaction


  • 2 Lobster Tails
  • 1/4 cup Marzipan (recipe here)
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon, ground
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh marjoram
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3-4 dried chopped dates
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp. ground mostaccioli (recipe here)

Bring 1 cup of water to a boil and turn off heat. Place pine nuts in water to steep. Bring another pot of water to a boil and cook lobster. I know the recipe calls for lobster claws but where I live they are not available. Matter of fact, we can’t even get whole lobster in the local grocery so I used what is available to me, the tails.

When the lobster is cool enough to handle put them in a food processor with the steeped nuts, marzipan, sugar, eggs, mint, marjoram, mosticcioli, cinnamon and butter. If you want to stay strictly with period methods, take the lobster and cut it very finely with a sharp knife. Almost like you did when mincing the fresh herbs. Add everything into a medium bowl and stir until it is a homogenous mixture. If you want it even finer, after you chop the lobster put it into a mortar and grind it to a paste. I usually skip this step because I like a bit of tooth to this ravioli.

Cutting with a fluted wheel into 2 inch ravioli



Rolling Dough into a rectangleEnter a caption



After your filling is made, roll the dough into a rectangle about 1/8 of an inch thick. Place filling in one tablespoon lumps about two inches apart on your dough. Quickly baste the dough in between the lumps with water including the outside edges. Place another sheet of dough over the top and cup your hands around each lump and press all the air out. If you skip this step, your ravioli will burst while cooking and the filling will boil out. Cut the lumps apart into two inch squares using a pasta wheel, knife or even a pizza cutter.


Boiling the ravioliEnter a caption

Boiling the ravioli


Ravioli ready to go!


Cook ravioli in rapidly boiling, generously salted water. You can also use a meat broth to boil the ravioli. They will take about five minutes or so to cook. A general rule is when they float to the surface, cook them for a minute longer and then take the ravioli out.

These are delicious!

So after we cooked almost all of these ravioli we realized that Scappi mentioned frying them in oil. We fried the last 8 ravioli and they were EVEN MORE DELICIOUS, if you can believe that!

During our presentation to the populace and judging for the pasta project, these were always the first to disappear!


Fried on the left and boiled on the right. Dressed with cinnamon and sugar.




Boiled ravioli dressed with cinnamon, sugar and parmesan cheese.



1) “Translation of Libro per Cuoco (14th/15th c.) (Anonimo Veneziano)”. Trans. Helewyse de Birkestad, OL (MKA Louise Smithson). 2005. Retrieved November 2018.

2)Riley, Gillian. “The History of Pasta” The Oxford Companion to Italian Food. Retrieved September 2018

3) Florio, John. Queen Anna’s New World of Words or Dictionarie of the Italian and English Tongues. 1611

4) Como, The Emminent Maestro Martino of. The Art of Cooking: The First Modern Cookery Book. 1465. 14th Edition by Luigi Ballerini, translated and annotated by Jeremy Parzen, Regents of The University of California, 2005. Print.

5) Scappi, Bartolomeo. The Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi: L’Arte et Prudeza D’un Maestro Cuoco (The Art and Craft of a Master Cook) (1570). Translated with commentary by Terrence Scully. Toronto Canada. University of Toronto Press Inc. 2008. Print.

6) Storck, John. Walter Darwin Teague. The History of Milling: Flour for Man’s Bread. University of Michigan. 1952. Print




The mostacciolo that Scappi uses here is a kind of biscotti that uses eggs as a leaven. Although it is very good eaten by itself, Scappi uses it mostly to flavor his other dishes. He lists this recipe as a food for the sick (1)

When redacting historical recipes it is important to note that the pound is not a uniform measurement. In Scappi’s Italy the pound, or libre, was 12 oz and not the imperial or modern pound of 16 oz. In latin, the word “libre” means pound and it is the source of our modern abbreviation of lb. The ounce in Scappi’s world is the same as the ounce today and is the approximate weight of twenty mustard seeds. This measurement has not changed in hundreds of years. Further reading is at A Brief History of Measuring (2) and “How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement” (3)

NOTE: Scappi was feeding ALOT of people! His recipes make huge amounts. I would reccommend halving the original amounts. All of my redactions are at least half unless otherwise noted.

