At the turn of the century, SW Portland had an Italian business district, culture and neighborhood. The district remained intact until 1961, when it was abolished due an urban renewal. The city lost not just a thriving business district but a vibrant community as well. There is a movement within the community to restore “Little Italy”. The dream is to recreate an Italian district, with a mixed-use area that will include retail shops, restaurants, residential housing and a cultural center that will renew a familiar way of life for resident and visiting Italians, while inviting the local Portland community to share in the vitality of the Italian culture.
Much of the history of the Italians in Portland has been recorded by the Oregon Historical Society:
In the late 1800’s Italians emigrated to Portland to build a better life. Their desire was to create new opportunities for themselves and their families. As the Italian population increased, it was a natural course of events that a “Little Italy” in Portland developed. It was between 1900 and 1910, however, that Portland saw the largest growth in the city’s Italian American population.
In 1900, the Italian immigrant population stood at just over 1,000 residents and by 1910, that number had increased to more than 5,000 residents. Italians first settled on the southwest edge of Portland near Marquam Gulch and later in northeast Portland.
The first Italian Boarding House was located on Front Ave. and new immigrants coming into Portland were directed to Garibaldi’s Market to find work on the railroads and in other trades. Italian immigrants worked in a wide array of professions. Many hundreds of Italian immigrants worked in Portland’s extensive railroad yards or served as street graders or built and maintained roads throughout the city. Italian entrepreneurs, like Francesco Arata, established shops and restaurants in Italian neighborhoods on both the west and east sides of the Willamette River. Almost 1,300 Italians lived and worked on the east side of the Willamette River. They rented land and grew vegetables and berries, while other families operated truck farms that sold produce to individuals and businesses across the city.
Portland Italians increased and spread to the East side of the river. With approximately 30,000 Italians in the Portland area, activities were numerous. Social clubs, raising funds for local causes, festivals and many celebrations were all part of the culture. In 1921, money was raised through shares to build the Italian Federation Building. This was a culture center for socials, community events and a place for newcomers to become familiar with Portland. Family was important and church was where families stayed connected. St Michael’s Church, still located on Fourth and SW Mill, was known as the “Italian Church.” The church also included an elementary school. Several Italian newspapers were in print and they were popular, as this was the way many immigrants could stay abreast of current events.
In the 1980’s another flow of Italian immigrants arrived in Portland, bringing new life. Along with long time Italian residents and their children, the new wave of immigrants created a resurgence of Italian vitality! Activities have come alive again, such as the annual “Festa Italiana” that draws over 100,000 people in Pioneer Square. Clubs, restaurants, bocce tournaments, Italian radio and conversations, now thrive. Italian business continues to develop, with the most recent success being the Bologna Sister City alliance. This alliance intends to build economic trade between both countries.
The Portland-Bologna Sister City Association (PBSCA) was founded in 2003 by a group of interested citizens in Portland to establish a formal relationship with Bologna, Italy.
The goal of this group is to bring citizens together out of their love, interest and ties to Italy and to create a formal relationship with Bologna. At first glance there are many things that these two cities have in common, from central urban universities to a genuine concern for sustainability and to a citizenry that holds a vivid love for life, family and food. Bologna is best known for its food – undeniably the richest in the country – and for its politics.
Italian Food of Portland
Portland seems to have an affinity for linking Italian culture, food and history together.
Basta Trattoria (on 21st Street in Portland) holds a quarterly Historical Dinner Series with exploration into “The Advent of Italian-American Cuisine,” specifically focusing on the impact that Italian immigrants have had on American food and vice versa. Portland Monthly food writer and food history enthusiast, Allison Jones, co-hosted a recent historical dinner alongside Basta Chef/Owner Marco Frattaroli.
“I’ve always been fascinated by how food and cooking customs create a window into history and it has been exciting to see that so many others share my curiosity,” says Frattaroli, referring to the popularity of past historical dinners at the restaurant that quickly sold out.
Frattaroli launched the Historical Dinner Series with three dinners in the Fall 2011 as a way to explore Italian cuisine through the lens of history. This year, the restaurant is planning a quarterly series that offers one dinner per season. At each dinner, a guest speaker will share his/her expertise on a relevant subject. Meanwhile, Chef Frattaroli prepares a family-style feast that features dishes from the historic era for guests in Basta’s private dining room.
