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Kevin72

The Cooking and Cuisine of Lombardia

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So this month's thread will begin the topic of the cooking and cuisine of Lombardia, due east of Piemonte. Obviously, Milan is the best-known city of the region, which also offers the Lake district along its northern and western borders.

Like many of the far Northern regions of Italy, Lombardia embraces risotto as its primo of choice. There is, of course, the famous, saffron-tinged risotto alla Milanese (another dish with many conflicting stories of its origin), the sine qua non accompaniment to osso bucco alla Milanese.

The common theme I've run across in the limited cookbook literature I have on Lombardia is that there is a definite juxtaposition of the cooking of Milan and then the cooking of the rest of Lombardia. Milan's cooking is more about convenience, getting things done quickly, and has come to embrace global traditions and cuisines. Surrounding Lombardia, though, bears more in common with Piemonte and the Veneto, utilizing lots of sturdy braises and other hearty, slow-cooked countryside fare.

So, as I've said, I'm not aware of much out there, cookbook-wise, that is devoted exclusively to this region, at least in the U.S. I'm sure more industrious and thorough eG'ers will prove me wrong, though, so don't disappoint me!

Hopefully Hathor will venture along in a bit and hit us with another excellent regional writeup like she gave us for Piemonte.

Let's do it!


Edited by Kevin72 (log)

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Voting is still open for March, but I'd like to get it settled soon. Again, the strong leaning is towards Friuli, so that will most likely be the region. The question at this point is whether or not to do another two-fer and include Trentino-Alto-Adige in there, as well.

Once March hits and I start a new thread for that region, we'll also start voting for Q2 and get that locked up.

To avoid cluttering these threads, maybe it's best to PM me your votes. From time to time I'll do an update in the thread and bring ideas to the group.

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Great, let's get cooking!

I'll probably be concentrating my efforts on the cuisine of Mantua and of Valtellina, though I'll definitely have a go at one or two Milanese classics, especially Casseula (the Milanese version of Cassoulet, if you wish to find a similar dish) if I manage to find a pig's head.

Mantua has a fascinating mix of rural cuisine, river fish recipes and Renaissance classics from the Gonzaga's kitchens... plus it's where my father's side of the family comes from, so it's a chance to revisit my childhood comfort foods. I'm a sucker for Mantuan cuisine :wub: .

Valtellina, up next to the Swiss border, has a unique cuisine with loads of cheese, buckwheat and trout (not all together!). Oh yes, and some pretty nice wines like Inferno: one has to love a wine that's called Hell :smile: .

On the technical thread side I should make two points:

- I would like to remind anyone who wants to post an image of a map of Lombardia, that as usual the image has to comply with our Copyright and Fair Use Policy.

- Since Kevin has volunteered to keep counts (poor him :wink: ) let's keep voting for future regions via PM to avoid cluttering the thread with unnecessary and off-topic talk.


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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Hello,

Pontormo posted a thread in the Wine Forum inviting people who visit that forum frequently to provide wine input (solicited or unsolicited) for each region as this group undertakes its tour of Italy. The notice came as the Piemonte and Val d'Aosta thread was wrapping up. Perhaps we can jump in on the Lombardia thread.

There's more to Lombardia than Lambrusco. I'm including a link (click here) to an overview of Lombardia wines at ItalianMade.com. The page lists all the DOCG, DOC, and IGT wines, each with its own link to a separate page that provides information on grape varieties, styles of wine, and geography. Living in the United States, and in the Midwest, the wines I typically see from Lombardia are the Franciacorta metodo classico sparkling wines and a handful of Valtellina Superiore wines. Sfursat wines are imported into the U.S., but they are hard to come by.

For the sparkling wines of Franciacorta, the producer whose wines I run across more often than not is Bellavista. However, those wines don't do a lot for me. I much prefer the wines from Cavalleri, particularly the "Saten."

Valtellina has, on occasion, been referred to as a poorer man's Barolo. The grape is nebbiolo, but in Lombardia it goes by the name of chiavennasca. The wines, if the Swiss haven't carted them all away, can be had at one-third to one-half the price of Barolo or Barberesco. For those who read Italian, a lot more can be found at Consorzio Vin Valtellina. I've enjoyed the Valtellina Superiore wines from Aldo Rainoldi.

Sfursat (or Sforzato) is a dry red wine made from chiavennasca in the same way Amarone della Valpolicella transforms corvina. But I've not had any personal experience with Sfursat wines, so I'll have to stop there. Perhaps some others who come to this thread by way of the Wine Forum can add more input.


We cannot employ the mind to advantage when we are filled with excessive food and drink - Cicero

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Brad, thanks for the great wine-related input.

BTW, although we now moved to Lombardia, the Piemonte thread remains open for Piemonte related cuisine and gastronomic heritage, so feel free to add any info you feel like sharing there too.

