Istrian pasta and its picturesque garnishings

Istrian pasta and its picturesque garnishings

In the course of its journey from Italy towards Istria both names and forms of pasta changed, eventually being transformed into authentic features of Istrian cuisine. Lovers of Italian pasta could probably become confused by the Istrian lasagna. They are not in fact rectangular sheets of pasta laid one on top of another with sauce in between, but simply wide strip noodles, a shape which makes them suitable for different dishes, including making tasty nests for white truffles.

 

The best known Istrian pasta is fuži, small squares of pasta diagonally rolled into tubes. Flour, salt and water are mixed into smooth dough which is rolled into a thin sheet, cut into 4x4cm squares, the opposite corners of which are folded towards the middle and pressed so as to stick together.

 

Suitable for a variety of dishes, fuži are most often found as a welcoming starter to žgvacet – delectable Istrian goulash, i.e. pieces of meat in a thick gravy - chicken version is very popular and widespread, as well as all kinds of larger game.

 

The favourite pasta in Svetvinčenat and its surroundings are pljukanci, small, spindle-shaped pieces of dough, most appreciated when served with pieces of prosciutto and wild asparagus, or with gravy made with sausage or of mushroom, locally known as martinčica or, if you will, Clitocybe geotropa. But it is also quite sufficient to sprinkle this excellent pasta with good grated cheese – particularly if it comes from the nearby village of Šikuti. There, one can chance on a very strong cheese, made of a mixture of sheep and goat milk, but which is not easy to find.

Maja Danica Pečanić

Home-made pasta is highly appreciated in Istria, but there are a number of small producers who have earned a fine reputation among connoisseurs of good pasta.