A Great Find!
This book, buried deep in a box, was shabby and coverless, tucked inside a worn zip-top plastic bag. A closer look revealed black Italian script on thick, fragile paper. It was an 1809 edition of “The Chef From Macerata” (“Il Cuoco Maceratese”) by Antonio Nebbia, among the first cookbooks ever written in Italy. Pellegrino Artusi’s distinguished book on Italian cooking, “The Art of Eating Well,” wouldn’t come along until 1881.
In Stefania Toscano’s rush to leave Italy for Portland two years ago, she hadn’t seen it among her late aunt’s possessions, which she had hastily packed and shipped to Oregon. In many ways, it made sense, because her aunt kept an enormous library with thousands of culinary books in her home in Florence. She was an accomplished, passionate cook who would take an entire day to make her special pizza.
Reed College confirmed the rarity of the find and after searching a database of more than 42,000 libraries in the world, found only three identical copies with only one in the United States. Toscano said. “You have a piece of history in your hands.” The next step, of course, was to digest the content. As much is it is a collection of recipes from two centuries ago, this cookbook could be a history lesson, reflecting culinary influences in central Italy during the late 18th century, when this revised edition was first printed. The University of Oregon’s Nicola Camerlenghi, an Italian-born assistant professor of art history, was called in for an analysis. She commented that the mere fact that recipes were even written down and published reflected the region’s growing economic prosperity and the emergence of an upper-middle class, who were employing cooks who needed information.
The recipes don’t have ingredient lists, but they call for specific measurements. “There is an order, steps 1, 2, 3 and 4,” Camerlenghi says. “It’s something Nebbia accepts from the French and brings (to Italy) as an innovation.” The author, also, introduces French-style sauces and he recommends using butter, even in pasta. As important as what is in the book is what’s not. You see no mention of tomatoes or potatoes. It took years after the tomato’s arrival in Europe from the New World for it to be considered edible.
You see recipes for first courses of pasta, gnocchi (made without potatoes) and rice, and in particular, the technique of soaking rice in cold water before sautéing it — a groundbreaking contribution to the refinement of risotto Milanese, Toscano says. There is celery and spinach soup and squash parmigiana.
Some of the flavors are surprisingly familiar, Toscano says. Others dishes have just disappeared, such as a pan sauté of tuna, boiled celery, a sprinkling of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a slurry of flour and water. The combination sounds humble today, but celery was considered an aphrodisiac, says Toscano, who liked the dish so much she made it for a private dinner. Ultimately, this “grandfather of all Italian cookbooks,” as Toscano refers to it, has given her much to savor. (source: Oregon Live)
Recipe From Chef Cathy Whims of Nostrana in Portland
It’s not the awards or the notoriety that fuels the fire for Chef/Restaurateur Cathy Whims. It’s the quest to offer historically-based, authentic dishes that celebrate a sense of place and a local producer’s passion that keep this beloved Portland culinary treasure at the stove. She and her partner, David West, opened Nostrana in 2005 and quickly earned The Oregonian’s coveted designation as Best Restaurant of the Year. Nostrana is an Italian road-house in Southeast Portland serving classical and inventive seasonal dishes reflective of Cathy’s close, personal relationships with Northwest farmers
- 0.2 ounces malt
- 13.6 ounces water, 65ºF
- 2 ounces fresh yeast starter
- 20 ounces Shepherd’s Grain enriched unbleached high gluten strength flour
- 0.4 ounces salt
- 2 28-ounce cans San Marzano tomatoes, drained
- 2 fresh mozzarella, cow milk or buffalo, sliced
- 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small bunch basil, cleaned and dried
For the Pizza Dough:
Dissolve the malt in water with a whisk. In standing mixer with dough hook attachment, add the starter, flour and salt. Mix on low speed for approximately 4 minutes, or until everything is combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix on high speed for approximately 2 to 4 minutes. Dough should be smooth on the surface, but not shiny. Refrigerate overnight. The following day, divide the dough into 4 pieces and round into 8-ounce balls. Let them rest at room temperature for 2 hours. Then use or refrigerate for later use.
For the Topping:
Preheat oven with a pizza stone to 550ºF. Crush the tomatoes by hand to release the inside juices. Purée in a food processor and season with salt. Drain the mozzarella balls, pat dry with a towel and slice into 1/2-inch slices. Spread the tomato purée over the pizza up to 2 inches from the edges. Put the mozzarella slices on the pizza. Drizzle with olive oil. Bake on pizza stone until crust is golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from oven and garnish with basil leaves.
The food cart Lardo in Portland, Oregon serves this roasted pork with hazelnut gremolata and lemon-caper aïoli on ciabatta buns.
FOR THE PORK:
- 1/2 cup lightly packed rosemary leaves
- 1/2 cup lightly packed sage leaves
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 2 ½ tbsp. coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon crushed red chile flakes
- 14 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1 (6–7-lb.) skin-on pork shoulder, butterflied
- Kosher salt, to taste
- 8 ciabatta buns, split
FOR THE GREMOLATA AND AÏOLI:
- 1 1/3 cups olive oil
- 1 cup lightly packed parsley leaves
- 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
- 5 tablespoons salt-packed capers, rinsed and drained
- 1 tablespoon hazelnut oil
- 1 small shallot, thinly sliced
- Zest and juice of 2 lemons
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 egg yolks
Make the pork:
Heat oven to 325°F. Combine rosemary, sage, 1/4 cup oil, fennel seeds, pepper, chile flakes and garlic in a food processor. Process until a smooth paste forms. Unfold pork shoulder, skin-side down, on a cutting board, season with salt and spread evenly with herb paste; roll up shoulder, tie with kitchen twine at 1″ intervals along length of shoulder and rub with remaining oil. Transfer to a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, season with salt and cover with foil; bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the pork reads 150°F, about 1 hour and 45 minutes. Uncover and heat broiler to high; broil pork until skin is browned and crisp and internal temperature reads 165°F, about 15 minutes more. Let rest for at least 30 minutes.
Make the gremolata:
Combine 1/3 cup olive oil, parsley, hazelnuts, 1 tablespoon capers, hazelnut oil, shallot and zest and juice of 1 lemon in a food processor. Process until a combined, transfer to a bowl and set aside.
For the aïoli:
Whisk remaining capers, 2 tablespoons lemon juice (reserve remaining juice and zest for another use), egg yolks and 1 tablespoon water in a medium bowl until smooth. While whisking constantly, slowly drizzle in remaining 1 cup oil until sauce is smooth. Season with salt and pepper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Spread aïoli on tops of ciabatta buns and gremolata on bottoms of buns. Thinly slice pork shoulder and divide among buns.
Spaghetti with Red Onion and Bacon
Traditional pasta gets an upgrade from Jenn Louis, chef-owner of Lincoln Restaurant in Portland with the addition of smoky, salty bacon and zesty red onion.
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 pound spaghetti
- 1 1/4 pounds bacon, chopped
- 1 medium red onion, diced
- 1 can (28-ounce) whole peeled tomatoes, puréed and strained
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 1/2 ounces Pecorino Romano, grated
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook spaghetti according to package directions.
Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and cook bacon until tender, about 5 minutes. Add red onion and cook until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes and red pepper flakes. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until sauce is slightly reduced, about 8 minutes.
Strain spaghetti, reserving 1/4 cup pasta water. Add spaghetti and pasta water to sauce and toss. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with Pecorino Romano.
Ricotta Gnudi with Lamb Bolognese
Recipe from Chef Rick Gencarelli of Grassa in Portland.
Makes 8 servings
Gnudi are essentially cheese ravioli filling, with just enough flour added to hold the mixture together and allow it to be boiled. They’re easier to make than gnocchi, freeze just as well and manage to be both rich and cloud-like at the same time. Be sure to use high-quality whole-milk ricotta and don’t skimp on the freshly ground pepper, which adds complexity.
- 2 large eggs
- 2 pounds (32 ounces) fresh whole-milk ricotta
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
- Semolina flour, for dusting
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped
- 1/4 cup fennel, chopped
- 1/4 cup carrot, chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, sliced
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground lamb
- 1/2 pound ground pork
- 1/2 pound pancetta, minced
- 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 bunch fresh mint, chopped
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, for serving
To make the gnudi:
In a medium bowl, beat the eggs. Add the ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper. Mix until the ingredients are mostly combined. Add the all-purpose flour gradually, while folding the mixture, until a soft dough forms. Add more flour as needed, if it feels too sticky to roll into a rope.
Dust a rimmed baking sheet with semolina flour. Portion the dough into four separate pieces. On a lightly floured work surface, gently roll one of the pieces into a rope 1/2-inch thick. With a bench scraper or knife, cut the rope into 1-inch pieces.
Place the gnudi on the prepared baking sheet so that they are not touching. If not serving right away, freeze the gnudi until firm, then pack into airtight bags or containers.
To make the lamb bolognese:
Heat olive oil in a 6- to 8-quart saucepan set over medium-high heat. Add the onions, fennel and carrot and saute until the vegetables are translucent. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Add the lamb, pork and pancetta and increase heat to high. Brown the meat, breaking it up with a spoon. Add the tomatoes, white wine and milk. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for about 1 hour.
Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove from heat and add chopped mint.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add gnudi and cook until they float to the surface, plus 1 to 2 minutes more (taste one; it should be cooked through, not gummy). Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the bolognese sauce. Serve garnished with a generous shower of grated cheese.
Butterscotch Breadcrumb Cake
This cake recipe comes from Matthew Busetto at Portland’s Firehouse Restaurant. Breadcrumb cakes are traditional in European cuisine (as well as a great way to use the restaurant’s leftover Pugliese loaves). The dessert has a rich-yet-not-too-sweet flavor from the butterscotch, as well as a slightly nubby texture — both of which are perfectly matched by some whipped cream, crunchy topping and another puddle of butterscotch sauce.
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1 cup cream
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 2 to 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
- Granulated sugar for dusting the pan
- 3 large eggs, separated
- 1 cup butterscotch sauce (reserve the rest for serving)
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs, fairly fine (panko will work in a pinch)
- Unsweetened whipped cream, reserved butterscotch sauce and chopped nuts or toffee bits (for topping)
To make the butterscotch sauce:
Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar, cream and salt and whisk until well blended. Bring to a gentle boil and cook for about 5 minutes, whisking occasionally. Remove from heat and add the smaller amount of vanilla, taste and add more as needed. Set aside.
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter an 8-inch square pan or six 6- to 8-ounce ramekins and dust lightly with sugar. Set aside.
Whip the egg whites to stiff peaks and set aside.
Whip the egg yolks with the 1 cup of butterscotch sauce, salt and orange zest, until pale and almost doubled in size. Fold the whites into the yolk mixture in thirds, until just combined, then gently fold in the breadcrumbs.
Bake until the cake seems set and a tester comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes for ramekins and 25 to 30 minutes for a full cake. Cool slightly in the pan, then turn out.
Serve topped with whipped cream, reserved butterscotch sauce and any other crunchy toppings you desire.
- California’s Other Little Italies (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- San Francisco’s Italian Community (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- San Diego’s Italian Community (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Milwaukee’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- The Italians In Texas (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2013/06/14/little-italy-new-orleans-style/Birmingham, Alabama’s “Little Italy” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- West Virginia’s Little Italy Communities (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Baltimore’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Western Pennsylvania’s “Little Italies” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Philadelphia’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Chicago’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Cleveland’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- New England’s “Little Italies” (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Italian American Neighborhoods – Boston (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Ybor City – Florida’s Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- Little Italy – Manhattan (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- The “Little Italies” of Michigan (jovinacooksitalian.com)
- The Hill” St. Louis’ Little Italy (jovinacooksitalian.com)
Bologna is well-known for its food, architecture, music and for its independent political thinking, and is now regarded to be one of the most attractive cities in Italy. Bologna is the capital of the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy and is less than an hour inland from the east coast, about halfway between Florence and Milan. Nearby cities of interest include Modena and Ravenna.
The history of Bologna began with the Etruscans. In the VI century B.C., the city bore the Etruscan name “Felsina”. Later the Romans renamed the city Bononia, from which the current name, Bologna, is derived. At its peak, it was the second city of Italy, and one of the most important of all the Empire, with various temples and baths, a theatre, and an arena. Pomponius Mela, author of A Description of the World, included Bononia among the five wealthiest cities of Italy. Although fire damaged the city during the reign of Claudius, the Roman Emperor Nero rebuilt it in the 1st century AD.
In 1088, the Studio, later known as the University of Bologna, was founded and could boast notable scholars of the Middle Ages in attendance, such as, Irnerius, Dante, Boccaccio and Petrarca. The university received a charter from Frederick I Barbarossa in 1158, but in the 19th century, a committee of historians led by Giosuè Carducci traced the founding of the University back to 1088, which would make it the oldest university in the world.
In the Medieval period, Bologna was an important and thriving city. Between the XII and XIV centuries, some of the city’s most important buildings were constructed: among these were the Two Towers, the traditional symbol of the city, the Basilica of San Petronio and King Enzo’s Palace.
In 1256, Bologna passed the Legge del Paradiso (“Paradise Law”), which abolished feudal serfdom and freed the slaves, using public money. At that time the city centre was full of towers (perhaps 180), built by the leading families, notable public edifices, churches, and abbeys. It was the next most important city after Rome but, always, managed to maintain relative autonomy. In the XVII and XVIII century, the city expanded, above its outside walls. In the middle of the XVIII century, the Portico of San Luca was built.
Bologna is also a city famous for its painters, such as the Carracci brothers, Guido Reni and, in the XX century, Giorgio Morandi, in which his famous still life works are exhibited at the Giorgio Morandi Museum, inside the Town Hall (Palazzo Comunale).
The Bolognese are also known for their fierce independence; throughout history the city’s rebellions against the papal rulers and injustice illustrates this spirit. Even today, you are sure to see locals in heated political discussion and debates about the day’s topics.
Bologna has a rich music heritage, where music plays a significant part in everyday life. The city of Bologna is an important place for Italian and international events and festivals. The city hosts the International Composition competition in August, dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Bologna railway station slaughter in 1980, the European Jazz Festival and the Bologna Festival, dedicated to classical, baroque and contemporary music. It is also the seat of “Angelica”, an international festival of contemporary music and of the Zecchino d’Oro Festival (children’s choir festival). Additional summertime entertainment options include a daily open-air disco in Parco Cavaioni on the outskirts of the city and the city-sponsored Bologna Sogna series, with concerts at museums and buildings around town. During the rest of the year, nightlife events abound for young people in the university area.
The Food of Bologna:
The cuisine of the Emilia-Romagna region is one of the best in Italy and some of Italy’s most famous foods come from this region. Handmade egg pasta and stuffed pasta, especially tortellini, are specialties of Bologna and, of course, there is the famous Ragu alla Bolognese, a long cooked meat sauce. In truth, there probably isn’t one authentic recipe for bolognese sauce. (See my post for my version: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/04/21/two-sauces-for-everyday-meals/) Bologna is also known for its salami, ham and cheese.
D.O.P stands for “Denominazione di Origine Protetta”, which means Protected Designation of Origin. The D.O.P designation guarantees that the products come from a certain location in Italy. Also, the methods of production must be traditional, and have fixed storage guidelines.
Parma ham (also known as Posciutto Crudo di Parma) – (D.O.P.) This is ham that’s been salted for several weeks, rather than cooked. It has a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and it’s made — of course — in Parma.
Mortadella di Bologna. Spiced pork from Bologna. This is where we get our word “bologna” from, but this is not the supermarket lunchmeat.
Parmigiano Reggiano. A D.O.P. protected cheese, made in Parma and Reggio Emilia. You might know it as “parmesan.” However, unless you’re holding the D.O.P-protected Parmigiano-Reggiano in your hands, you’re not really tasting the real thing.
Balsamic vinegar of Modena. One of the region’s most world-famous foods, D.O.P. protected balsamic vinegar can only be made in Modena, which is in Emilia-Romagna. It is especially good drizzled over some Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese Look for it on pastas, too. One thing Emilia-Romagna does very well is mixing sweet and savory, such as a pasta filled with pears, Parmigiano Reggiano, and drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
Calamari ripieni di calamaretti. Small squid are chopped, seasoned, mixed with rice, and used to stuff – large squids.
