It’s incredible but true.
The Emilian cities of Bologna, Modena, Reggio Emilia, and Parma lie very close to one another (it takes about an hour and 15 minutes to drive from Bologna to Parma) and they share similar dialects, traditions, and customs, including their gastronomic culture. Their major food products are the same: Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar, etc.
Yet the cuisine in each province is highly distinct.
In Bologna and Modena, they eat tortellini in brodo. The word tortellini comes from the word tortello or little torte. But the dish is actually not little tortes but rather stuffed pasta served in broth (brodo means broth).
In Reggio Emilia, they eat cappelletti in brodo — little hats in broth.
And in Parma they eat anolini in brodo (in the two photos, above).
No one really knows where the word anolini (plural of anolino) comes from. But it is probably a relative of the Piedmontese agnolotti, which probably comes from Piedmontese dialect anulòt, an iron tool used to shape metal into a ring. The anolino is circle-shaped. And this could very well be the origin of the world. But no one really knows.
There are many different versions of the filling for this stuffed pasta. And in Piacenza, not far from Parma, it is filled with finely ground meat and cheese.
In Parma province, however, the canonical filling is bread that has been dipped in rich stock and then finely ground with aged Parmigiano Reggiano.
Where the word comes from will probably always remain a mystery. But one thing we know for certain is that anolini in brodo are a fantastic pairing for Lambrusco.