The secret behind Italy's rarest pasta

It's so difficult and time-consuming to prepare, that for 300 years only the women of a single Sardinian family knew how to make it.

Paola Abraini, 62, wakes up at 7 am every day to prepare the pasta (Credit: Eliot Stein) click on picture

“Many people say that I have a secret I don’t want to reveal,” Abraini told me, smiling. “But the secret is right in front of you. It’s in my hands.”

Su filindeu is made by pulling and folding semolina dough into 256 perfectly even strands with the tips of your fingers, and then stretching the needle-thin wires diagonally across a circular frame in an intricate three-layer pattern. It’s so difficult and time-consuming to prepare that for the past 200 years, the sacred dish has only been served to the faithful who complete a 33km pilgrimage on foot or horseback from Nuoro to the village of Lula for the bi-annual Feast of San Francesco.

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