The Cooks’ Guild had much amusement at the last event with pasta construction. Most medieval pasta dishes specify a “foyle of dough” made from flour and water; we added egg, which does occur in a few recipes (Constance Hieatt mentions one from the Anglo-Normal cookery manuscript). You could use a standard broad commercial noodle or lasagne. Most medieval pasta dishes seem to be exclusively cheese dishes, with a few possibilities for meat and vegetable ravioli. See below for a series of recipes from The Form of Curye, a 14th century English cookbook. Makerouns and Losyns were the dishes we made for the event.
Take and makke a thynne foyle of dowh, and kerve it on peces, and cast hym on boillyng water & seeþ it wele. Take chese and grate it, and butter imelte, caste bynethen and above as losyns; and serve forth.
Take and make a thin foil of dough, and cut it in pieces, and cast them into boiling water, and seethe it well. Take cheese and grate it, and melt butter, put [them] beneath and above as you do with losyns [i.e. layer with the pasta], and serve.
– Constructing this dish can be a bit tricky with timing, since you don’t reheat the pasta with the cheese and butter, and thus need to work fairly quickly.
– Boil the pasta until it’s cooked; immediately drain and layer with grated cheese and melted butter, and serve immediately. The heat of the recently-cooked pasta does melt the cheese.
– You should use a hard cheese such as cheddar, as the recipe specifies grating it; you can vary the proportions of cheese to butter to noodles to taste, depending on how rich/fatty you want the dish to be.
– Do add salt to the boiling water, although the recipe doesn’t specify this; the addition of salt was often assumed, juding by the fact that Platina warns us not to over-salt without ever telling us to salt in the first place.
Take good broth and do in an erthen pot. Take flour of pandemayne and make þereof past with water, and make þerof thynne foyles as paper with a roller; drye it harde and seeþ it in broth. Take chese ruayn grated and lay it in disshes with powdour douce, and lay theron loseyns isolde as hoole as thou myst, and above powdour and chese; and so twyse or thryse, & serve it forth.
Take good broth and put into an earthen pot. Take [high-quality white] flour and make of it a paste with water, and make of it thin foils like paper, with a roller; dry it hard and boil it in broth. Take autumn cheese, grated, and lay it in dishes with sweet spice powder, and lay onto it lozenges as whole as you can, and above them [lay] powder and cheese, and repeat the layers twice or thrice, and serve it.
– Like the first recipe, this needs to be assembled and served with speed to allow the cheese to melt on the hot pasta without reheating.
– “Loysns” means lozenges, referring to the shape of the pasta; you can cut your sheet of dough into diamond shapes if making it fresh.
– It makes a huge difference to the flavour to cook the pasta in broth; either a home-made meat or vegetable stock, or one of the commercial cube variety.
– “Poudre douce” is literally sweet powder; a mixture of sugar and the less piquant spices such as cinnamon and nutmeg.
– The lozenges of pasta are layered with grated cheese and spices; again, the cheese should be grating texture, but an autumn cheese is semi-soft – harder than Brie or Camembert, but not as hard as cheddar. I’d probably go for mozarella; Hieatt & Butler suggest Pont l’Eveque.
Take wete chese and grynde hit smal, & medle hit wyt eyren & saffron and a god quantite of buttur. Make a thin foile of dowe & close hem þerin as turteletes, & cast hem in boylyng watur, & sethe hem þerin. Take hot burrur meltede & chese ygratede, & ley þi ravioles in dissches; & ley þi hote buttur wyt gratede chese bineþe & aboue, & cast þereon powdur douce.
Take [sweet or white] cheese and grind it small, and mix it with eggs and saffron and a good quantity of butter. Make a thin foil of dough and enclose [the filling] in them as you do with tartelettes, and put them into boiling water and boil them. Take hot melted butter and grated cheese, and lay the ravioles in dishes, and lay the hot butter with grated cheese below and above them, and sprinkle with sweet powder.
– I haven’t tried this recipe; it seems to be a fairly straightforward cheese ravioli, boiled and then served with grated cheese and butter. Tartlettes are a similar filled pasta dish with a pork and currant filling.
Jehanne de Huguenin