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The Cooking and Cuisine of Emilia-Romagna


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That lasagna looks stunning, as do the tortellini.

For our Christmas dinner, I also made a lasagna based on a recipe from "Splendid Table" -- Dukes of Ferrara lasagna, maybe? But I didn't want it to be quite as sweet as that one given the side dishes we were having, so I altered it to be this:

-- the lasagna: homemade noodles (cooked slightly!), homemade lemon ricotta (our daughter brought fresh Meyers lemons off their tree in California), braised-roasted fennel bulb, raisins, lots of Parm-Reggiano (from Parma, where we went in late November), toasted almonds, and bechamel. Wish I had a pic.

Side dishes were butternut squash, balsamic-glazed roasted red onions, stewed peppers in tomato sauce.

We also made these "arancini"-evolved things that turned out great after some experimentation with the cooking method. First, made plain risotto with lots of cheese (Parm-Regg). Let it cool, then rolled it into small balls (maybe 1-2 inches diameter). Punched a little hole in each one, then stuffed inside with 2-3 dried cherries that had been steeped in Pedro Ximinez sherry (bought on actual sherry turf last year). Closed the rice around the cherries, flattened each one a bit, then breaded them in plain bread crumbs.

The tricky part was how to "deep fry" them, which I didn't want to do. So I tried pan frying them in a bit of olive oil -- they fell apart before they browned enough to hold them together. Eventually, i decided to just bake them -- they turned out fantastic. In fact, I made them early, then just reheated them (350 degrees, maybe 10 minutes, covered), so they were really convenient to serve as a one-bite dish. They were a hit. Is this an ER dish? !!!!! Oh well.

Just sharing. Info, I wish it were food!


Edited by pedalaforte (log)
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They were a hit. Is this an ER dish? !!!!!

Who cares? They sound great! :raz: I really like that touch of the red-wine steeped cherries. Maybe flatten them into patties to pan fry. I remember when I made arancini worrying about how to cook them best, but actually deep frying did work the best (though you still lose some rice into the oil).

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Pedalforte, that lasagne sounds amazing.

It must be in the air, I've been craving a traditional lasagne bolognese.....but then I found a whole oxtail at the butcher :biggrin: , so the lasagne has to wait. :sad:

I love the idea of cherries in the arancini (Sicilian), and the one bite part. Yummy.

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While I seem to have lost the set of pom poms that matched the letter sweater I picked up at one of those sconti at Armani, I have nonetheless glanced periodically at the Italian forum, pleased with all that you've been doing with huge slabs of porcini (Kevin, wow!) and round pans of lasagna (gorgeous, Klary!).

The recent flurry of activity inspires me to raise a glass to all the original participants of the Italian regional cooking threads who continue to contribute, as well as newcomers.

Elie: As always, your commitment to make everything from scratch impresses me as much as your skill in shaping pasta. I've never even considered baking amaretti. What a fabulous meal! Bravo!

Pedalforte: Thank you, thank you for singling out the ducal lasagna. You'd have to go back quite a bit in this very long thread, but I raved about the lasagna the first and only time I made it. I, too, thought the whole medieval/Renaissance taste for sweet & savory would be odd, especially when it came to spices. However, I didn't change things radically at all, but instead, made two separate lasagne, the smaller one, based faithfully on the recipe as written. I preferred the smaller one, finding that LRK had modernized the dish sufficiently (largely by switching to egg noodles) while, presumably, keeping to the spirit of the historical recipe. Currently, my neck of the woods is going through a Sicilian phase of warm weather, but if it turns bitter cold again, it might be worthwhile to give the dish another try. A generous hand w prosciutto dolce, as far as I was concerned, is mandatory since its flavor complements the sweet ingredients, the funky ragu, the silky pasta and the rich cream.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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  • 1 year later...

I guess making an E-R meal and posting about it here is a New Year tradition now :smile:. I've been crazy busy at work, so sorry about the delay.

This year I made pasta with my 2 boys and served it in a rich duck broth with peas and slivered ham. I wanted to cut it into linguini shapes but they insisted on the thinnest possible setting...who knows why. It was delicious though.


Of course the Cotechino was the main event. Also based on J Molinari's recipe. I did do something different this year. I seared it really good on the outside after it was poached. I love the contrast between the crispy crust and the moist unctous interior. We had it with lentils. What a divine sausage. You have to make your own and cook it.



BTW, even though Cotechino is never good lukewarm (needs to be HOT), it is very good cold. sliced thin and eaten as a cold cut -it's like salami crossed with headcheese- with mustard and bread.

E. Nassar
Houston, TX

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

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  • 2 weeks later...

I'm new to the forum (and semi-serious cooking general), but Splendid Table was one of the first books I gravitated toward. I haven't cooked many of its recipes, but those that are made frequently become obsessions! I haven't been bold enough to make my own pastas yet . . .

During fig season I made a fettuccine based variation of Tagliarini with Fresh Figs Franco Rosso a few times.



Rosewater Strozzapreti Romanesca- a dish that the books advises is more a historical oddity than every day dish. At first I wasn't overly fond, but the leftovers changed my tune. It'd likely be a hit with anyone who enjoys middle eastern flavors


basic saffron risotto


The Cardinal's Ragu (essentially a beef ragu with cinnamon)


hot caramelized pears with prosciutto- my plate presentation leaves much to be desired, but these were quite good


Rice of the princes- tonight's feast. It isn't cooked with small portions of stock like a risotto, but you use arborio. It uses an onion/butter/white wine base, but you add cloves, pinenuts, raisins and pepper with the meat stock. The last step is the addition of some parm, cinnamon and mascarpone. It alone makes the book worth a purchase.


I hope to have time to explore the various ragus before the weather warms.

Edited by RichardGustave (log)
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Wow, impressive attempts on all. Splendid Table is an endlessly useful and fascinating book and I just keep going back to it time and again. I can never just get a recipe from there; I always get lost re-reading chapters and whole sections of the book over again. The pears and prosciutto are a favorite for me as well.

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This is not something I cooked; I actually took this picture in Trattoria Da Gianni in Bologna. I will never forget that meal. I don't know whether they serve Cotechino DOP or a house made one.

Sorry the quality of the image is not that good, but maybe you can notice the texture and the color. I think it's a little more loose and more red than what I've found in NY, and what I've seen here online.

How do you think they do this? Is it because of the way they stuff it? Or the way they cook it? Do you think they use nitrite in the recipe?

Edited by genarog (log)
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Speculation here, but I'd imagine this is the totally "raw" kind of cotechino more typically found in Italy and not widely available here. That kind cooks for a very long period of time (4 hours) vs. the precooked kind that's sold here, needing only an hour or so. Plus, I'd guess that the kind permitted for sale in the US has to have more preservatives in it.

Foodman makes his own from scratch so maybe he or J Molinari can offer some more precise explanation.

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Just found very interesting info here

Kevin: I think you are exactly right, it must be the cured, but not pre-cooked version.

"It is a raw, cured pork meat"


Head flesh, skinned, without ears, plus shoulder and ham trimmed parts (1/3)




Whole pepper

Crushed pepper

Minced garlic

Spices variable from producer to producer


Sodium Nitrite (E 250)

Ascorbic Acid (E 300)

Monosodium Glutamate


Envelope: steer or pig “dritto”

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