Never mind angel hair. The rarest pasta on earth is called su filindeu — “the threads of God.”
It takes hours to prepare a single serving, and the only people who know how to make it are three women in the ancient Italian town of Nuoro: Paola Abraini, 62, her niece and her sister-in-law. According to the BBC, the recipe has been passed down from generation to generation in her family for 300 years.
But despite the privileged order of chefs who know the secret to su filindeu’s preparation, the recipe is not a secret at all. Like something out of an Italian legend, the trick to making su filindeu cannot be taught or learned. Apparently, and mysteriously, it can only be acquired. Reports the BBC:
Last year, a team of engineers from Barilla pasta came to see if they could reproduce her technique with a machine. They couldn’t. After hearing rumours about a secret Sardinian pasta, Carlo Petrini, the president of Slow Food International, visited this spring. And this summer, British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver stopped by to ask Abraini if she could teach him how to make the dish. After failing for two hours, he threw his hands up and said, “I’ve been making pasta for 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this.”
In fact, there are videos of Abraini making su filindeu all over the internet, and the actual ingredients are almost elemental in their simplicity: semolina wheat, water and salt. It’s so time-consuming to make, however, that only a couple thousand people have the opportunity to eat it each year, and only after completing a 33-kilometer hike.
Here, see if you can figure it out: