The Italian culinary history is a journey that has given us over the centuries dishes that have become protagonists of the tradition of Emilian cuisine and beyond.
Many have been handed down by grandmothers orally, others have been placed in the most important limbo of Italian cuisine or “Science in the kitchen and the art of eating welland ofPilgrim Artusi. Some even see the recipe deposited in brotherhoods that testify and jealously guard its cultural heritage or even registered in the chamber of commerce.
This happens, for example, with the recipe for ragù alla bolognese or tiramisù from Treviso deposited in the local chambers of commerce, while as regards the brotherhoods we meet the Gastronomic Brotherhoods, such as the Tortellino Brotherhood or the Tortél Dols Brotherhood from Parma.
We suggest you read up on this delicious dish
For the chosen few, however, the Olympus of the most important stars opens up for a chef who knows how to interpret a dish to the top. And it is on this journey, this time entirely Emilian, that I am taking you today and that I invite you to take by visiting our province.
It all starts with a dish of French gastronomic culture that saw in messieur Brillant-Savarin, its inventor at the turn of the 1700s and 1800s; enough to include it in his treatise ”Physiology of Taste”. I’m telling you about savarin, an important dish that lends itself to different interpretations, but which distinguishes itself from its round shape, the savarin.
I don’t know how this traditional French dish arrived here in Emilia, I certainly know that it arrived in the Food Valley and thathis best interpretation, so as to make him enter fully into the great classics of Italian cuisine, was in the kitchen of a trattoria in the lower Parma area. A restaurant that closed in 1982 butwho won the Michelin star with the recipe for rice savarin with meatballs and mushrooms, and which is still preserved and re-proposed in a few restaurants today.
To introduce you to this thatit is one of the traditional Emilian dishes let’s go to Samboseto a small fraction of Busseto in the province of Parma.
In the kitchen of her restaurant already famous for dishes linked to the Emilian tradition, Mirella with her husband Peppino Cantarelli tried, cooked, studied and sought the best interpretation of many dishes that became famous and appreciated by customers such as: Zavattini, Mario Soldati, Peppino de Filippo , Depardieu and De Niro, who often went to dinner during the filming of Novecento, and many other famous names.
I’m talking about dishes such as: the delicious anolini or tagliatelle mixed with 23 egg yolks or the famous crusted guinea fowl, and… therice savarin precisely.
That rice savarin became a journey through traditional Emilian dishes, and which earned Mirella and Peppino their first Michelin star.
Savarin of rice
At this point I’m almost sure I’ve intrigued you at least a little about Mrs. Mirella’s recipe, and I’ll let you in on a very simple secret: you can prepare it too.
It is a somewhat elaborate dish in its preparation but with fairly simple ingredients. It is a savarin that my father often cooked and that I remember with great pleasure.
I share with you the recipe ingredients and the main steps for its preparation:
30 g of dried porcini mushrooms
1 carrot 1 celery stalk 1 onion parsley to taste
300 g of lean minced meat and 100 g of sausage
grated bread to taste
1 box of corned tongue (to be corned at home)
(alternatively cooked ham is also used)
400 g of Carnaroli rice (watercolour)
Parmigiano Reggiano aged 26/28 months to taste
“The most difficult step is cooking and creaming the rice: it must be creamy, but also stand compact. “
(cit. chef Malpeli of the Osteria del Viandante in Rubiera (RE)
First you need to rehydrate the mushrooms in warm water. Chop celery, carrot and an onion, and sauté them gently in the butter. First add the drained and chopped mushrooms, then the tomato puree diluted in a glass of warm water and bring to a simmer. In the meantime mix the minced meat with the sausage paste, the Parmesan, the egg, the parsley and the breadcrumbs. Prepare many small meatballs, fry them and let them drain. Add it to the mushroom sauce and continue cooking for at least 15 minutes.
Prepare the risotto. Chop the second onion and sauté it in the butter, add the rice and toast it, then add the boiling meat broth and bring to the boil.
The importance of the final creaming with plenty of Parmesan is fundamental.
Take a savarin mould, butter it and line it with the slices of tongue or cooked ham. Arrange part of the risotto, space out with part of the meatballs, then top up with more risotto. Let rest for 5 minutes and invert onto serving plate. Fill the center cavity with the rest of the meatballs and their sauce.
As you can see, the procedure is not very difficult and it is a real journey through traditional Emilian dishes, as are the ingredients: Parmigiano Reggiano which must be seasoned enough, but sweet and abundant to create that taste of an unmistakably Parmigiana-style risotto; the dried mushrooms that here are from Borgotaro; the minced meat, the sausage, the corned tongue or alternatively the cooked ham, are all typical ingredients of the Food Valley.
Journey through traditional Emilian dishes: where to taste them
But if Mrs. Mirella di Peppino’s Trattoria Cantarelli in Samboseto closed in 1982, is it still possible to enjoy this succulent dish today?
My answer is obviously yes and I also suggest those places where, by reserving your table, you will be sure to taste it.
- Cocchi restaurant in the Ospedale Maggiore area, leaving the historic centre, on the road that leads to the camper parking area, this historic restaurant in Parma offers local cuisine and rice savarin.
- Vigolante restaurant we are just outside the city and not far from the camper parking area, here for generations the genuine flavors of local specialties have been cooked, including rice savarin.
- The Violets restaurant not very far from the Fiere di Parma in strada Nuova Castelnuovo, this place offers rice savarin with shoulder cooked in veils and Parmesan fondue.
- Restaurant at Voltone in a hamlet in the centre, not far from the magnificent Rocca Meli Lupi and the Parmigiano Reggiano museum, among the various dishes of Parmesan cuisine, it occasionally offers rice savarin… you try to ask for it while booking your table.
This is a real gem:your journey to taste traditional Emilian dishes takes you to the table of a starred chef.
At the Osteria del Viandante, chef Jacopo Malpeli, will take you to discover Emilian flavors and Mrs. Mariella’s original version of rice savarin.
In short, the journey through the dishes of the Emilian culinary tradition and of the whole Italian territory is an experience of taste and of our local culture that I invite you to do.