Local Veronese Food with recipes: a delight for your palate!
Apart from being the City of Love, Verona still has a lot to offer, most importantly for what concerns everyone’s favorite activity when in Italy: eating!
Verona has an immense number of traditional recipes, some of them dating back to centuries ago, which are based on our typical local products.
So, how does a traditional lunch look like?
First of all, we always start with a nice ANTIPASTO: a nice and big charcuterie board filled with delicious food. The ANTIPASTO is usually made up of different parts: fresh cold cuts, several types of cheese paired with MOSTARDA (a condiment made of candied fruit, with a nice spicy kick given by mustard seeds extract) and obviously bread can’t be missing: we have some grilled slices of fresh bread topped with artisanal olive oil, the “bruschetta”!
The cold cuts that we serve are all locally produced: our DOP salami called “SOPPRESSA”, COPPA, cured Ham, Speck, Pancetta with pepper and a lot more! Usually all of these products come from a specific mountain area near Verona: Lessinia, a “green jewel” just an hour away from the city.
In this specific area is also where our local DOP cheese is produced, the MONTE VERONESE, that comes in 3 different varieties depending on the aging: “giovane” (young), “mezzano” (aged minimum 3 months) and “stravecchio” (aged for a minimum of 24 months up to 130 months). The older cheeses are amazing if eaten with MOSTARDA, or honey for example, to create the perfect balance in the flavors for you to enjoy.
The perfect Mediterranean microclimate of the Valpolicella area allows us to harvest the most amazing fruits: grapes, lemons and…olives! Since the olive trees are popular throughout the region, almost every winery produces their own signature olive oil al well, following a specific process:
- olive harvest
- the olives are traditionally harvested by hand on nets, as is still the case, for example, for the Valpolicella Extra Virgin Olive Oil. The harvesting period runs from approximately mid-October to the end of December. Harvesting by hand is long and difficult, but it is absolutely essential to ensure the production of a fragrant extra virgin olive oil with no unpleasant odors.
- Once harvested, the olives are stored in plastic bins and bags. They are stored away from heat sources and are pressed within 24-48 hours of collection. The “virgin oils” are obtained exclusively from an extraction based on mechanical processes.
There are two different types of extraction:
And, there are five production phases within an oil mill: preliminary stages, milling, extraction of the oil must, separation of oil from water, storage and finally clarification and bottling.
Then, in our lunch, we would have a star of our cuisine, AMARONE RISOTTO! A classic, amazing recipe that we want want to share with you guys, to make you feel like you’ll always have a piece of Verona in your home.
Ingredients (for 4 people):
- 320 gr of Vialone Nano rice (FROM VERONA!)
- 60 gr of grated aged Monte Veronese cheese (alternatively you can use
- Grana Padano or Parmigiano)
- 60 gr of finely chopped onion
- 40 gr of butter
- 35 gr beef bone marrow or, in alternative, 50 gr of extra virgin olive oil
- 1 liter and a half of stock soup
- 1/2 bottle of Amarone della Valpolicella (a young one)
- Salt and pepper
In a big pot melt the concentrated soup cubes with water and keep it close to boiling temperature. Do the same with the Amarone in another pot.
Cut up the onion very thin, put it in a third pot with butter and bone marrow (or olive oil) and brown it until it gets of a beautiful golden color, then add the rice.
With a wooden spoon stir the rice until it gets evenly shiny with the oil and bone marrow, add a small pinch of salt and pepper and keep stirring. Add the Amarone and keep stirring until it evaporates. It is important to keep stirring otherwise the rice will stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
And now it’s the important point. With a ladle, put some soup in the rice pot, and keep on stirring until the soup is almost completely absorbed by the rice, then add some more soup.
Keep on ripeting the same operation until you finish the soup and the rice is tender.
Turn off gas, add some more butter and the Monte Veronese cheese and stir until everything is melted and creamy.
Put the rice on a wide, flat plate, spread it well and add some more grated Monte Veronese or parmesan cheese.
As a second course we cannot miss a BRASATO ALL’ AMARONE, braised beef in Amarone Wine (is it that obvious that we love our Amarone??), perfect for the colder months to keep you warm and happy.
Ingredients (6-8 people):
- 1 (750-ml) bottle young amarone
- 2 medium yellow onions, peeled and finely diced
- 2 carrots, peeled, trimmed, and finely diced
- 2 ribs celery, finely diced
- 1 medium bulb celery root, peeled, trimmed, and finely diced
- 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 branch each fresh rosemary, thyme, and sage and 2 bay leaves, tied together with kitchen twine
- Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
- 1 (4-Ib.) boneless cross-rib pot roast
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 cups vegetable or meat stock
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Set 1/4 cup of the wine aside and pour remaining wine into a large heavy pot with a tight-fitting lid. Add onions, carrots, celery, celery root, garlic, bundle of herbs, and lemon zest. Generously season meat with salt and pepper and add to pot. Add stock and 1/4 cup of the oil and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, skimming any foam that rises to the surface. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and braise meat, turning every hour, until very tender, about 4 hours.
