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Pasta from Emilia-Romagna
Map of Italy with Emilia-Romagna region highlighted
Emilia-Romagna is home to many of Italy’s most renowned foods:  Prosciutto di Parma, mortadella, Parmigiano-Reggiano,
and balsamic vinegar to name just a few.  One reason for the incredible variety of Emilia-Romagna’s cuisine is that the region is comprised of two different areas: Emilia, the area between the Po valley and northern Tuscany, and Romagna, the mountainous area to the east with a coastline on the Adriatic Sea.  The fertile Emilia contributes pasta, dairy, and fine meats while the Romagna area offers aromatic herbs, wild game, and fish from the sea.  Emilia-Romagna is a pasta paradise. Connoisseurs believe that the fresh pasta dough from Emilia-Romagna is smoother and more elastic than in any other region. The town of Bologna is known to be the capital of filled pasta.  Classic tortellini, filled with cheese or meat, can be found in all the provinces of Emilia-Romagna.  The shape is supposed to symbolize the navel of Venus. Tortellini served in broth, are a fixture on Christmas Day dinner tables in central and northern Italy.  Cappellacci, a variant of tortellini made in Romagna, are typically filled with pumpkin or pumpkin with potatoes.  In the mountains of Romagna the tortellini may be filled with chestnuts.  Bologna is also famous for pasta dishes like Lasagne Verde and Tagliatelli al Prosciutto, and the internationally renowned meat sauce called Ragù alla Bolognese.  Although a lot of fish are eaten on the Adriatic coast, Emilia-Romagna is mainly a meat eating region.  Olive oil plays a role in the cuisine of Emilia-Romagna, more often cream, butter, and cheese are the basis for many dishes.  Parmesan cheese could easily be described as the flavor or Emilia-Romagna, as there is almost no dish that does not call for at least a spoonful of it.
Raviolo di Uovo
(Serves 4)
Raviolo di Uovo
In this recipe for Raviolo di Uovo, each person is served one large ravioli.  Inside each ravioli, a ring of ricotta cheese holds an egg yolk.  When the  pasta is cooked, the yolk remains soft, so that when the pasta is cut, theegg oozes out and blends with the sauce.  Although making the ravioli is not difficult, they must be handled carefully to avoid breaking the yolks.  They also must be assembled just before cooking.  Roll the dough out slightly thicker than you might for regular pasta to make it easier to handle.  If truffles are not available, the ravioli are still delicious without them.  Try drizzling them with a little truffle oil.
Ingredients:

Filling:

1 cup ricotta cheese
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and pepper
4 egg yolks

Pasta Dough:
1 pound Fresh Egg Pasta Dough

Sauce:
4 ounces unsalted butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 small white truffle

Directions:

To make the filling:
In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, parsley, nutmeg, salt and pepper.  Stir until well combined.  Cover and refrigerate.  Set the egg yolks aside for later use.

To make the raviolo:
Make the pasta dough.  Roll the dough approximately 1/8-inch thick.. Cut into four 8 x 4-inch strips.  Lay out one strip on the lightly floured surface.  Keep the other strips covered while you work. Fold the strip in half, just to mark the center, and then unfold.
Egg surrounded by ricotta filling
Put the filling into a pastry bag with a plain 1/2-inch tip.  Pipe a circle of the mixture to one side of the center mark, leaving a 1/2-inch border all around.  Carefully place one of the egg yolks inside the circle.
With a pastry brush, lightly brush a little water around the ring of cheese.  Fold the other half of dough over the filling.  Press the edges together firmly to seal.  Repeat with the remaining dough and filling.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  Carefully slip the ravioli into the water.  Cook until the pasta is done and the yolk is still soft, about 3 minutes.
Use a slotted spoon to remove the ravioli from the water.

To make the sauce:
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat.  Continue to cook, swirling the butter until it begins to brown, about 3 minutes.

Place the ravioli on individual plates.  Drizzle with the browned butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Shave the truffle over the top.  Serve.
Prosciutto di Parma
Prosciutto di Parma
The salted, air-dried hams used to make prosciutto crudo dolce (sweet, raw ham) are obtained from the hindquarters of pigs weighing about 350 pounds.  The hams are treated with a salt massage before undergoing about 12 months of drying in well-ventilated storerooms.  Every region of Italy produces its own prosciutto crudo.  The best known are San Daniele, which is made in Fruili, and Parma, which is made in Emilia - Romagna.  Parma prosciutto is a product of the Italian city of Parma and is one of their best, longest traditions in hams.  There is a law that states that Parma prosciutto cannot be produced anywhere but in the Parma province of Emilia - Romagna. Almost half off the raw ham produced in Italy comes from this area.