Thanks!


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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I found an interesting recipe list from a book called "LA Cucina di Valtellina e Valchiavenna". Unfortunately, it is only in Italian but I figured it would be usefull for some of you and the rest of us can take our chances with babblefish.

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So this month's thread will begin the topic of the cooking and cuisine of Lombardia, due east of Piemonte. Obviously, Milan is the best-known city of the region, which also offers the Lake district along its northern and western borders.

Like many of the far Northern regions of Italy, Lombardia embraces risotto as its primo of choice.  There is, of course, the famous, saffron-tinged risotto alla Milanese (another dish with many conflicting stories of its origin), the sine qua non accompaniment to osso bucco alla Milanese.

The common theme I've run across in the limited cookbook literature I have on Lombardia is that there is a definite juxtaposition of the cooking of Milan and then the cooking of the rest of Lombardia.  Milan's cooking is more about convenience, getting things done quickly, and has come to embrace global traditions and cuisines.  Surrounding Lombardia, though, bears more in common with Piemonte and the Veneto, utilizing lots of sturdy braises and other hearty, slow-cooked countryside fare.

So, as I've said, I'm not aware of much out there, cookbook-wise, that is devoted exclusively to this region, at least in the U.S.  I'm sure more industrious and thorough eG'ers will prove me wrong, though, so don't disappoint me!

Hopefully Hathor will venture along in a bit and hit us with another excellent regional writeup like she gave us for Piemonte.

Let's do it!

I believe it is incorrect to speak of "The common theme I've run across in the limited cookbook literature I have on Lombardia is that there is a definite juxtaposition of the cooking of Milan and then the cooking of the rest of Lombardia."

The cooking of the "rest of Lombardia" is highly varied. To give two examples... the cooking from the east side of Lago Maggiore has a lot in common with northwest Piemonte and a lot lot less with the area 20 km. southeast of Mantova, which has a lot in common with Emilia-Romagna.

Similarly, the cooking from Chiavenna is very different from Cremona.

My point, very simply, is that if this thread is to be worthwhile and accurate, the fewer generalizations, the better ( e.g. "Lombardia embraces risotto as its primo of choice"; that is simply not true).

I would also suggest that you don't do a "two fer" of the Trentino- Alto Adige and Friuli. Friuli, more so than almost any other region in Italy, has a cuisine that bears the least resemblance to any of its neighboring regions. The Trentino and Friuli could be at opposite ends of the earth as far as food goes. Let's do it, but let's do it right :smile:

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Like many of the far Northern regions of Italy, Lombardia embraces risotto as its primo of choice.  There is, of course, the famous, saffron-tinged risotto alla Milanese (another dish with many conflicting stories of its origin), the sine qua non accompaniment to osso bucco alla Milanese.

One interesting take on risotto is the Risotto alla pilota from Mantua. In this risotto the rice is boiled in water first and then sauteed together with fresh mantuan sausages. When I was looking for more info about this dish, I found a site with info about Mantua together with recipes. It is available in both english and italian.

Besides this risotto, I'll cook something from Ricette di Osterie Della Lombardia, which despite its name only covers the province of Cremona.


Christofer Kanljung

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One interesting take on risotto is the Risotto alla pilota from Mantua. In this risotto the rice is boiled in water first and then sauteed together with fresh mantuan sausages. When I was looking for more info about this dish, I found a site with info about Mantua together with recipes. It is available in both english and italian.

Riso or risotto alla pilota –one finds both names in Italian sources– is definitely an interesting dish, both in its "basic version" and the richer one "col puntel" (the same dish served with oven-roasted pork-ribs). What baffles me is why so many sources insist on calling it a risotto. It lacks all the technical steps that make a risotto: no toasting of the rice, no use of broth, no stirring and no "mantecatura" with butter and Parmesan at the end.

The cooking method itself, which requires little attention and minimal active cooking time, reflects the origin of the dish as worker's dish: the rice is poured into the boiling water in a particular way (it should form a cone/pyramid that emerges from the water for about 1cm), cooked for about 10 minutes in the oven (in the past on the oven's embers), then let to rest, tightly sealed, till cooked. Only then is the meat and eventual Parmesan added. The dish was originally made by the "pilotti", the rice cleaners working the "pila" (the machine used in the process), hence the name.

Like many of the far Northern regions of Italy, Lombardia embraces risotto as its primo of choice.  There is, of course, the famous, saffron-tinged risotto alla Milanese (another dish with many conflicting stories of its origin), the sine qua non accompaniment to osso bucco alla Milanese.

Let's not forget the many stuffed pastas and polenta dishes from the region. Risotto is certainly important, but there's more options for those who are not that keen on rice.