Asparagi ravennati. Famous asparagus of Ravenna. Look for it in risotto.
Anguilla alla ravennate. Eel sautéed in butter with tomatoes, and a specialty in Ravenna.
Piselli alla pancetta. Peas cooked with pancetta (a salt-cured, spiced Italian bacon), sometimes with mixed with pasta.
Lasagna. Some Bolognese claim that lasagna was invented here. Regardless of where exactly it originated, the version made in Bologna is one of the best.
Tortellini. The pasta that has become a favorite worldwide — those little pouches filled with cheese or, in some cases, meats (although that’s usually for their larger cousin, tortelloni) — was invented in the Emilia-Romagna region. And some fascinating legends are connected with how it got its start. Our story: While traveling, the pope’s daughter Lucrezia Borgia checked into the small town of Castelfranco Emilia, near Modena. The innkeeper was captivated by Lucrezia, and in the night, he couldn’t help himself — he peeked through the keyhole into her room. All he saw… was her navel. In typical Italian fashion, he turned his desire into inspiration, making a new pasta in the shape of Lucrezia’s navel in homage. A second story: to the Bolognese, the shape of tortellini was inspired by the female navel. One story, hailing from the 17th century, claims that tortellini was created by a cook who molded the pasta in the navel of a Bolognese woman.
Capellettacci. Pasta filled with chocolate-flavored chestnuts and served with olive oil and pepper.
Tagliatelle alla Bolognese. Not exactly what we think of when we think “Bolognese sauce,” this is a thick ragu of onions, carrots, pork, veal, and with just a little bit of tomato.
Amaretti or amarelle. Almond-flavored macaroons, a specialty of Modena. Today, bakeries throughout the region, and in Italian communities around the world, carry Amaretti di Saronno, but it’s worth the (small) effort to make them yourself. The recipe is simple, and fresh from the oven, they have a crisp-yet-tender texture that’s beyond compare.
Pampepato di cioccolato. A Christmastime cake made of cocoa, milk, honey, spices, almonds and lemon peel, then covered with candy-studded chocolate frosting. It dates back to the 15th century, and an 11-pound version was even given by the city of Ferrara to General Eisenhower during the World War II.
Bologna Inspired Recipes For You To Make At Home
The key to making this dish is to have all the ingredients prepared before you begin sautéing the onions.
- 8 large eggs or 4 whole eggs and 1 cup egg substitute
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan
- 3 large fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
- 3 large fresh sage leaves, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 cup thinly sliced onion
- 1/3 cup skim milk ricotta
Preheat oven to 400°F. Whisk first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl; set aside. Heat oil in a medium ovenproof nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion; sauté until soft, about 6 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Stir in egg mixture. Spoon dollops of ricotta evenly over.
Cook until frittata begins to set, about 2 minutes. Place in oven; bake until just set, 7-9 minutes. Slide the frittata onto a platter. Cut into wedges; serve hot or at room temperature.
Shaved Fennel Salad in Balsamic Vinaigrette
The balsamic dressing below is quite versatile; try it with baby greens or grilled vegetables.
Make a double batch and refrigerate leftovers for up to 2 weeks.
- 2 shallots, very thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon minced oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena)
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, quartered, and sliced paper-thin
- 6 oz mixed baby greens or arugula
Place the shallots, oregano, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper in jar. Close with a tight-fitting lid and shake to blend.
Pour the dressing over the fennel in a bowl. Toss, taste for salt, adjust if needed, and marinate for 15 minutes. Serve over a bed of baby greens or arugula.
Bologna-Style Pork Chops
These pork chops with prosciutto and cheese are somewhat more involved than some other pork chops, but will be a delightful surprise at the table, and are well suited to company.
- 6 (3/4 inch) bone on pork chops
- 6 slices of prosciutto
- 6 slices fontina cheese
- 2 bay leaves
- A clove of garlic, minced
- 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt & freshly ground pepper
Trim all the gristle and fat from the cutlets, then split them in half, leaving the halves attached only along the bone, so that the cutlets will open like a book.
Open the pork and fill each with a piece of prosciutto and a piece of cheese, trimming their edges so nothing sticks out.
