EMILIA-ROMAGNA CAMPO - step by step instructions

If Italy has a culinary heartland, that place is Emilia-Romagna – so many of the country’s finest products are made there, and so many of its finest dishes originate there. Here we celebrate that produce at an exceptional point in the year – the warmth of spring bringing its bounty of peas, broad beans and asparagus, all highlighted by the finest of the region’s produce; balsamic vinegar from Modena, parmesan from Reggio-Emilia, and the rich egg pasta celebrated everywhere.

Grilled asparagus with parmesan & balsamic

Ricotta tortelloni with peas & broad beans 

Rocket & fennel salad

Torta Barozzi (chocolate & almond cake)

For your meal you will need:

  • A barbecue, griddle pan or cast iron pan for the asparagus
  • A large pot for boiling water for the pasta
  • A frying pan or wide saucepan for the sauce

 The detailed recipes for the dishes are below, but in essence:

  • Bring a pan of water to the boil for the pasta
  • Grill the asparagus, then dress it and eat it
  • Boil the tortelloni and quickly make the butter sauce
  • Mix the two together
  • Dress the salad, then eat both this and the pasta, or have the salad after
  • Eat the torta barozzi

    ENJOY

    Grilled asparagus with parmesan and balsamic

    Asparago verde di Altedo is one of Emilia-Romagna’s most cherished crops. In late March, the bare fields dotting the plains between Bologna and Ferrara start sprouting this wonderful vegetable, famed in this area since Roman times. We use Italian at the start of the season, and migrate to British asparagus as the weather warms. Either is wonderful, and both particularly so when grilled, doused with fine oil and a little aged balsamic, and scattered with aged parmesan.

    Your pack serves two and contains:

    • Fat spears of asparagus, pre-trimmed by us
    • Shaved 36 month parmesan
    • A bottle of wonderful olive oil & fine balsamic vinegar

    Directions: 

    • Preheat your barbecue to white hot, or your griddle or cast iron pan to smoking hot
    • Add the asparagus (unseasoned and unoiled) and cook on one side until charred but not burnt – probably 2 to 3 minutes depending on how hot your grill is
    • Carefully turn the spears and do the same on the otherside
    • When ready, pop the spears onto a warmed plate or tray & season generously with salt & pepper
    • Scatter with the parmesan and drizzled with the balsamic dressing, then serve

      Ricotta tortelloni with peas & broad beans

      In Italian, the suffix –oni refers to something large, and –ini to something small. Tortellini, a tiny pasta with the same shape, has a somewhat peculiar history – it is said that an innkeeper who was smitten by the beauty of a guest (Lucrezia Borgia or Venus herself) crept up to her door, peered through the keyhole and could see only her navel. But what a navel it was – he rushed to his kitchen and created a pasta in the exquisite belly-button’s image. No doubt a more Rubenesque beauty inspired these deliciously chubby Emilian dumplings. 

      Your pack serves two and contains:

      • Hand-made tortelloni, stuffed with a cream of ricotta & parmesan
      • Butter
      • Freshly podded peas & broad beans
      • A little wild garlic & basil
      • A little grated parmesan

      Directions:

      • Bring a large pan of well salted (10g/lt) water to the boil
      • Add the tortelloni, broad beans & peas, then turn down the heat to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes, until just cooked
      • Meanwhile, place the butter in a frying pan and add a small ladle of pasta water
      • Bring to a boil over a high heat, and cook until the butter and water have emulsified, then add the wild garlic & basil
      • When the pasta is ready, drain it and add the pasta, peas & broad beans to the pan of sauce
      • Cook gently together with the sauce for 30 seconds, then spoon gently onto warmed plates and top with the parmesan

          Rocket and fennel salad with lemon dressing

          Shaved fennel is crisp & refreshing with a beautiful aniseed flavour. Mixed with a little rocket, and some fine olive oil, it forms an exceptional salad.

           Your pack serves two as a side and contains:

          • Wild rocket
          • Shaved fennel
          • A dressing of fine olive oil and Amalfi lemon juice

           Directions:

          • Put the rocket and fennel in a bowl
          • Give the dressing a shake, then pour over, and dress well with your hands
          • Enjoy!

            Torta barozzi

            If you take a drive out of Bologna and head west, after a little while – half an hour or so, or less if you drive like an Italian - you’ll reach Vignola, a small town on the banks on the Panaro river. In the centre of town, at a crossroads where one of Italy’s numerous Via Giuseppe Garibaldi’s meets a Via Jacobo Barozzi, there sits a typically grand Emilian pasticceria – this one called Gollini. There, in 1886, Eugenio Gollini invented a wonderfully dense and rich cake, moist with ground nuts and aromatic with coffee and rum. It found a name in the statesman honoured by the street outside, and the rest, as they say, is history. Pasticceria Gollini have remained fierce custodians of the original recipe, but we’ve worked on one ourselves, and we’re rather proud of it. 

            Your pack serves two and contains:

            • 2 fat wedges of barozzi

            Directions:

            • Remove from the fridge at least 30 minutes before eating
            • Pop onto plates
            • If desired, dust with a little icing sugar. Or not
            • Enjoy!