The pigs that become Parma prosciutto hams are fed a healthy diet of cereals and grains.
They eat the whey from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese which helps to produce a ham with a very mild and sweet flavor. 
Genuine Parma prosciutto is always cured with the bone-in.  For practical reasons, the bone can be removed before shipping the ham, which comes in a vacuum pack and is ready to be sliced.  Genuine Parma prosciutto is always cured with the bone-in.  For practical reasons, the bone can be removed before shipping the ham, which comes in a vacuum pack and is ready to be sliced.  Authentic Parma prosciutto will bear the indelible stamp of the Ducal Crown - a five pointed coronet logo with PARMA in the centre which is branded onto several parts of the ham's skin.  There is also ‘traceability’ to the Parma prosciutto in the markings, tattooing and seals on each leg  before they are sliced or shipped whole to the markets so that each leg can be traced to a farm.  There is also a birth code for the month and year the animal was born so people know that their Parma ham was of the right age. During the salting stage, a metal seal from the consortium, with his or her initials embossed on it, is attached to the leg. This also has the date the process of curing began. The meat will range in color from pale to deep rose. The fat surrounding a slice or running through it should be white or slightly pink in color, not yellow.  Thin slices should be supple and velvety in appearance, with a slightly chewy consistency  For most purposes, proscuitto is sliced in paper-thin, translucent slices.  According to the Italian farmers and the many chefs who cook with prosciutto, the best way to serve Parma prosciutto is at room temperature.
Strichetti Pasta with Asparagus and Prosciutto

(Serves 4)
Strichetti Pasta with Asparagus and Prosciutto
Ingredients:

Pasta Dough:
1-1/2 cups flour
2 eggs
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sauce:
1 pound asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
4 ounces ham or prosciutto, cut into thin strips
1 small onion, chopped
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup white wine
8 ounces mascarpone
Salt and pepper
Freshly grated nutmeg
Grated Parmesan cheese for serving

Directions:


To make the pasta dough:
Put all of the ingredients into a food processor.  Pulse until the mixture comes together into a dough.  Form the dough into a ball, cover, and set aside for 30 minutes.

To make the strichetti:
Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface.  With a rolling pin, roll the dough to about 1/8-inch thickness.  Cut the dough into 1 x 2-inch rectangles. Using your thumb and index fingers, pinch the middle of each rectangle to form a bow.  Place the bow ties on a lightly floured surface and allow to dry for about 2 hours.  Turn the bow ties over once so that the bow ties dry on both sides.  Cook the strichetti in boiling salted water for 1 to 2 minutes or until al dente.

To make the sauce:
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Saute the asparagus, ham, and onion until the onion and ham begin to brown, about 5 minutes.  Add the wine, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.  Remover form heat and stir in the mascarpone until melted.  Season with salt and pepper, and nutmeg.  Drain the strichetti and fold them into the sauce.
Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.
Mortadella
Mortadella
Mortadella, also known as Bologna after the city that invented it, is a large sausage made of finely ground lean pork (or pork and beef) that is dotted with little pieces of fat, known as lardarelli.  Some versions have pistachios mixed in, but the classic mortadella recipe has whole grains of black pepper embedded.  Mortadella can be served thinly sliced or cut into small cubes.  It is one of the most popular deli meats in Italy.  Mortadella is also used in many cooked dishes.  In Emilia-Romagna it is a basic ingredient in the filling of tortellini pasta.  It is also mixed with veal or turkey for stuffing rolled meat, chicken, or roasts. 
Gnocchi with Mortadella, Ricotta, and Spinach

(Serves 4)
Gnocchi with Mortadella, Ricotta, and Spinach
Gnudi di ricotta is another name for these dumplings.  Since ricotta is available in different variations of firmness, you should test one gnocchi before dropping them all into the water.  If the gnocchi stay together after 1 minute in the hot water, you can add the other gnocchi.  If the test gnocchi falls apart, add more flour to the ricotta mixture.
Strichetti are more commonly know as farfalle or bow-tie pasta.  This pasta shape originated in Lombardy and Emilia-Romagna in northern Italy. In Modena, farfalle are known as strichetti.

Ingredients:

Gnocchi:
3-1/2 ounces mortadella
2 cups arugula
1 pound ricotta cheese
2 eggs
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup flour

Spinach:
1 pound fresh spinach
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 tablespoons butter, divided
Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
Freshly grated nutmeg

Directions:

Finely dice the mortadella and arugula; place in a bowl.  Add the ricotta, eggs, salt and pepper, Parmesan, and flour.  Stir to combine the ingredients.  Set aside.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.  With 2 tablespoons, scoop some of the ricotta mixture, shaping each into an oval dumpling.  Drop the dumplings into the water.  You should get about 24 gnocchi.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook about 7 to 8 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the cooked gnocchi to a plate; set aside.

Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet. Saute the garlic for 30 seconds then begin to add the spinach.  You will need to add the spinach in batches until it begins to wilt down. Stir the spinach until it is all wilted.  Season with salt and pepper, nutmeg, and lemon zest.  Transfer the spinach to a serving platter or individual serving bowls.  Place the gnocchi on top of the spinach.  Melt the remaining butter in the skillet and pour over the gnocchi.
Serve with additional Parmesan cheese.
 
 
 
 
 
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Mortadella Imported from Italy, Sliced by the Pound
Alma Gourmet Prosciutto di Parma Red Label D.O.P. (18 pound)
PARMIGIANO
REGGIANO
Few products in the world are distinguished enough to have their location built into their name, but Parmigiano Reggiano is one of them.
Grana Padano is like Parmesan, but it is not aged as long, it has a milder flavor, and its texture is a little coarser.
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