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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Well someone has to go first,

Started tonight with chiscioi a version of sciatt made with beer. I have no idea what these are supposed to be like. Mine had a very thin crackly shell with a hollow inside with a piece of melted teleggio. Good but not amazing, I was having some temperature issues with my oil and I feel like the batter should have been a touch thicker. The recipe I followed was in "Bugialli on Pasta" and had a 4:1 buckwheat to wheat flour ratio. I fried them in canola oil with a touch of lard thrown in.

54817450-O.jpg

Not having a ton of free time on Wed I went for a simple main that would cook in the background while I concentrated on the deepfry. I made Verzada from Boni's "Italian Regional Cooking". It is a simple dish of cabbage cooked with pancetta and onions with white wine vinegar and sausages.

54817449-O.jpg

At the store today I found a bottle of Lambruso Montavano. This was a dry lambrusco- simple and fruity.

54817454-O.jpg

And yes, the wine was fizzy!

54817453-O.jpg

Overall a nice simple start to the food of Lombardia.

I now have a stock of buckwheat flour so I hope to add pizzocheri and perhaps another variation on sciatt. Bugialli talks in some depth about the usage of buckwheat and how wheat has encroached over the years. He maintains that historically only a tblsp or 2 of wheat flour would be added to these doughs but since they are so difficult to work with the ratio has crept up in recent times. He also mentions the shallow fried version of sciatt and a dough form of chiscioi with 50-50 flour, formed into discs and boiled. He says this is a bridge between sciatt and pizzocheri.

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Nathan, your food looks execellent as always!

Riso or risotto alla pilota –one finds both names in Italian sources– is definitely an interesting dish, both in its "basic version" and the richer one  "col puntel" (the same dish served with oven-roasted pork-ribs). What baffles me is why so many sources insist on calling it a risotto. It lacks all the technical steps that make a risotto: no toasting of the rice, no use of broth, no stirring and no "mantecatura" with butter and Parmesan at the end.

The recipe on the site I linked to above calls for a fresh Mantuan pork sausage called salamelle. What are the distinguishing features of this sausage? I guess I'll have to substitute this with some other fresh italian sausage.

The "col puntel" version sounds even more interesting. How are the ribs seasoned? Is the sausage left out from the riso alla pilota in this version?

Let's not forget the many stuffed pastas and polenta dishes from the region. Risotto is certainly important, but there's more options for those who are not that keen on rice.

My cremonese cookbook also features several gnocchi dishes, one particularly interesting dish features a duck and mushroom sauce. It's a petty that my wife isn't fond of gnocchi.


Christofer Kanljung

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Nathan, your food looks execellent as always!

I'm absolutely impressed too! Not only from the food, but also that you managed to find some Lambrusco Mantovano.

The recipe on the site I linked to above calls for a fresh Mantuan pork sausage called salamelle. What are the distinguishing features of this sausage? I guess I'll have to substitute this with some other fresh italian sausage.

If you have a little patience I might be able to find a recipe for the forcemeat that makes the salamelle, I should have one in my cookbook collection at home. I definitely remember pepper, and garlic flavoured red wine as seasoning, but I'm sure there's something else. I hope to post it sometime tomorrow. Tonight I have a few guests over for a Sicilian inspired dinner: I tried to convince them to switch to Lombardia and use that as my first contribution to the thread, but fat chance.

The "col puntel" version sounds even more interesting. How are the ribs seasoned? Is the sausage left out from the riso alla pilota in this version?

I have to check the seasoning, but I think it's just pepper and white wine. The sausage is definitely still in the riso alla pilota, traditional cooking has no waistline concerns :biggrin: .


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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Yay the long beards. I found this site that has some interesting recipes Click.

Now, for various reasons I am busy at the moment, but I would like to make some Luganega sausage, specifically the famous one from Monza. I have one recipe that lists nutmeg, pepper, cinnaom and marsala as flavours, but another source mentions vanilla. Does anybody have a clear idea of what the flavours should be?

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Yay the long beards. I found this site that has some interesting recipes Click.

Now, for various reasons I am busy at the moment, but I would like to make some Luganega sausage, specifically the famous one from Monza. I have one recipe that lists nutmeg, pepper, cinnaom and marsala as flavours, but another source mentions vanilla. Does anybody have a clear idea of what the flavours should be?

The luaganega sausage is from Lucania (now the Basilicata region)

“Lucanica, a lucanis populi a quibus romani milites primum didicerunt”

Marco Terenzio Varrone (116-27 B.C.)

and is prepared with the pork shoulder, pepper, withe wine, stock and grated grana padano cheese.

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In Basilicata it can be called lucanica or lucania which are derived from the Latin lucanicus, said to be the name of a sausage invented by the Lucanians, an ancient people of southern Italy. This sounds a little bit of a fairy tale to me as there are similar names for sausages in many regions Longaniza and Llonganissafrom Spain and, like It is also mentioned in Apicius and by Varro and Cicero. There is also a Greek variation from Loukanika.

