Ingredients: Per 4 servings
Work the eggs, the breadcrumbs, 5 oz (150 g) of the Parmigiano, the butter, the flour, salt, and nutmeg together to form a dough. Cover with plastic wrap and leave to rest for 20 minutes. In a pan, bring the stock (preferably chicken stock made with a capon) to the boil.
With the aid of a potato ricer—in the absence of a special “iron” with a disk featuring larger holes—pass through all the mixture to obtain strips the length of a finger. Drop the passatelli straight into the boiling stock. Cook thoroughly and serve in soup bowls with the stock and a generous helping of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
One of the most beloved spices in traditional Italian cuisine is nutmeg. Nutmeg is the seed of the fruit of the Myrustica Fragrans, an evergreen tree originally from an atoll in the Pacific Ocean and cultivated in different areas along the equator. Until a century ago, nutmeg has been one of the most rare and precious spices in the world. For some time, the nutmeg tree grew exclusively on the slopes of the Run volcano in the Spice, or Maluku, Islands.
It was extremely difficult and dangerous to reach the islands, but ever since 1500, the top European powers sent people to retrieve this precious spice. The trip was so difficult that two out of three fleets of ships did not make it back, and those that did returned destroyed. Despite the travel conditions, Holland, England and Portugal fought to dominate the nutmeg market for at the time, nutmeg was the most sought-after spice. It was known to be an aphrodisiac and have curative effects; people believed that it could cure the plague. The three European powers fought for a long time, until the Portuguese withdrew from the fight to concentrate their efforts in their South American colonies and the Dutch and British finally came to an accord: the Dutch would have the exclusive rights to the sale of nutmeg from Run and in exchange the English would be given a small island in North America that the Duke of York had illegally occupied for a number of years. At the moment of the deal, the Dutch thought that they had come out ahead, but just a few years later the English began cultivating the Myrustica Fragrans elsewhere. The Dutch were no longer had the exclusive on the nutmeg market while the little island given to the English was non other than Manhattan.
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