- Put a little oil in a pan and stir-fry one minced onion. Add a little water in order to prevent the onion from becoming dark.
- Clean the sardines and cut them into pieces. Add them in the pan with the onions.
- Continue cooking the sardines, stirring them with a wooden spoon until they melt into a cream with the onions.
- Cook the bigoli until ‘al dente’ and drain them.
- Add the sauce and some freshly grinded black pepper.
‘Messer Abbondanza’, as Bartolomio Veronese was called, was a pasta maker from Padua, famous for having invented, in the first years of the 17th century, a special machine called bigolaro, to easily produce different kinds of long pasta. Among them, there were some rough big spaghetti, which immediately became very popular. These “bigoli” look like thick spaghetti and are an egg pasta, produced with a press still today. Besides soft wheat flour, they can be made with wholemeal flour, with or without eggs. Bigoli have always been part of Venetian tradition, to the extent that “andare a bigoli” (literally “To go to have bigoli”) means “it’s time to have lunch”. However, it seems the word “bigolo” derives from the typical curved stick used in the past to carry water or flour, which was therefore very common among those who helped the pasta makers. According to the tradition, the “bigoli in salsa” were eaten as a light meal the day before a major celebration, for example on Christmas Eve, Good Friday or Ash Wednesday. They are delicious when served hot, but also if eaten after a few hours, at room temperature. They are a traditional meal also for the Redentore celebration in Venice, when Venetians have dinner on their boats. As it often happens with traditional regional dishes, the success and taste of the recipe depends on the quality of its ingredients: in this case, the white onions from Chioggia and the sardines.