Transfer meat to a cutting board, loosely cover with foil, and set aside. Remove and discard bundle of aromatics from pot. Strain braising broth into a bowl, setting broth and strained vegetable mixture aside separately.
Heat 1/4 cup of the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 cups of the vegetable mixture and 1/2 cup of the broth (save remaining vegetable mixture and broth for another use), mash mixture with a potato masher to a paste, and cook until liquid evaporates, 6-8 minutes. Add reserved wine and cook, stirring, until wine evaporates, 1-2 minutes. Add remaining oil and cook until sauce darkens and begins to fry, 5-6 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Slice meat and serve with sauce spooned on top. Garnish each serving with a slice of grilled polenta, a piece of broiled carrot, and a fresh bay leaf, if you like.
We are finally at the end of our Veronese lunch, but not yet!
In fact, at the end of the meal is when we eat our traditional almond dry cake, called SBRISOLONA, that is perfect to have alongside with grappa of AMARONE ( of course) or even better, the oldest wine of the world: the RECIOTO DOCG!
BRISOLONA (ALMOND CRUMBLE) is a typical cake of the Veronese and Mantuan countryside. The first recipes go back to the 16th century, and the Veronese version differs a little from the Mantuan one, for example it has no eggs, but it is enriched with a bit of Grappa! Here’s how to make it:
Ingredients (for 4-6 people):
- 200 gr of flour
- 200 gr of Fioretto corn flour
- 200 gr of butter (soft, but not melted)
- 200 gr of sugar
- 150 gr of rumbled almonds
- 50 gr of regular almonds
- 1 packet of Vanillin (vanilla powder)
- 1 lemon
- A pinch of salt
- ½ shot of Grappa (the white version)
Before preparing a Sbrisolona cake, keep in mind that the dough doesn’t have to be perfectly mixed, but it has to maintain the “crumbles” and crunchiness typical of this cake. Let’s start with sieving the two different flours, add the sugar and the crumbled almonds and mix all the ingredients together in a bowl. Then, add the butter that needs to be cut into smaller pieces, the zest of a whole lemon, a pinch of salt and half a shot of white Grappa. Mix the dough but without making it too compact: it needs to have some imperfections to make sure that the cake it’s going to “crumble”. Take a baking tray, cover it with parchment paper and put the dough on it; while you spread it onto the tray, slightly crumble it and softly press it onto the tray. Garnish the cake with the regular almonds and bake it in the oven at 180°C degrees for 40 minutes.
Serve the cake at room temperature and break it with your own hands into irregular pieces. To have the cake in the proper Veronese way, wet the cake a little by sprinkling some Grappa on top of it.
I’ll also share the recipe of another great Italian dessert: the TIRAMISù! it’s been invented in Treviso , our neighboring city!! always in Veneto Region ( the region of Verona and Venice)
There are of course many versions all over Italy, but this one is simple, traditional and divinely delicious.
5 eggs 5 tbsp caster sugar 500g (18oz) mascarpone 20 Savoiardi biscuits (ladyfingers) or Pavesini cookies 250ml (8.5oz) strong black espresso coffee, 20g (0.7oz) cocoa powder 1 full glass Marsala
1) Separate the eggs putting the yolks and whites into separate large bowls.
2) Place 4 tbsp of sugar into the yolks and beat them until they are thick and creamy and the color of the yolks has become a pale yellow color.
3) Add the mascarpone and beat until creamy.
4) Beat the egg whites with 1 tbsp sugar until you achieve stiff peaks. Fold the whites into the yolks
spooning from the bottom of the mixture to the top with a rubber spatula trying to maintain the volume from the egg whites but also breaking up any lumps creating a smooth cream.
5)In a small bowl and add the coffee with the Marsala.
6)Dip the biscuits in the coffee for a few seconds (no longer otherwise they’ll disintegrate). 7) Line a small bowl (for individual portions) with a layer of cream dust
with cocoa powder. Cover with the biscuits then add another dollop of cream. Sprinkle with more cocoa powder over the cream. Add another layer of biscuits and then one last layer of cream. Sprinkle the cocoa powder over the cream and chill for at least an hour. Dust with extra cocoa powder before serving.
We hope you enjoyed our “virtual lunch” and we are proud to welcome you in our amazing city and territory! Verona and we are waiting for you!! BOOK NOW OUR AMAZING FOOD & WINE EXPERIENCES! And discover with a local Verona and its surroundings!!!