Original Recipe

Book VI Recipe 142 (4)

“Perfare morseletti, cioè mostaccioli alla Milanese

Piglisi quindici uoue fresche, e battanosi in una cazzuola, e passino per lo setaccio con due libre e mezza di zuccaro fino fatto in polvere, e mezza oncia di anici crudi, ovvero pitartamo pesto, et un grano o due di muschio fine, e mettanosi con esse libre due e mezza di farina e fattasi ogni cosa per tre quarti d’hora, di modoche venga la pasta come quella delle frittelle, e lascisi riposare per un quarto d’hora, e ribattisi un ‘altra volta, poi si abbiamo apparescchiati fogli di carta fatti a lucerne onti, ouero tortiere alte di sponde con cialde satto senza essere bagnate di cosa alche la grossezza d’un dito, e subito si spolverizzino di zuccaro, e pongano si nel forno che sia caldo, ouero quelle delle tortiere cuocanosi come le torte, e come tal pasta sarà sgonfiata, e hauera in tutto perso l’humidita, e sarà al quanto sodetta, cio sia come una focaccia tenero, cauisi della tortiera o lucerna, e subito si taglino con un coltello largo e sottile, a fette larghe due dita, e lunghe a beneplacito, e rimetta nosi nel forno con fogli di carta sotto a biscottarsi, rivoltandoli spesso, pero il forme non sia tutto caldo come di sopra, e come saranno bene asciutte, cavinosi, e con ferui nosi perché sono sempre migliore il secondo giorno che il primo, e durano un mese nella lar perfettione.”

Translation (5)

To Prepare Dainty Morsels – that is Milanese Style Mosticcioli

Get 15 fresh eggs, beat them in a casserole pot and strain them with two and a half pounds of powdered sugar, half an ounce of raw aniseed or else ground coriander, and a grain or two of fine musk; with that put two and a half pounds of flour. Beat everything for three quarters of an hour so that the dough becomes like fritter batter. Let it sit for a quarter of an hour, then beat it again. Then have greased sheets of paper ready, made like lamps, or else high sided torte pans with, on the bottom, wafers that have not been moistened with anything; then put the batter into the lamps or tourte pans, filling them to no more than the thickness of a finger. Sprinkle them immediately with sugar and put them into a hot oven or, in the case of the ones in the tourte pans, bake them like tourtes. When that batter has risen and thoroughly dried out and is rather firm, that is, it should be soft like focaccia – take it out of the tourte pan or lamp. Right away with a broad, sharp knife cut them up into slices two fingers wide and as long as you like, and put them back into the oven on sheets of paper to bake again like biscuits, turning them often. The oven should not be as hot as before, though. When they have thoroughly dried out, take them out and set them aside because they are always better the second day than the first. They will last a month in their best state.”

Our Redaction

  • Mostaccioli.jpg7 Eggs, beaten
  • 15 oz. Powdered Sugar
  • 1/4 oz. of ground Coriander
  • 15 oz. Flour

First, let me say that we did not include the musk. It undoubtedly changes the flavor profile but it is difficult to get and it just makes me cringe. (For those that do not know, musk is the dried anal glands of a red deer. So, um, yeah, no musk.)

Mix everything together for 45 minutes, a stand mixer works ideally since you can go do something else while it mixes. Allow it to rest for 15 minutes and then mix for another 45 minutes.

The egg is the only leaven so it is extremely important to incorporate as much air as possible to ensure as much rise as possible. The trapped air from whipping the eggs expands from the heat as you bake the mosticcioli. As the eggs cook the air bubbles become set giving the mosticcioli the light and airy texture that a modern biscotti has.

Line a 1/4 sheet pan with parchment paper and pour the batter into the pan. Cook it at 350 for 25 minutes until bread-like and just starting to color.

When done, remove from the oven and as soon as you are able to handle it, cut it into one inch slices. Arrange the strips on a parchment lined 1/2 sheet pan, cut side up, and put them back into a 225. Turn them over every 15-20 minutes until completely dried, an hour – an hour and a half.



1)Opera of Bartolomeo Scappi, The. (1570). Trans. by Terrence Scully. Toronto, Canada. Univrsity of Toronto Press. 2008. Print

2) Lambert, Timothy. “A Brief History of Measuring”. Retrieved December 3, 2018.

3)Rowlett, Russ. “How Many? A Dictionary of Units of Measurement” Copyright Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Retrieved November 27, 2018. Internet