In this Flavor of Italy Podcast episode Tina Prestia from tinastable.com and I chatted about three classic Emilia Romagna regional recipes, classic versus tweaked recipes and a few ideas for your Easter table.
A little bit about Tina
Tina moved to Bologna some years back with her husband and daughter for what was going to be a year-long adventure that turned into a permanent life choice. Tina loves to travel around her region, and throughout Italy, tasting and experiencing the very best of local cuisine wherever she goes. You can find her on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook.
Three classic recipes from the Emilia Romagna region we discuss in this episode of the Flavor of Italy Podcast
This is a great recipe to use up leftover pasta dough, or leftover ravioli filling. Basically you roll out the dough super thin and then spread a thin layer of creamy cheese (like a robiola) on top of half of the dough. Or, if you have extra ravioli filling, thin it out with milk or broth so that it’s creamy and spreadable and use it to spread atop the pasta dough. Next place the second sheet of dough on top. Use a ravioli cutter to cut out tiny little squares that look like mini raviolis. Cook the spoja lorda in broth: they’re divine. Here’s Tina‘s recipe.
This dish comes from the Romagna part of the region, especially Brisighella, Faenza and Ravenna. Tina also writes about Brisighella which is a tiny, charming city rich in culinary heritage. Despite its small size Brisighella boasts 40 wonderful restaurants.
Tortellini in Broth
This is a Christmas classic that has evolved into a year-round beloved recipe not just in the Emilia Romagna region but throughout Italy and the world. There’s lots of history behind the origin of this recipe and Tina talks about it in her tortellini and broth recipe.
Both Bologna and Modena lay claim to this recipe and locals swear that it originated in their city. Whatever the truth is it’s a fabulous filled pasta recipe. There are many versions of the recipe filling and they all vary somewhat based on how the filling is prepared and how much of each ingredient is used. Basically there is a meat filling that usually includes pork loin, plus ground prosciutto, mortadella and Parmesan cheese. Check out Tina‘s recipe here.
Worldwide this recipe has come to be synonymous with a chunky meat sauce but true Ragù Bolognese is quite different and is a delicate meat sauce. The sauce always starts off with finely minced onion, carrot and celery that’s sautéed in butter. The sauce is slow cooked for hours and also includes wine, usually white, and quite surprisingly a little bit of milk. The Bologna area cuisine doesn’t use lots of herbs like rosemary, sage, etc. And this extends also to Ragù Bolognese. The sauce is used with tagliatelle pasta or with the local lasagna Bolognese that uses green pasta sheets.
Outside of Italy you’ll find Ragù Bolognese used with many different kinds of pasta including spaghetti, but never in Bologna and locals feel it ruins the classic recipe. The reason is simple: tagliatelle are made with a delicate, fresh egg-based pasta.
In this Flavor of Italy Podcast episode we also touched on Classic versus Tweaked Recipes
Tina and I chatted about classic Italian recipes and all the tweaked and modified versions of these recipes. We agreed that generally there is a reason the classic recipes are made the way they are and it makes sense when you prepare one of these recipes to first try it the classic way so you understand why the recipe is made as it is. If you then feel like modifying it simply change your recipe name so it’s different from the classic recipe.
Sometimes with a classic recipe only an additional ingredient might be added like my recipe for Spaghetti alla Carbonara with Artichoke Wedges which follows the classic recipe to a T but simply adds artichokes at the end.
Some Easter Recipe Ideas we talk about in this Flavor of Italy Podcast episode
Easter is around the corner so we talked a bit about our favorite Italian Easter dessert recipes. Tina loves chocolate at Easter and loves the local Bologna Torta Tenerina cake. I’m also on the chocolate page and swear by my all-time favorite chocolate cake Torta Caprese: here’s my recipe. Neither of these are Easter recipes per se but we love them on Easter all the same!
Pastiera napoletana is an Easter classic dessert originally from Naples.
Two savory Easter classics Tina and I love are lamb and vignarola.
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