Ark of taste
Back to the archive >

The linguistic minority of the Arbëreshë have been present in southern and insular Italy for many centuries; they settled in Italy between the fifteenth and eighteenth centuries. Given their historical presence, the influences that have occurred and the migrations, it is difficult to speak of a real arbëreshë cuisine, however, many characteristic elements of the Italo-Albanian culture can be found in some traits of their gastronomy: there are in fact products and recipes that have been handed down and preserved from generation to generation and which are still made today within families.

Among these is the shëtridhlat: a type of fresh pasta that resembles the most classic of tagliatelle, but which in reality is not, because it is made only by hand, without using a rolling pin or pasta machine. It is in fact a very interesting process, which almost always involves a group of women creating a singing and sharing moment. To make shëtridhlat you need a set of unique abilities and manual skills, which have been handed down and which consist of continuing to work a dough rigorously by hand without breaking it.

The dough is made from carosella flour (an ancient wheat from Southern Italy), semolina, hot water and extra virgin olive oil. All the ingredients are mixed to create a homogeneous mixture; after which a circle is formed in the dough, as if it were a large donut, the circle is made thinner with both hands until a very thin long thread that must not break is produced. To avoid breaking the dough, hands should be wet with water and oil; finally, with the help of some flour, the string of dough is placed on a hand and a kind of ball is created by using special type of rotating movement. This turning motion make the string of dough become longer and thinner.

The shëtridhlat are then cooked in boiling water and once ready they are served with legumes (chickpeas or beans). According to the gastronomic tradition, they should be served with poverelli beans, which are small and round beans that are cooked in a terracotta cooking pot. This plate represents the classic "Sunday" dish and was once called the "pasta of the poor".

This pasta which belongs to the gastronomic culture of the arbëreshë, is produced mainly at home, by elderly women present in families of Albanian origin. Without the correct transmission of this process knowledge to the new generations, all the manual knowledge linked to the processing of shëtridhlat risks being lost.

The research activities necessary for the reporting of this product in the Ark of Taste online catalogue were financed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policies, the General Directorate of the Tertiary Sector and Corporate Social Responsibility – notice n° 1/2018 “Slow Food in action: communities protagonists of change”, pursuant to Article 72 of the Tertiary Sector Code, referred to in Legislative Decree No. 117/2017.

Back to the archive >




Production area:San Costantino Albanese (Potenza province)

Other info



Nominated by:Alice Pettenò