Lake Garda Food
We are lucky enough to be going to Lake Garda with our very good friends in May. Even luckier that we are not taking the kids, the first holiday alone in 11 years. This will be scary (leaving the kids) and exciting at the same time. An adult experience of a lifetime.
Italian Peasant Food
So before we go we are having an experimental Italian evening trying to discover dishes from around the areas of Lake Garda. As with most place’s the most popular dishes are what the masses eat and its no different around Lake Garda food. Peasant food is the order of the day as this is all the masses could afford, the leftovers from the aristocracy. Those in the know realise that the real tasty food comes from leftovers and cheap cuts of meat.
Lake Garda Eats
Now immediately this does not sound like a very inspired Italian dish, it sounds a bit yuck actually. On further investigation it reminds me of Lobby from Stoke On Trent. Lobby is basically throw everything you have to hand into a pot and keep eating it all week. This was mainly the underpaid potters of Staffordshire. So this peasants dish comes with a little more glamour as it comes from the Italian lakes. Yota is made with borlotti beans, smoked hock and sauerkraut. The dish originally came from the region of Trieste some 4 hours drive away. A nice hearty comforting regional dish.
Basically fried cheese, now what could be more comforting than a big mouthful soft squishy warm cheese. This sounds like an absolute delight. However I have a problem, I do not own a fryer at all and haven’t done for many years. I suppose the solution would be to put a few inches of oil in the saucepan just like Grandma used to. I know I can hear you shouting “house fire”
Lesso e Pearà
A peppered bread sauce made from stale bread and bone marrow, meat broth. Sounds very rich and moorish indeed. This sauce is usually served with boiled meats. Less e Peara’ takes at least 2 to 3 hours to prepare so before I attempt to make any I will wait and sample the delight in Lake Garda first. The only similar dish we have to compare is the old fashioned bread sauce. If you would like to make your own try this recipe from Franke Blog
Risotto, I am not sure if you could get any more Italian than the humble but complex risotto dish. It is often said that a risotto is made by the stock that cooks it. The upmarket restaurants that used dish water for their particular risotto’s were often shot down in flames by Jay Rayner. The Tastasal risotto is flavoured with sumptuous meat stock and a heavily peppered pork (Tastasal). Serve with a bold red wine and thats dinner done Italian style. Tastasal Recipe from Italian Tradtions.
Bigoli Pasta With Sardines
Bigoli pasta is made with buckwheat flour or wholemeal flour. Long, thick and extrude through the machine with force that leaves a rough surface on the pasta. This rough surface acts as a sponge to gather all the umptious sauce on the pasta as it travels plate to mouth. A simple dish designed to allow the fresh ingredients speak for them self. of course classic Italian cooking. If you would like to try a Bigoi and Pilchards dish then try this excellent recipe from Academia Barilla
Pike and Polenta
Pike is another fish that is abundant in Lake Garda, readily available so very affordable for the peasants of the area. Polenta and Pike seems simple enough you would think ! Well not that simple as I have discovered whilst researching this dish. There are so many different variations of this simple dish. The one I have chosen to showcase is what I would order from a menu. The classic flavours of capers, anchovies, parsley and a good olive oil drizzled over the pike. Another great simple authentic recipe from Academia Barilla
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Tortellini From Valeggio
A little like a ravioli, pasta filled with a delicious filling. However there is a twist to the tortellini from Valeggio, actually a twist or a knot in the filled pasta. Hence its name and there is many intriguing stories of how the knot became into the pasta. The only common thread in the story is that a knot was tied (a love knot) in a piece of fabric, the legend of love of a soulmate. Typically the tortellini of Valeggio is filled with a carnivore’s delight of beef, pork and chicken, oh and some veg thrown in to enhance the flavours. Tortellini From Valeggio the recipes, Stefans Blog and Cooking with Lucas. Tortellini From Valeggio, the legend, Wiki, Tourism and Delicious Italy
WHITE BEAN DIP WITH PITA CHIPS
This seems simple enough and realistically it can be whipped up the day before and kept in the fridge. I expect the texture to be hummus like so basically its an Italian Hummus. Full Recipe.I did make this for the meal but the garlic I used was smoked garlic which did give it an extra depth of flavour to the dip.
Lake Garda Food ; Sardine Recipes
Sardines are very prominent in the diet of the Veronesi people especially as Lake Garda is full of them. Sardines can grow unto 25cm in length with their shiny silver exterior speeding like a silver dart across the lake. No wonder there is a Sardine recipe for every occasion with such a quality ingredient on the doorstep. Hence why the humble sardine deserves it very own little section of recipes. The Fish of Lake Garda
Sardines Scapece – Italian Sardines in Vinegar
This is the Italian version of escabeche, the dish in which meat is cooked, then marinated in a vinegary, spicy sauce and served either cold or hot. Scapece (ska-PECH-ay) is a simple dish once you have split your fresh sardines; instructions are linked below. If you can’t find sardines for this recipe, use mackerel, herring or any other full-flavored fish.
