The Molise region, although very small, has a culinary heritage all its own and there are five foods you absolutely must try. In Podcast Episode 25, Molise Food & Wine Guide, Lori DeSanctis from Molise Cuisine was back with me to give me a roundup of the very best food and wine in the Molise region. Lori told us all about the region's history and the best things to do here in our first Molise podcast episode. If you’re interested in visiting remember to check out her website because she offers great tours, cooking classes and wine experiences.
Five Foods You Have to Try in Molise
Caciocavallo is a stretched-cured cheese typical in Molise and other areas of southern Italy. It's a DOP cheese - protected geographical status. This cheese was first mentioned as far back as 500 BC.
La stracciata cheese is a fresh cow's milk cheese that is divine. It's cut into strips and then folded into itself so it has a braided appearance. It should be eaten right after it's made, and certainly within five days. It's delicious served with cold cuts, fresh bread and salad. Apparently Pope John Paul used to buy this wonderful Molise cheese.
This ragù is a delicious slow cooked tomato based sauce. Learn to make it with Lori or try your hand using this recipe.
The Local Pasta: Cavatelli and La Molisana
Cavatelli are a flour and water based pasta that you'll also find in neighboring regions like Puglia. They are wonderful served with the Ragù Molisana. You can easily make this pasta at home and here's the recipe. Follow along on my step-by-step youtube video on how to make homemade cavatelli!
La Molisana Pasta
This region produces it's own Molisana Pasta and it's readily available in many countries, even a gluten free version like this one.
After I chatted with Lori I had a quick chat with Tina Prestia (find her on Instagram @tinastableitaly) who recently visited with Lori in Molise and her favorite dish there by far was pampanella. This is a star in the Molise Food and Wine Guide!
Pampanella is a delicious spicy roast pork that takes on a bright red color because of the paprika and Cayenne pepper rub all over the meat, and inside the sliced folds of meat. You can use just about every kind of prime pork cut that strikes your fancy. There are quite a few recipes and historical information online about pampanella, but Tina's recipe on tinastable.com is fabulous and detailed.
The Best Wines of Molise
Molise also has an assortment of incredible wines. For example their wines made with the tintilia grape, that only grows in Molise. This particular wine is found at the Claudio Cipressi producer.
When Molise separated from Abruzzo the region could no longer call their Montepulciano wine by that name, but you’ll still find this wonderful wine made with the exact same grape in Molise as Rosso Molise.