Have you ever heard of risotto alla bolognese? I had not. Or at least I couldn’t remember, because I found it in a cookbook by Biba Caggiano that I’d had for years. It’s not a traditional combination, but it it … Continue reading Risotto alla Bolognese
Bologna is famous for being the food capital of Italy. The best-known pasta dishes from Bologna are tagliatelle (not spaghetti!) alla bolognese and lasagne alla bolognese, both made with fresh egg pasta and the famous ragù alla bolognese. Being the … Continue reading Gramigna al Ragù di Salsiccia (Fresh Pasta with Sausage Ragù)
Did you know October 25 is World Pasta Day? I didn’t until today. For us, almost every day is pasta day. There are countless varieties and even more sauces, and we like them all. I’ve written before on this blog that my love for Italian cooking initiated from the books of Biba Caggiano. I have almost all of her books, and I have cooked many of the recipes in them. But not all, and today’s pasta is a dish that I had never tried yet, even though it’s in the first of Biba’s books I have owned for 15 years now. I wish now I had tried it sooner, because it is really good!
Gramigna is a special kind of homemade local pasta from Bologna. Gramigna are often served wit sausage and cream, and Biba was inspired by that for the sauce in this recipe. As you need a special tool to make gramigna, we prepared fresh fettuccine instead. Continue reading “Fettuccine with Porcini, Sausage, and Cream”
Certosino is a traditional fruitcake from Bologna that I made around Christmas time. It is not hard to make and has a very nice flavor. It tasted great but I wasn’t completely happy with how it looked: I used a rectangular pan because I didn’t have a round pan of the proper size, and I wasn’t sure that the baking soda had done its job properly. I decided to make it again, using baking powder rather than baking soda (even though Italian recipes all call for bicarbonato, which is baking soda) and using a newly bought 20 cm (8″) round springform … Continue reading Certosino Revisited
Another traditional Christmas dish from Bologna with an ‘official’ recipe is Certosino or Pan Speziale (“spicy bread”). I had never made it before, but I really liked it and will certainly make it again. Originally it was named after the pharmacists (called “speziali”) that made this in medieval times, but later it was made by the monks of Certosa and named after that. The official recipe has been deposited only in 2003 and is now a “Specialità tradizionale garantita”. Italian recipes are often imprecise and this is no exception, although the quantities are specified. It reads “Amalgamare spezie, lievito, miele, zucchero, … Continue reading Certosino di Bologna (Fruitcake from Bologna)
Tortellini in brodo (tortellini in broth) is a classic Christmas dish from Bologna. The tortellini need to be so small that you can eat them in a single bite, together with the broth. It is quite a bit of work to make them as well as the broth from scratch, but certainly worth it. You can make the broth and the tortellini the day before, in fact my advice would be to do that. Officially you need a capon (neutered rooster) to make the broth, but a plump farm chicken will do. Tortelli and tortellini are the typical stuffed pasta shapes from … Continue reading Tortellini in Brodo
My love for the Italian kitchen has partly originated from a woman whom I’ve never had the pleasure to meet: Biba Caggiano. She is an Italian from Bologna who moved to the USA in 1960 and later opened her own restaurant in Sacramento (where I have eaten in 2009, but sadly she wasn’t around herself because she was sick at the time — best authentic Italian food I’ve eaten in the USA despite her absence) and wrote many cookbooks. I received one of her first books, Modern Italian Cooking as a birthday gift in 1998. Trying the recipes in this … Continue reading Tagliatelle Verdi con Ragù Bianco