But there is a famous version that has developed in the last 2000 years in Lombardy around Monza and as we are doing food from Monza this is the veriosn I want a recipe for.

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From the book La cucina lombarda the luganega sausage with vanilla is luganegheta and is from Sondrio, the luganega from Monza is with pork shoulder, salt, withe pepper, grated grana padano or parmigiano reggiano, nutmeg or cinnamon, marsala. Unfortunately there is no recipe, but here they write 70% of unfat pork meat, 25% of pork fat , 5% of grated grana and withe wine.

A very good source for Lombardia cuisine is this site (in italian, scroll down and download the pdf file).

Osso buco alla milanese

ingredients: veal shank (with marrow), parlsey, rosemary, sage, lemon, withe wine, butter, beff stock, tomatoes (they started to use tomatoes in osso buco from the end of 1700), garlic, salt and pepper.

ossobuco.jpg

brown the meat with the butter, add withe wine and let it evaporate. Add tomatoes and beff stock.

ossobuco3.JPG

In the meantime prepare the gremolada: chop garlic, parlsey, rosemary, sage and lemon rind

ossobuco2.jpg

Shortly before serving add the gremolada

ossobuco4.jpg

ossobuco5.jpg

variatons: you can add pancetta or prosciutto, marjoram and anchovies.

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yesterday I put together a quick impromptu Lombardy dinner as well.

- My home cured Bresaola on top of crusty bread with parmesan shavings, oilve oil and lemon juice

gallery_5404_94_434680.jpg

- Zuppa Pavese, pan fried bread topped with a raw egg, lots of parmesan and hot veal broth is poured on top. The end result is so good and so much larder than the sum of the parts.

gallery_5404_94_128894.jpg

Before pouring in the stock, trust me, there is an egg under that cheese :smile:

gallery_5404_94_44665.jpg

All ready to eat!


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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You can't just bring up "home-cured bresaola" and not go into it further, FM.  Let's hear it!

Sure, more about it in this thread, more specifically here is my latest post

My first attempt at this, in my "wonderful" Houston weather ended up moldy and in the trash. So this one was a vast improvement.


E. Nassar
Houston, TX

My Blog
contact: enassar(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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Yeah, how you managed to cure in Houston was part of what I was getting at. :wink:

That thread fascinates and scares me at the same time. It's really for the best if I don't take up charcuterie; I'd have to just quit my job then with all the cooking stuff I'd be pursuing.

I just have to keep saying it: how cool is it that you post a question about a cookbook or recipe and pretty shortly none other than the author turns up to answer you?

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In Basilicata it can be called lucanica or lucania which are derived from the Latin lucanicus, said to be the name of a sausage invented by the Lucanians, an ancient people of southern Italy. This sounds a little bit of a fairy tale to me as there are similar names for sausages in many regions Longaniza and Llonganissafrom Spain and, like It is also mentioned in Apicius and by Varro and Cicero. There is also a Greek variation from Loukanika.

Adam, you can add this one to the list: a guy from the Italian speaking part of Switzerland I met camping a few years back was ready to bet his sleeping bag that luganega comes from the city of Lugano, hence the name, and that those thieving Lombards just stole the recipe from the Swiss :smile: .

But there is a famous version that has developed in the last 2000 years in Lombardy around Monza and as we are doing food from Monza this is the veriosn I want a recipe for.

"La Cucina Lombarda" by Alessandro Molinari Pradelli gives the following ingredients for the seasoning of Luganega di Monza: salt, white pepper, spices (either nutmeg or cinnamon) and grated Grana Padano, with Marsala optional. Unfortunately there's no amounts or ratios given.

I also managed to dig out the recipe for salamelle Mantovane kanljung was writing about: 500g lean pork meat (from the shoulder or leg), 400g pork belly, salt, white pepper, a little nutmeg (for all three the recipe says "to taste" :wacko: ) and a glass of red wine (infused with a finely chopped garlic clove and then filtered).


Il Forno: eating, drinking, baking... mostly side effect free. Italian food from an Italian kitchen.

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Ah Alberto, thank you very much. This comfirms the recipe I dug up in the seventh circle of google searching hell. The recipe I have for Luganega di Monza is 3 lb pork, 2 tsp salt, 2 tsp Parmigiano cheese, 3/4 tsp white pepper, 1/8th tsp nutmeg, 1/8th tsp cinnamon, 1/3 cup marsala.

Switzerland eh? One wonders if these sausage has multiple sources. Sausages with similar names at different locations, that get mixed up and confused over the years - obviously it doesn't help that for some there always has to be an ultimate source.

There is also sausages with a similar name in Latin America and the Philippines, most likely from the Spanish connection.

Anyway, this weekends cooking project is solved.

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