Archive for La Pianura Padana

Another Test Kitchen Event, Oct 21-23: Cara Pianura

Posted in Emilia-Romagna, La Pianura Padana, Steve Samson, Test Kitchen, Zach Pollack with tags , , , , , on October 18, 2010 by steveandzach

Cara Pianura
Emilia-Romagna has long been considered Italy’s gastronomic epicenter. Whether you buy that logic or not—we happen to believe there are a few regions that can give old Emilia a run for its money—the fact that some of the best cooking in Italy comes from this geographically sober northern region is widely acknowledged. But what people often overlook is that much of what would be described as traditional Emilian cooking actually exists outside the boundaries of Emilia-Romagna. Cremona and Mantova, for instance, both in Lombardy and both gourmet havens, have their own versions of one of the most quintessential Emilian dishes of all time: tortellini. The Cremonese call them “marubini” and the Mantovani “anolini”, but notwithstanding a few very minor variations in filling, they are almost indistinguishable from the Bolognese tortellini.
That’s because what has come to be known as Emilian cuisine is actually the cuisine of the Pianura Padana, Italy’s Great Plain. Also known as the Po Valley, this massive fertile plain, which, in addition to covering most of Emilia-Romagna, stretches from Lombardy to the northwest and the Veneto to the northeast, is home to some of Italy’s most loved and indeed greatest edibles: prosciutto di Parma, Parmigiano Reggiano, Grana Padano, balsamic vinegar, culatello, mortadella, lasagne, tortellini…and the list goes on. But as delightful as these well-known products are, they hardly account for most of the Pianura’s culinary contributions. From Bologna’s crescentine to Mantova’s quince mostarda, to the undisputed and unabashed king of all meat dishes, bollito misto, the Pianura boasts some lesser-known treasures that are always delicious and always, in the local tradition, filling.
We invite you to join us for three early autumn nights of food celebrating this well-known but perhaps not fully appreciated area of Italy. We ask only that you come hungry and willing to submit to the sumptuous pleasures of the cucina Padana.

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