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Italian word of the day: 'Strozzapreti'

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Italian word of the day: 'Strozzapreti'
Photo: DepositPhotos
15:00 CEST+02:00
In honour of World Pasta Day, we celebrate one of Italy's most creative pasta names.

When it comes to pasta, Italy's inventiveness knows no bounds. There are as many shapes as there are sauces, and for each shape a name.

We all know that spaghetti means 'thin strings', vermicelli are 'little worms', farfalle are 'butterflies', conchiglie are 'shells' and orecchiette 'little ears'. 

But today, World Pasta Day, allow us to introduce you to a type of pasta you might not have encountered before: strozzapreti.

They're short twists rolled by hand and they're a speciality of north-central Italy, especially Emilia-Romagna.

Here's what they look like:

No, they're not particularly beautiful, but they do have a wonderful name: strozzapreti means, literally, 'priest-strangler'.

The moniker is thought to come from a legend that greedy priests would gobble down the pasta so quickly they'd choke. Alternatively it could be that housewives, frustrated by having to roll all this pasta by hand (among other things), would get so angry while making it that 'they could strangle a priest!'

There's also a simpler explanation: that the pasta shapes look like priests' dog collars, but that doesn't make for quite so good a story.

Whichever one you believe – and whichever pasta you prefer – happy Pasta Day and buon appetito! Just don't choke on it.

Do you have a favourite Italian word, phrase or expression you'd like us to feature? If so, please email our editor Jessica Phelan with your suggestion.

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