Emilia-Romagna - Italy

Emilia-Romagna

map by Dino De Angelis

Dubbed "Italy's Food Basket," Emilia-Romagna is home to many of the country's most renowned foods: Prosciutto di Parma, Mortadella, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar to name a few. Cooks in the region have a penchant for rich flavors and spectacular presentation, and are especially skilled at making all manner of stuffed pasta by hand.

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Additional Recipes from Emilia-Romagna

The Best Pasta Sauces cookbook by Micol Negrin

Published in The Best Pasta Sauces by Micol Negrin (Ballantine Books, October 2014):

  • Classic Bolognese Ragu
  • Romagna-Style Ragu with Marsala and Crispy Prosciutto
  • Prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano Sauce
  • Slow-Cooked Sausage Ragu with Milk and a Hint of Tomatoes
  • Porcini Mushroom and Tomato Sauce**

**Bonus recipe available in exclusive companion eBook when you order The Best Pasta Sauces directly from RUSTICO COOKING.

Insalata di Finocchio al Balsamico

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
  • 1/4 cup minced tarragon leaves or 1 tablespoon dried tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 fennel bulbs, trimmed, quartered, and sliced paper-thin

Place the shallots, tarragon, 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 serve after 15 minutes. Serves 6

Zucca Arrosto al Balsamico

Roasted Butternut Squash with Balsamic Glaze

As the butternut squash roasts, the balsamic evaporates, leaving behind a rich flavor and color that permeates the vegetable.

  • 2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 and 1/2 pounds after trimming)
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth or water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena)
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 12 sage leaves, cut into long, thin strips
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Preheat the oven to 400�.

Bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Add the cubed squash; cook 5 minutes, or until just tender when pierced with a knife. Drain.

Place the boiled squash in a roasting pan. Add the chicken broth, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and sage, and toss. Sprinkle with the Parmigiano. Roast in the preheated oven 30 minutes, or until golden on top. Serve hot. Serves 8

Pollo Saltato al Balsamico con Basilico

Chicken Scaloppine 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 luxurious sauce.

  • 4 chicken scaloppine (about 4 ounces each), pounded thin with a mallet
  • 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
  • 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 over a high flame. 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 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. Serves 4

Fragoline al Balsamico

Wild Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar

Traditional balsamic vinegar is thick, sweet, and nectar-like... nothing like the cheap substitutes found on supermarket shelves. In Italy, it is often sprinkled over freshly picked wild strawberries for dessert. Look for authentic balsamic vinegar from Modena in gourmet stores. If wild strawberries are not available, buy the tiniest, freshest, most fragrant cultivated berries around.

  • 2 pints wild strawberries, rinsed, blotted dry, and hulled
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar (Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena)

Place the strawberries in 6 goblets. Drizzle with the vinegar and enjoy immediately. Serves 6

Minestra di Zucca

Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

This velvety soup is especially soothing on chilly winter evenings.

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (1 and 1/2 pounds after trimming)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Melt the butter in a deep pot over medium heat. Add the squash, bay leaf, salt, pepper, and nutmeg, and cook 10 minutes, covered. Add the chicken broth and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook, uncovered, until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes, stirring once in a while.

Transfer the contents of the pot in several batches to a blender or food processor, and purée until smooth. Return to the pot and add the heavy cream. Warm gently, and serve immediately. Serves 8

Spinaci Strascinati

Slow-Cooked Spinach with Parmigiano and Nutmeg

This simple spinach preparation is delicious alongside poached eggs for a lazy Sunday brunch.

  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter
  • 1 and 1/2 pounds fresh spinach, washed thoroughly, water still clinging to the leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano

Melt the butter in a deep 14-inch sauté pan over a medium-high flame. Add the spinach by the handful to the hot pan, and cook until it is wilted and there is no liquid left in the pan, about 5 minutes, stirring often or tossing with metal tongs. It may seem like all the spinach won't fit at first, but as it wilts, it will shrink remarkably.

Season the spinach with the salt, pepper, and nutmeg, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook 15 more minutes, stirring once in a while. Add the Parmigiano and stir until it is melted through. Cook 5 minutes more and serve hot. Serves 4