My take-away from last week’s CNN episode in Rome was the 4 kinds of pasta that shared the same ingredients – pasta, guanciale (pork fat) and pecorino (cheese). Pasta alla Gricia, pasta cacio e pepe (cheese and pepper), pasta Carbonara and pasta Amatriciana  – so simple that Sunday pasta in my house may never be the same!

Pasta alla Gricia- are you hungry yet?

In the next episode Stanley Tucci takes us to Bologna, the capital of Emilia-Romagna region. Emilia-Romagna is the 3rd highest wine producing region in Italy and shares borders with Toscana, Piemonte, Lombardia and Veneto. However, their wines can’t compare to the world-famous wines of Toscana (Chianti, super Tuscan), Piemonte (Barolo, Barbaresco) and Veneto (Amarone).

There are Barbera, Bonarda and Sangiovese wines but the sparkling red wine, Lambrusco, is Emilia-Romagna’s best known wine.

America knows Riunite Lambrusco

It’s not wine that makes this region world famous – Emilia-Romagna is known as “Italy’s food capital”.  Their list of spettacolare (spectacular) food includes:

  • Aceto Balsamico (balsamic vinegar) from Modena
  • Parmigiano Reggiano (hard cheese) from Parma
  • Mortadella (meat) from Bologna
  • Proscuitto di Parma

Parmigiano Reggiano wheels

Before enjoying a meal of wonderful food, Italians often enjoy an apertivo (aperitif). One of the most famous and my “go-to” aperitivo is the Negroni. It’s the perfect cocktail – easy to mix with equal parts of Campari, gin and sweet vermouth.  I’ve experimented mixing variable parts but I prefer the original recipe of equal parts, and I use Del Professore vermouth (see BTWG Manhattan recipe).

Gin – 1 oz London Dry gin (Bombay, Beefeater, Tanqueray)
Sweet Vermouth – 1 oz (Antica Carpano or Del Professore Rosso)
Campari – 1 oz  (Campari)
Garnish with orange rind
Stir (not shake), serve over ice in old-fashion glass

And when you watch CNN’s Bologna episode, add splash of Balsamic (see cocktail on left above) – molto  interessante!  

“Stanley Tucci in Bologna” on CNN – Sunday Feb 28 9pm

Cheers, Bob the WineGuy