Regional Italian Spotlight: Emilia-Romagna

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 Northern Italy and to the region of Emilia-Romagna.

Emilia-Romagna is located where the Po River brings rich microclimate and flourishing farmland, habitat for land animals and fish. The fertile Po River valley is home to many of Italy’s legendary food products: Prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano and Balsamic Vinegar from Modena. Prosciutto isn’t the only famous charcuterie in the region. Mortadella, pancetta and salumi are celebrated DOP products in each of the region’s main cities, from Piacenza to Modena and Parma.

Pasta is king in Emilia-Romagna, thanks to the local cultivation of wheat…and perhaps in part because the Barilla global headquarters are in Parma.  Fresh egg pasta is rolled and cut into lasagne, tagliatelle, tortellini, cappelletti, and tortelli stuffed with various ingredients like beef, poultry, ricotta, swiss chard, cheese, eggs and herbs.

Fettuccine with Balsamic Sun-Dried Tomatos Cream Sauce and Grilled Salmon – Arturo Joe’s in Narragansatt, RI prominently promotes the famous balsamic vinegar on its menu, as on this salmon fettucine dish. Chef Peter diSimone reduces balsamic with demi-glace as a flavor accent to the sun-dried tomato cream sauce and grilled salmon.

Rigatoni Bolognese – This dish from Barilla Chef Lorenzo Boni celebrates the most famous pasta dish of his home region of Bologna — the Bolognese sauce that has been much imitated here in America. The long, slow process and fine texture of the meat and vegetables are essential to an authentic Bolognese.