The Chef’s Table

Created by the Chefs of Maggiano’s Little Italy

February 6, 2014

Thursday, February 13th,  we're celebrating National Tortellini Day by taking a look at the story behind this Roman celebratory dish.

Maggiano's Celebrates National Tortellini Day

Tortellini has two different stories of origin (as is often the case in Italian history). One is more exotic, while the other more practical. The first comes from an Italian epic mock-heroic poem published in the 1600's called “la secchia rapita,” or “the stolen bucket.” The poem is based on a real-life war between the cities of Modena and Bologna over the possession of a wooden bucket. According to the legend, Venus and Jupiter arrived at a tavern near Bologna one evening, tired from the battle between the cities.  The innkeeper peaked through the keyhole at the two and could only see Venus’s navel. Inspired, he rushed to create a  pasta – the tortellini – in its image.

The more practical story suggests that Italian mothers would close the tortellini to prevent filling from leaking into the broth while cooking. Either way, the tortellini is traditionally prepared around festivities with groups of old friends as they celebrate and socialize.

Are you a fan of stuffed pastas, too? Please join us at to indulge! We invite you to the warm atmosphere at Maggiano’s Little Italy for your next meal or special occasion. We also invite you to join our E-club, like us on Facebook, follow us on InstagramTwitter and Pinterest, and watch us on YouTube for more recipes and ideas.  

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