September 2016 Bologna Italy Class
Three of my most favorite culinary ingredients all come from the same region in Italy: Emilia-Romagna. It is a place so rich in culinary history that I had read about it and dreamt about visiting for years. Well, my dream came true last year. We visited the Emilia-Romagna region. We were able to experience the taste of the regional specialties. From Modena, it is Balsamic vinegar. From Parma, prosciutto di Parma and my absolute favorite cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano (in fact, I am so crazy for this cheese I wanted to name my daughter “Reggiana”, but my husband wouldn’t let me). It is known as the cradle of Italian cuisine where generation after generation has perfected the art of making these ingredients that have become the backbone of Italian cuisine.
In the city of Bologna, I was able to learn how to make a proper Bolognese sauce. It is rich in the deep favors of pork and beef, with a hint of tomatoes that are simmered until the sauce is thick and clings to tagliatelle pasta – fresh made, of course! Topped with freshly grated Parmigiano -Reggiano. I can’t think of a better way to start a meal.
For the main dish, imagine a perfectly baked white fish that is nestled into a rich tomato sauce flavored with herbs and black olives that is cooked until it is perfectly moist and juicy. A dish that is light in feel but heavy on flavor. Can you say “delicioso”?
The first time I a tasted torta sbrislona in Ravenna, I didn’t know what it was. Was it a giant cookie or a torte? A cake? I wasn’t sure BUT all I know is I was in love! You don't cut it into pieces, you simply break off a piece, which I did, until it was almost gone. It has a crunchy feel and a nutty flavor. It is positively addictive and goes perfectly with an espresso or prosecco as a great way to end this meal which will transport your taste buds to the Emilia- Romagna until you can visit. Maybe we should go??