In his presentation at Identità Golose 2019, Massimo Bottura had touched upon one of the leading Italian pasta varieties in the world, tortellini, as a symbol of beauty and culture. While also introducing the Tortellante project, teaching young people with autism to work with fresh pasta.
The association which he is both mentor and ambassador, teaches young people with autism to work with fresh pasta, alongside Rezdore (a group of women from Modena, Italy, who are said to be the keepers of the secrets of true Tortellini) – a project that is giving real employment opportunities to those taking part.
Tortellante’s activities were officially presented on 12 April at the Refettorio Ambrosiano in Milan, with the support of BPER Banca. Hand-folded tortellini made by the young people at the association were served with Osteria Francescana’s cream of Parmigiano to an audience made up mainly of volunteers and members of the Querce district association.
All this activity happens in Modena, not far from Osteria Francescana, where 24 youths, aged 16 and over have learnt and found a real job. “Anyone who has finished school attends Tortellante every morning, doing a real job, while those who still go to school, have the opportunity to learn a job two afternoons a week”, explained Erika Coppelli, president of the association.
“This is a place full of beauty and with beauty, you can rebuild people’s dignity. Today is a special day: there are the Rezdore, the grandmothers, the mothers, the aunts, who dedicate their lives to keeping the family together and folding tortellini using a magic formula that cannot be revealed, but in this case, they do! And they do it with guys who have problems, with difficulty entering employment. This is a totally inclusive project,” said Bottura.