The European academy of risotto, Mantuan style
Taste Mantuan Cuisine
Unique sum of different culinary traditions
The Province of Mantua is an agglomeration of different identities, that are made up of different culinary traditions, united by certain typical products.
Follow our reporter Pat in a tasty journey through the gastronomic variations of the Mantuan Cuisine.
Have you ever tasted pumpkin-filled ravioli?
Cover pic courtesy of Flickr User MS-R / Michael S-R (@senroy)
Video full text: Mantuan Cuisine
These are pumpkin-filled ravioli in tomato sauce.
They are good, but I can’t say it loudly!
If one of the Gonzagas of Mantua hears me, they’ll get angry.
This is a particular feature of the Gonzagas of Sabbioneta.
There are a great many gastronomic variations in the Province of Mantua.
Just a few kilometres means doing away with certain traditions and reinterpreting them differently.
For Mantuans pumpkin-filled ravioli are served only with butter and sage.
In these parts, on the other hand, they serve them with tomato sauce.
It’s scandalous! But good nevertheless.
The Province of Mantua is an agglomeration of different identities.
that are made up of different culinary traditions,
united by certain typical products.
A general catalogue of typical products can’t fail to contain
the marinated pumpkin.
Vinegar, white wine, sugar, cinnamon and orange peel.
And then Mantuan salami, just smell that!
The salami’s main feature is garlic.
Mantua, land – or rather water – of rice paddies.
Can I take a look at the recipe for the risotto al puntel?
So, first you fry the sausage, dressed with garlic and pepper.
In Mantuan dialect the sausage is called salamella.
In the meantime we cook the rice for 9 or 10 minutes.
We remove it from the heat, cover it with a cloth and a lid.
We allow this sort of compacted rice to rest for a further 7 minutes.
Then we mix it with the salamella that we prepared previously.
And then we give it its shape.
Risotto menato means it’s like a wave,
because when it’s on the plate it has to move like a wave.
There is also a fish that comes from afar.
You flavour the butter, the olive oil with sage, garlic and parsley.
The salted codfish is cooked inside with lemon.
We have dressed it up a bit with cannellini beans and toasted bread.
We garnish it with fresh sage leaves,
that have been coated with beaten egg and breadcrumbs.
We finish off the plate with freshly ground pepper: that’s Mantuan-style baccalà!
Then there’s the fruit!
Incredible, it’s insanely sweet!
Let’s be honest: this is eaten with a spoon and a piece of bread.
It’s the only way.
Then there’s the fruit served as a dessert.
It’s called ciulipada, which sounds almost Mexican but it’s Mantuan dialect.
It’s a sort of stewed apricot.
A fresh jam or preserve.
Then the pudding!
The rose tart: leavened butter-based dough with a vanilla cream.
The rose is just the shape.
Before I begin eating, what does one drink with something like this?
I would suggest a sparkling Lambrusco Rosé.
And to top it all off, a morsel of the sbrisolona crunchy cake.
Typical of the place, really good.
Perhaps a bit rough round the edges, like the locals.
But when all is said and done, tender, welcoming and sweet.
Visit Mantua: helpful hints
Italian name: Mantova
There is no airport in Mantua but you can come easily from Milan or Bologna.
Milan: from Malpensa Airport reach Milan Central Station by train or by bus (the Malpensa Express train leaves every 30 minutes, it takes 50 minutes and costs 13€. The Malpensa shuttle bus leaves every 20 minutes, it takes 60/70 minutes and costs 10€). At Milan Central Station, look for the train to Mantua, it costs 11,5€ and it takes 1,5 hours.
Bologna: from Bologna Airport reach Bologna Central Station by bus (rides every 15 minutes). It takes 30 minutes and costs 6,5€. From the Central Station you can choose between the train and the bus: with Trenitalia company there is a combination of two trains, taking 1,5 hours at all for 8,95€. With Flixbus service you pay 4,99€ and it takes 1,25 hours.
You can visit Mantua on walk, or you can choose between bus or bike. APAM manages the local bus service. The single ticket costs 1,4€ and it lasts 75 minutes. Otherwise you can choose the bike and pay 0,69€ for a 20 minutes ride.
What to do
Mantua is a wonderful art city surrounded by lakes. It is in Lombardy region, Northern Italy. The city is famous for many stunning architectural treasures, such as Palazzo Ducale made by the Gonzaga family, or Palazzo Te. Nearby don’t miss the Olympic Theatre of Sabbioneta, the first designed just for entertainment in 1500.
Every year in September takes place here one of the most important Book Fair in Italy, Festivaletteratura.
For more tips, watch Italia Slow Tour web serie about Mantua.