Rick Stein visits Bologna in northern Italy, a city so famous for its food that it is sometimes described as the stomach of Italy. He learns how to make the local fresh egg pasta used for tortellini, tagliatelle, ravioli and lasagne. There is stuffed rabbit filled with parma ham and parmesan frittata for dinner. At the market Rick finds a fish stall and cafe, where he enjoys squid stuffed with mashed potato and capers.
Bologna is a medieval city with a university even older than Oxford, and Rick explores the cloisters and the Whispering Walls. He even climbs Bologna’s famous Asinelli Tower, despite vertigo. He also drives up into the hills to a cheese dairy, where he tastes 13-year-old parmesan. Nearby, there is lunch at a pig farm with restaurant attached. Out in the back they are making brawn, but for the crew lunch they serve huge pork steaks grilled over charcoal, with a big glass of local San Giovese wine. Delicious.
Rick Stein’s Long Weekends episode 2 – Bologna recipes:
Bolognese sausage ragù with tagliatelle
Using sausage meat reduces the cooking time for this traditional dish, but the white wine and cream make sure nothing is lacking in flavour. You don’t need a pasta machine to make your own tagliatelle – if you don’t have one, give it a go with a rolling pin.
1. To make the pasta, in a food processor, combine the flour, eggs and salt, then tip onto a work surface and bring together in a ball of dough, cover in cling film and rest for 20-30 minutes.
2. Ideally with a pasta machine or a rolling pin, roll out the pasta into a couple of thin sheets (about 2mm thick). Run through a pasta machine to make tagliatelle, or using a knife or pizza cutter, cut into 5mm wide ribbons. Separate the strands and leave to dry on the back of a chair or spread out on a tray.
3. Break up the sausage meat into a large lidded pan with a little olive oil, depending on how fatty the sausage meat is, as it may render quite a bit of fat. Cook on a medium heat for around 10 minutes stirring from time to time. Add the onion, celery, fennel seeds, rosemary, chilli and garlic then cook for a further 15 minutes. Pour in the wine and cook until reduced in volume by half, then add the cream and chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper then put a lid on the pan and simmer gently for half an hour.
4. When ready to serve, cook the tagliatelle in plenty of salted water for about 4 minutes until al dente, drain and add to the ragù pan and mix in. Serve in warmed bowls with freshly grated Parmesan.