What is a Pansotti?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

The term pansotti comes from the Italian word for "pot bellied," which is a perfect description for this plump kind of pasta. Pansotti is a stuffed pasta that is triangular in shape and has pinked edges, which means that its edges have been pressed in a manner that makes them look as though they were cut with pinking shears, giving them a zig-zag pattern. In some cases, the edges are closed in a manner that gives them a flat, even look.

Pansotti is often made with a filling that includes ricotta cheese.
Pansotti is often made with a filling that includes ricotta cheese.

This kind of pasta is most common in northern Italy in the area known as Liguria. Liguria, which is a largely coastal area, is one of the smallest regions of Italy. Pansotti is especially popular in one particular part of Liguria known as Recco.

Ricotta cheese and spinach combine to make a popular filling for vegetarian pansotti.
Ricotta cheese and spinach combine to make a popular filling for vegetarian pansotti.

The pasta is made out of an eggless pasta dough that is cut into squares that are two inches (about five centimeters) in width. The filling is placed in the center of the dough, which is then folded into a triangle shape. Pansotti may be stuffed with a variety of kinds of fillings, but is never made with meat.

One of the most common fillings is ricotta cheese and spinach. Sometimes the filling is a combination of ricotta cheese and something called "preboggion". Preboggion is a mixture of wild greens and herbs that are native to the Liguria area. The greens are boiled together before being added to the stuffing mixture.

Pansotti can be enjoyed with a number of sauces. It is most commonly served with walnut sauce, tomato sauce, and mushroom sauce. It can also be served simply with olive oil and grated pecorino romano cheese. Pansotti is cooked by boiling it for five to nine minutes, depending on the freshness of the the pasta. It is then drained, sauced, and served.

This is a rather healthy kind of pasta because it is stuffed with greens. Also, ricotta cheese is naturally low in fat. Furthermore, pansotti is a vegetarian pasta and is almost always served with vegetarian sauces. This means that the dish is naturally low in cholesterol. The sauces that are used to dress pansotti are, for the most part, healthy and reasonable in terms of their fat and carbohydrate content. Both tomato sauce and a simple dressing of olive oil and pecorino romano cheese are good, healthy options for pansotti sauces that are both naturally low in fat and carbohydrates.

Pansotti is most common in northern Italy in the area known as Liguria. which is one of the smallest regions of Italy.
Pansotti is most common in northern Italy in the area known as Liguria. which is one of the smallest regions of Italy.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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