Typical Dishes and Recipes

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Some traditional Umbrian dishes still served at home and in restaurants are:

Pappardelle Pasta with Wild Boar Sauce

Ingredients (serves 4):

500 g flour

4 eggs

600 g lean wild boar meat

200 g canned tomatoes

1 c red wine

Extra-virgin olive oil

Sage, rosemary, bay leaf

Garlic, half an onion

Crushed red pepper

Salt and pepper as needed

Directions:

To the pappardelle pasta, mix the flour and eggs together into a dough and knead it until the ingredients are well-mixed, adding a half cup of water as needed. Using a rolling pin, roll out the dough and cut into 2 cm wide strips. Allow to dry for a few minutes. In the meantime, sauté the chopped sage, rosemary, garlic and onion for five minutes in a ceramic pan. Cut the wild boar meat into medium-sized pieces and add along with the bay leaf and crushed red pepper. Allow to brown for about an hour. Add the wine and allow to evaporate. When the meat is tender, break it into bite-sized pieces and add the crushed canned tomatoes. Stir occasionally and little by little, add salt and pepper. Finally, boil the pappardelle in plenty of salted water. Drain when they are al dente and add the sauce and wild boar meat.

Spaghetti with Wild Asparagus

Ingredients (serves 4):

400 g spaghetti

200 g wild asparagus tips

1 clove garlic

400 g crushed tomatoes

Extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper as needed

Directions:

Sauté the asparagus tips in a pan with garlic and olive oil. After about 10 minutes add the crushed tomatoes and salt. Remove the sauce from the flame as soon as it begins to thicken

Cook the spaghetti al dente and add the sauce with a bit of fresh ground black pepper.

Strangozzi

This name of this pasta, commonly found throughout Umbria, varies according to place. To get at the origins of this seasonal dish we need to jump backwards in time to 1540. During a severe famine, Pope Paul III decided to raise the price of salt in the city of Perugia. This event went down in history as the “salt war”. At the end of the war, the Umbrians, deprived of their independence, got revenge on the Papal State by eliminating salt from bread and pasta dough and by attacking priests and strangling them with shoe laces (hence the term strangozzi or stringozzi, literally derived from “strangulate”, sometime also called strozzapreti, literally meaning “priest strangler”).

Ingredients (serves 4):

400 g flour

Water

Directions:

Pour the flour onto a pastry board and make a crater in the center. Pour cold water into the crater and begin kneading the dough until the flour and water are well-incorporated. To begin making the strangozzi, remove a small piece of dough and roll it between the palms of your hands until it becomes a sort of crude spaghetti, long and irregularly shaped. Continue making strings of pasta with the rest of the dough. Lay the strangozzi out on the pastry board and sprinkle with flour. Allow to rest for at least an hour. Then, cook in plenty of boiling water. Drain when very al dente, so that the strangozzi remain firm.

Sauces:

Mixed chopped herbs: Chopped pancetta sautéed with onion, carrot, celery and your favorite mix of aromatic herbs;

Arrabbiata: A sauce made with oil, garlic, tomatoes and red chilli pepper;

Sauce with mushrooms or asparagus.

Tagliatelle with Porcini Mushrooms

Ingredients (serves 4):

400 g tagliatelle

300 g porcini mushrooms

1 anchovy

White wine

Extra-virgin olive oil

Garlic

Red chilli pepper

Parsley

Salt as needed

Directions:

Sauté the garlic and chilli pepper. Chop the porcini mushrooms and add them to the sauté with a pinch of salt. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes. Add the anchovy and some white wine. Pour the sauce over the tagliatelle and add the fresh, finely chopped parsley

Savory Cheese Pie

Ingredients (serves 6):

500 g flour

5 eggs

250 g pecorino romano

150 g grated parmesan

50 g yeast

50 g lard

Extra-virgin olive oil as needed

Salt and pepper as needed

Directions:

Dissolve the yeast in some warm water and pour into a half cup of flour. Mix until it forms a small ball. Cover with a clean towel and allow to rise for about 2 hours in a draft-free place. When the dough has risen, pour the rest of the flour onto a pastry board and create a crater in the middle. Add the beaten eggs, a pinch of salt and black pepper, the grated pecorino and parmesan and the melted lard. Mix well and incorporate the already-risen dough. Knead for a few minutes, energetically slapping the dough onto the work surface and between your hands.

Grease a tall-sided cake pan. Allow the dough to rise in the pan for another hour. Pre-heat oven to 180° C and bake for about an hour. Serve with your choice of cold cuts.

Glutton’s Palomba

Ingredients (serves 6):

3 wild doves

200 g sliced prosciutto crudo (salt-cured ham)

3 cloves garlic

2 anchovies in oil

50 g capers in vinegar

1.5 dl extra virgin olive oil

1 c white wine

6 sage leaves

200 g sliced toasted bread

Salt and pepper as needed

Directions:

Clean the doves, eliminating the head, wing tips and feet. Do not remove the internal organs. Singe away any remaining feathers. Wash, dry and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stuff each with two sage leaves. Wrap the breasts in the slices of prosciutto, then drizzle with oil and put onto a skewer. Cut the remaining slice of prosciutto into cubes and put the cubes in a dripping pan along with the garlic, wine, oil and capers. Position the pan underneath the doves. Oven roast for 30 minutes at 180° C, then remove the innards and add to the dripping pan. Continue to cook for another 20 minutes. Cut the doves into pieces and toss in a pan with the chopped anchovies; allow to season before removing from the flame

Remove the sage, garlic and innards from the dripping pan. Drain part of them and blend the rest to form a paté. Add salt and pepper as needed and spread onto the toasted bread. Serve with chunks of dove meat and the rest of the warm drippings in a small bowl.

Sweet Pasta or Sweet Macaroni

Typical dish for All Saints’ day, also called Sweet Pasta of the Dead

Ingredients (serves 10):

1 kg flour

1 kg bread crumbs

1.5 kg walnuts

500 g hazelnuts

1 kg sugar

1 bar of dark chocolate

1 package of unsweetened cocoa

1 package of sweetened cocoa

Powdered cinnamon

2 lemons

Water

Salt as needed

Nutmeg

Honey

Directions:

Prepare the dough and cut into wide pappardelle. Toast the hazelnuts and walnuts in the oven, rub to remove their fine skin then chop. Add the bread crumbs, sugar, cocoa, grated chocolate, cinnamon, grated lemon rind and nutmeg. Boil the pasta and cook until done. Drain slightly and transfer immediately to a plate while they are still dripping so that the pappardelle remain rather moist. Mix with the dry ingredients. Layer the pappardelle in a serving dish and pour the fluid honey between the layers. The dish should be about 8-10 high.

This list could go on and on, but for the moment nothing will help better acquaint you with this world of genuine food and wine more than….tasting!