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5 Best Dishes In Bologna: Discover Traditional Bolognese Cuisine

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Bologna is wide known across the world for its amazing cuisine. In fact,  “Spaghetti alla Bolognese” is one of the world’s most famous Italian dish, but you actually will never find in Bologna “spaghetti alla Bolognese”. The traditional cooking in Italy is well represented in Bologna, varying a lot among the different towns. You’ll certainly find best dishes in Bologna. “Fresh egg pasta” stays at the core of the Bolognese cooking school, either stuffed like Tortellini or Lasagne or plain like Tagliatelle. Another famous specialty in Bologna is the cured meat pork, ragu alla Bolognese, Straccetti all’aceto balsamico, and panna cotta.

How to make fresh egg pasta

Fresh egg pasta is a luxury that can be enjoyed every day. All you need is a rolling pin and the ingredients: half teaspoon salt, 6 large eggs, 4 cups all-purpose flour unbleached, and half teaspoon extra virgin olive oil. The basic fresh egg pasta represents the most common fresh pasta form in Italy.

In order to prepare it you first pile the flour into a mound on a wooden or marble work surface. Beat the olive oil, salt and eggs until blended with a fork and pour them in a well made in the center of the mound. Keep beating the egg mixture until the flour fully absorbed the egg. Knead and flour again the work surface. Roll the dough into a smooth ball and cover with plastic wrap after placing it in a small bowl. Let it rest at room temperature around one hour. Roll, shaping  the dough into a circle using a rolling pin until the sheet is 1/8 inch thin or less. Shape the fresh pasta into a hand cut tagliatelle, a lumache, orecchiette or any shape of your choice. Cook the fresh egg pasta in heavily-salted cooking water.

Pasta comes in many shapes

Italian pasta can be cooked in many shapes. For a 600 g portion of tagliatelle you will need 400 g of pasta, 4 eggs, ½ tsp salt and 1 tbsp olive oil. Start by mixing the salt and flour and tip on to a board or work surface. Make a well in the centre. Mix together the oil and eggs and pour two-thirds into a well made in the center of the mix. Work the flour into the liquid starting from the outside, until a dough forms. Knead for around 5-10 minutes, until it is elastic, firm and smooth. Rest it in the fridge for around one hour after wrapping it in cling film. Cut the dough in half to roll be hand. Roll it thin on a lightly floured surface. Roll the pasta into a pinwheel after cutting it into ribbons.

For making tortelloni you will need 250 g Grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese 50 g fresh Ricotta, 1 tablespoon minced fresh Parsley, and 1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg. Start by mixing all ingredients in a bowl. Cut pasta into 8 cm squares and put some stuffing in the center of each pasta square. Fold them into triangle shapes, lose firmly the edges and wrap them around your finger. Press the two angles one upon the other. Cook pasta for around 30-40 seconds in boiling salted water. You can season tortelloni with a Tomato sauce, a Bolognese sauce, or fresh sage and melted butter. You can also add grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese after plating.

 How to make ragu alla Bolognese

Ragu alla Bolognese is one of the recipes based on tomato. Ragu is a sauce cooked with meat. The secret to cook a good ragu is braising low and slow a variety of meats in the crushed tomatoes. Instead of boiling the tomatoes, just simmer them at low temperature. Let the other ingredients meld first and don’t add the tomatoes too early. For different flavors use multiple whole cuts of meats instead of using ground beef. You may also combines cuts of meat from pigs and cows. Begin by dicing carrots, garlic, and onions and sautéing them in olive oil. Add the meats, pepper, salt, bay leaves, red wine and optional chili flakes until the meat is submerged. Braise covered on the stovetop for about two hours. Add in either crushed whole tomatoes, pureed tomatoes, or chopped fresh tomatoes and continue to braise for a further 2-4 hours.

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