In a skillet large enough for all the pork chops to lie flat, heat the oil with the bay leaves. Place the pork chops into the pan and brown them on both sides, turning them carefully. Season the meat with the minced garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper, cover, and cook over a medium-low heat for about 15 minutes, turning the meat occasionally.
Agnolotti With Sage Butter
Some agnolotti pasta are square or rectangular in shape, while others, especially from Bologna form a half-moon circle.
A quick way to achieve small stuffed pastas without all the kitchen labor, is to cheat a little, by using Wonton (what Chinese!) wrappers. Not authentic but quick and tastes like the real thing.
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 4 ounces ground beef
- 2 ounces ground pork
- 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh spinach leaves
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- salt, to taste
- ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 egg or 1/4 cup egg substitute
- 42 wonton wrappers (square or round)
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter or Smart Balance Blend
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh sage
Heat oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and pork; saute until brown, about 3 minutes. Add spinach and saute until wilted and liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Cool.
Finely chop mixture in the processor. Transfer to a medium bowl. Mix in cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix in egg.
Lightly flour a baking sheet. Arrange 12 wonton wrappers on work surface, keeping the rest covered with a towel to prevent dryness. Spoon 1 teaspoon filling in center of each. Brush edges with water. Fold each wrapper in half, forming a triangle or rectangle. Press edges together and form into desired shapes. Transfer to the floured baking sheet. Repeat with remaining wrappers and filling. (Can be made 8 hours ahead. Cover with plastic wrap; chill.).
Melt butter in heavy medium skillet over low heat. Add sage; remove from heat and keep warm.
Meanwhile, working in batches, cook Agnolotti in a large pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer Agnolotti to shallow soup bowls. Drizzle with sage butter and serve.
Chicken Scallopini with Balsamic Vinegar and Basil
After the scaloppine are browned in olive oil, the pan is deglazed with chicken stock and balsamic vinegar to create a rich sauce. Add a 1/2 pound of mushrooms with the shallots if you like this addition.
- 4 chicken scallopini (about 4 ounces each), pounded thin with a mallet, see post on how to prepare scallopini: https://jovinacooksitalian.com/2012/05/09/how-many-ways-can-i-make-scallopini/
- 1/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 shallots, minced
- 1/2 pound sliced mushrooms, optional
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena)
- 1/4 cup basil leaves, torn
Dredge the scaloppine in the flour, shaking off excess. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch skillet. Add the scaloppine in a single layer. Season with salt and pepper.
Cook until golden on the bottom, about 2 minutes; turn. Cook on the other side until golden, about 2 minutes. Remove to a platter; cover with foil to keep warm.
Add the shallots (and mushrooms, if using) and garlic to the skillet; cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the broth and reduce over high heat for 1 minute, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the skillet. Add the balsamic vinegar; cook until the sauce reduces and becomes syrupy, about 1 minute. Stir in the basil, return the chicken to the skillet, and turn a few times to coat with the sauce and to warm through. Serve hot.
Tagliatelle with Prosciutto and Orange
- Kosher salt
- 12 oz. egg tagliatelle or fettuccine (preferably fresh)
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 2 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto, torn into 1″ pieces
- Zest and juice of 1 orange
- 1/2 cup fat-free half and half
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with salt; add pasta and cook, stirring occasionally, until 1 minute before al dente, (about 2 minutes for fresh pasta), longer for dried. Drain, reserving 1/4 cup pasta cooking water.
Meanwhile, melt butter in a large heavy nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add prosciutto; sauté until browned, about 3 minutes.
Add reserved pasta water, orange juice, half of the orange zest and half and half; bring to a simmer. Add pasta; cook, stirring, until sauce coats the pasta, about 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in cheese and divide among warm bowls. Sprinkle remaining orange zest over pasta.
- Bologna (halfyearitalian.wordpress.com)
- Bologna – La Grassa La Gastro (the-travelbunny.com)
- Learning to Make Pasta in Italy (skimbacolifestyle.com)
- Reference: http://www.italia.it/en/discover-italy/emilia-romagna.html
- See the True rustic Parmigiano Maker at work (gustoitalia.wordpress.com)