In this series, we look more closely at a lesser-known region of Italy in every issue. As consumers continue to clamor for authentic, regional foods from Italy, it pays to be a step ahead! This month, we travel to the region of Emilia-Romagna.
The home region of our Executive Chef Lorenzo Boni, Emilia-Romagna is located in Northern Italy, where the Po Valley has a climate that’s great for farming crops and raising animals and fish. This region is home to many of Italy’s most famous food products, like prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, and balsamic vinegar from Modena. Charcuterie is everywhere in Emilia-Romagna, and not just prosciutto– there’s mortadella, pancetta, and various salumi with DOP certifications in each of the region’s main cities.
Pasta is king in Emilia-Romagna, thanks to the local cultivation of wheat… and maybe in part because the Barilla global headquarters is in Parma. Dried and fresh pasta is rolled and cut into dozens of shapes, including lasagna and tortellini stuffed with various ingredients. The fillings can be almost anything, from beef and poultry to ricotta and swiss chard.
But, of course, the dish that’s most imitated and loved here in America is the classic bolognese from Lorenzo’s hometown of Bologna. The long, slow process and fine texture of the meat and vegetables are essential to an authentic bolognese. This Rigatoni Bolognese was adapted from Chef Lorenzo’s family recipe!