Also known as Pasta Wrappers Filled with Spinache Fettuccine, Porcini Mushrooms, and Ham. I prefer the more romantic name.
Marcella tells us that these were the most sublime of the 30-40 pastas served at Bologna's famous Al Cantunzein restaurant in the late 1960s. I was taken with her description of the restaurant, so I did an internet search and found this vintage newspaper photo from 1968. As it happens, the dish on the serving tray is Scrigno di Venere!
I anticipated this day, and at the same time dreaded it. It wasn't the multiple pages this single recipe fills in the book. It wasn't the fact that you must make two different fresh pastas and two different sauces before you even begin to assemble the Scrigno di Venere. I quite enjoy and look forward to that kind of challenge.
My dread was knowing that when they came out of the oven, I was going to have to photograph my less than perfectly formed pasta packages. And then, I was going to post that photograph here for all to critique. Pressure.
The exterior of the jewel case is made of a single thin sheet of yellow pasta. Marcella instructed that it must be rolled paper thin - you could easily see through to the stripes of my towel.
Inside the scrigno is fresh spinach fettuccine tossed with the ham and porcini sauce and then drizzled with bechamel. The purses are folded up; secured with toothpicks; and wrapped with a single strand of fettuccine before being baked in a hot oven for a few minutes to brown the edges of the wrapper.
It was tramatic to make that first cut into my Venus' Jewel Case.
But the reward was delicious. We didn't have a wine from Emilia-Romagna on hand to enjoy with this dish, but Verona is only one province away, so we opened a 2002 Masi Campofiorin Ripasso. It pairs exceptionally well with mushrooms and had been hanging around long enough.