Fried Sardines With Parsley Caper Sauce
Full recipe at Italian Food Forever
Lake Garda Desserts
Pere al Vino Rosso
- 1 pear per person, peeled
- 1/2 bottle of red wine, or enough to cover the pears
- 100g (4 oz) sugar
- A stick of cinnamon and/or a few cloves
- A strip of lemon or orange zest
You peel your pears—one per serving—leaving on the stem if the pear has one. Then place them snugly in a saucepan with just enough room to hold the pears in a single layer. Pour on about half a bottle of red wine (or more, depending on the size of the pan and how many pears you have). Ideally, the wine should cover the pears, but if not, you always turn the pears as they cook. Then add sugar—quite a bit of sugar, as you want to create a syrup: about 100g (one cup) or more for 4 pears. Add, too, a stick of cinnamon and some cloves, and if you like, some lemon or orange zest.
Allow the pears to simmer for about 20 minutes, turning them if need be so that they cook and color evenly, until they are quite tender but not falling apart. (You can use a paring knife to check if they are done.) Remove the pears onto a shallow serving bowl or plate, and continue to simmer the wine until has reduced into a syrupy consistency, then strain and pour over the pears. Allow the pears cool in their red wine sauce before serving.
Some people like to accompany these pears poached in red wine with a bit of whipped cream or some dried fruits, but personally I think that they are perfect served alone, just as they are.
Lake Garda Food Tasting Menu
To be perfectly honest when I did thew research on the food of Lake Garda I wasn’t overwhelmed by the dishes that are popular there.The Italian peasant food did not float my boat.Of course once I get to Lake Garda and try some of the dishes I may change my mind. So what did I end up cooking
I made a simple salad bed with romain lettuce, pea shoots, radish, fennel and of course rocket. On the top of the salad a layered over Italian meats then drizzle with Basil oil and parmesan cheese. All served with my homemade bread. A classic focaccia and Olive bread.
The Second Course
I did make the tortellini and I have to be honest that they didn’t look as pretty as the ones further up the post. However it was my first attempt at making them and they were fabulous. The taste was amazing of fresh homemade pasta with the filling and the earthy sauce. The guest were well impressed (they always are ).
Butternut Squash Tortellini With Sage Chilli and Walnut SaucePrint This
- 1 Butternut Squash
- Sage leaves
- 50g Butter
- 3 Large eggs
- 300g of 00 flour
- 1 red chilli (chopped)
- 3 walnuts (chopped)
- 1 tsp Salt
- 50g parmesan
- Olive oil
Firstly make the pasta, blend the flour and eggs in a food processor until the ingredients come together to form a dough. Continue to pulse for a further minute, removing the lid and turning the dough over every 15-20 seconds (CAUTION: keep hands well away from the sharp blade of the food processor).
Wrap the pasta in clingfilm and place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes
Peel and then chop the butternut squash into diced squares, cook in a large wok on the hob in a little oil and butter season and add some chopped sage. Cook until nicely browned on all side, ensure that the butternut squash is cooked through, stab with a skewer to check.
Allow the cooked squash to cool then add 40g of parmesan so the mixture firms up
Whilst the squash is cooling remove the pasta from the fridge and roll out the pasta in a pasta machine. I have one attached to my food mixer so its quite easy. I roll my upto the last but one thinest setting.
Spoon out the cooled squash onto the pasta equal distances apart, fold over the pasta and then press the past down ensuring to remove all the air from around the filling. Cut with a good quality ravioli cutter
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Once you have cut all your ravioli dust with flour to stop them sticking. Boil a large pan of slated water
In a frying pan add some olive oil and butter and quickly fry some sage leaves until slightly crispy. Remove them from the pan and allow to drain
Add the rest of the butter to the pan add the chillies and walnuts to the pan
Cook the pasta in the water for approx 3 minutes, remove from the water with a slotted spoon and gently add to the frying pan
Do this with all the pasta and gently move them around the pan to ensure they are thoroughly covered in the chilli, walnuts and butter
Place in a nice large pasta bowl, add the cooked sage leaves and dust with parmesan and black pepper.
The Sardine Course
I had to include some sardines in the Lake Garda food night. Sardines are abundant in Lake Garda, however finding sardines near me was like mission impossible. I tried every supermarket around me with no sardines in sight. Eventually I went to Tesco’s (the supersize one) and they had sardines. 6 seriously6, so this wasn’t going to be a main course or a feast of sardines. Improvisation was the way forward so I made a sardine dish inspired by the region of Lake Garda.
I used some savoy cabbaged sweated down in butter and garlic. Then I added some classic bolognese sauce (from out of the freezer). I then added the cabbage and sauce to a little roasting dish and placed the sardines on top. The around the sardines I placed mozzarella cheese. Baked in the oven for 20 minutes served with my bread.
Lake Garda Food ; A Fish Course
Wanting to pay homage to the food of lake Garda another fish dish was required. Now I was struggling with finding sardines so there was no way I was going to get any pike. So I settled on a substitute of Sea Bass. with mashed cannelloni beans. I did borrow this recipe from Gino
The Final Course
I went for the classic poached pears with mascarpone and served with a slice of my blood orange cake.
The night was a roaring success served with a few fine wines from the Italian area. In fact probably to much wine passed my lips by the end of the night. In the fridge the next morning I found a dish full of cold risotto for which I was going to make NO fry arancini balls. Defiantly a few to many on the night. I can not wait for our trip to Lake Garda
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