Tag: Bologna

Local | The Grocer of Bologna

… and his mother’s ragu

roberto-in-shop-lowres

Roberto Trentini is a food grocer with a small shop in the streets behind Via Saragozza in Bologna, Italy. Despite the presence of a nearby mini Carrefour, he gets his fair share of custom and has his regulars who come to him for their basics and the pick of his range of fresh produce, fruit and vegetables at the front of the shop, cheese, cured meats and delicatessen items in the cold units at the counter where he spends his day.

Bottled and canned foods fill the shelves, bags of legumes and nuts sit near the front door. Those who are familiar with Roberto‘s style of shop-keeping know where he keeps the items they desire. You only have to ask him for something special that you need and it will be ordered and presented as soon as he can have it delivered.

There is no mystery. Small shops like Roberto‘s proliferate throughout Italy. In Bologna, where all the food of Emila-Romagna and beyond is collected for distribution, these shops are still integral to community because every type of traditional product is available. It is hard to compete with tradition, so Roberto and his like survive and even thrive if they are able to offer specialist produce, which are wont to do.

The people of Bologna know this better than anyone, which is why they are celebrating their food culture with the FICO project – a meeting place for those who love traditional food!

RaguBologna
Ragú Bolognese

The commercialisation of this sauce has taken the shine away from the original, as popular as ever in Bologna where the homemade version is still revered. This is one such version, courtesy of Roberto Trentini‘s mother in Bologna.


Roberto’s Mother’s Ragú

The commercialisation of this sauce has taken the shine away from the original, as popular as ever in Bologna where the homemade version is still revered. This is one such version, courtesy of Roberto Trentini‘s mother in Bologna.

1 litre white wine
500 g beef, minced
400 ml passata (sieved tomatoes)
250 g carrots, chopped
250 g celery, chopped
250 g onions, chopped
100 g pancetta / bacon
1 beef / vegetable stock cube
15 ml olive oil
Salt, pinch
Water, for loosening the sauce

In a deep, wide frying pan sauté onions and pancetta in the oil over a low heat, about 15 minutes. Add carrots and celery, sauté for five minutes. Turn up heat, put in meat, add wine a little at a time until the meat softens. Add passata, a little water, a stock cube and salt, cook covered over a low heat for an hour.

Legendary Dishes | Crescentina (bacon bread)

ITALY

Crescentina – 1

This focaccia-like bread of Bologna has also lost some of its grandeur, no longer a regular in bakeries and restaurants, largely because it is a home-baked food subject to countless variations.

And because it needs to be eaten fresh from the oven.

Some cooks swear by the lean bacon version, others insist the fat in the bacon is essential for flavour and appearance, and the odd cook in five believes in mixing all the ingredients together before proving.

  • 400 g strong white flour
  • 300 g water, lukewarm
  • 100 g fat / lean bacon / pork belly, minced
  • 20 g yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Olive oil
  • Salt, pinch

Dissolve yeast in the sugar and water.

Combine salt, flour and yeast water to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes until elastic and smooth, albeit still sticky. Leave to rise for 45 minutes, degas, leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Work bacon or pork into the dough, making sure it is distributed evenly.

Set oven to 240°C. After five minutes place a rectangular baking tray in the oven. Remove and spread a splash of oil over the warm tray.

Roll the dough out to the size of the tray and with a forceful finger action push it toward the edges. Be careful not to puncture the dough. It must be even across the tray. Cover and leave to rise for one hour.

Turn oven down 20°.

Bake for ten minutes.

It will be almost ready when the top and bottom take on a golden colour. This is the desired effect, as a consequence of the fat in the bacon/pork. The crumb should be soft.

Take the tray out and loosen bread free with two long spatulas.

Place a wire rack on top of the bread, flip over, slide back onto the tray and bake for another five minutes.

Cut into squares, eat hot.


Crescentina – 2

  • 400 g strong white flour
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 100 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 100 g mix of ham, mortadella, pancetta
  • 100 ml olive oil
  • 100 ml sparkling water
  • 20 g yeast
  • 15 g garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • Salt

Dissolve yeast in the milk.

Combine salt, flour, oil and yeast milk to form a dough. Turn out onto a floured surface, knead for 15 minutes until elastic and smooth. Leave to rise for 45 minutes, degas, leave to rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 220°C.

Divide the dough into 75g pieces, incorporate garlic, onion, rosemary and meat.

Roll each piece into thin sheets, cut into irregular shapes, score with a fork.

Place on two oiled baking trays.

Bake for 20 minutes at 200°C.


Crescentina – 3 (Gnocco Fritto)

  • 500 g strong white flour
  • 325 ml milk, lukewarm
  • 75 g vegetable oil
  • 20 g yeast
  • Salt, pinch

Dissolve yeast in milk. Add to flour and salt.

Work into an elastic dough and leave to rise for an hour.

Roll out into a sheet 5cm thick, cut into large diamonds and deep fry in vegetable oil.

Drain on paper towels.


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