GASTRONOMICA TOUR OF ITALY: MOLISE

Molise is a land rich in history and traditions of its own, and although its cuisine is undoubtedly influenced by the gastronomy of the neighbouring regions (a fact that occurs in every territory), it also boasts many typical products, original and exclusive recipes and preparations.

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The climate here helps a lot, sweeter and milder than that of Abruzzo, which allows an extraordinary richness in fruit and vegetable production: there are so many centres in the region that can boast excellent-tasting peppers (including those of Boiano), celery and broccoli, fennel and cannellini beans (called ricini in the Isernia area), spinach and onions. Among the fruit, peaches and apricots from Monteroduni, limoncelle apples and pears from Campobasso, figs, fresh and dried, essential in desserts.

Among the typical products, in addition to the celebrated extra virgin olive oil, a dop product, bread, including that made with potatoes, and honey, cold cuts and cheeses also stand out here.

There is no shortage of mozzarella, such as buffalo mozzarella in the Venafro area, ricotta, including goat, goat and pecorino cheese, scamorze, smoked scamorza, but above all caciocavalli, shredded and butirri; accompanied by smoked hams and hams, such as that of Ferrazzano, ventricine, capocolli, soppressate, the typical sausages in fat and those with fennel, pampanella, a bacon cooked in the oven with spices, the Lady, of Conca Casale, a prized product of pig meat.

All cured meats embellish local appetizers, perhaps combined with fruit such as figs; for those who want to open lunch with a more elaborate dish, there are fiadone, squares of fried pasta stuffed with cheeses and cured meats, or the anchovies alla scapece, for those who prefer fish.

ACCIUGHE SCAPECE

INGREDIENTS FOR 4 PEOPLE

-500 gr of anchovies

-Durum wheat or cornflour

Extra virgin olive oil

-White wine vinegar

-Sage

-Garlic

Salt to taste

HOW TO PREPARE IT

After washing the anchovies, flour them and fry them in a pan with extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and lay the anchovies in layers in a salad bowl, alternating them with bay leaves and garlic.

Boil the vinegar with the minced garlic and pour it, still hot, over the anchovies. Let them rest for at least one day before serving.

CAVATELLI AL RAGU D’AGNELLO

INGREDIENTS FOR 4 PEOPLE

-400 g of cavatelli (or tagliatelle)

-200 g of lamb minced

-2 cloves of garlic

-1 sprig of rosemary

-2 bay leaves

-400 g of tomato sauce

Red wine

-Grated pecorino cheese


Extra virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

HOW TO PREPARE IT

Brown the minced lamb in a pan with plenty of oil, together with the garlic (which will be removed as soon as it has browned), rosemary and bay leaf. Add a little bit of wine and let it evaporate.

At this point, add the tomato sauce, salt and pepper and finish cooking on low heat. Meanwhile, boil the cavatelli in plenty of salted water, drain and mix them with the sauce, complete with a sprinkling of grated pecorino.

TORTA DI MANDORLE MOLISANA

INGREDIENTS FOR 8 PEOPLE

-200 g of peeled almonds

-150 g of sugar

-6 eggs

-1 lemon

-1 pinch of salt

-icing sugar, to taste

HOW TO PREPARE IT

To prepare the Molise almond cake, start by pouring the almonds into a food processor and chopped to obtain a “floury” mixture. Keep the flour obtained aside.

Divide the egg whites from the yolks, whip the latter with the sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Continue by adding the almond flour and the filtered lemon juice and mix to mix all the ingredients. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff with the salt, then add the whipped egg whites to the egg and almond mixture. Mix from the bottom up and gently so as not to disassemble the mixture.

Pour everything into a cake pan lined with baking paper and bake in a preheated oven at 160 ° C for 30 minutes, remembering never to open the oven during cooking in order to prevent the cake from deflating. When cooked, remove the Molise almond cake from the oven and let it cool completely before sprinkling with icing sugar.

BUON APPETITO!

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