After claiming top spot at The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2016 for Osteria Francescana, and drawing praise for his Food for Soul gourmet soup kitchens project, chef Massimo Bottura now has another reason to be cheerful: he’s just received an honorary degree from the University of Bologna.
Bottura, who hails from and is based in nearby Modena, was awarded the honorary degree (laurea honoris causa) in business administration as “an exemplary case of how to manage a small Italian family business, achieving unprecedented success and a global reputation in just a few years,” according to the university, one of the oldest in the world. Bottura dedicated the award to his mother, describing it as extraordinarily prestigious and unexpected.
In honour of this, here are nine iconic dishes from Bottura, both from the restaurant and various food events in recent years; dishes that have helped secure his standing as one of the greatest chefs in the world.
If you fancy having a go at making some of Bottura's incredible food yourself, here are two Massimo Bottura recipes to try. Watch the trailer for Massimo Bottura's new movie here.
Zuppa Inglese: cold and hot chocolate custard, pasta, alchermes. Bottura's take on the Italian dessert, itself an Italian tribute to English trifle, with origins in the sixth century when the Duke of Este Ferrara asked for a recreation of the trifle he enjoyed at the Elizabethan Court.
Left: Triglia alla Livornese (red mullet) [Identità Golose 2015], this traditional dish is credited Livorno's Jewish community who, it is said, introduced tomatoes into Italian cooking. Right: toasted caramel made with stale bread, milk and sugar, ice cream, and gold (Refettorio Ambrosiano). Image: Brambilla-Serrani. Bottura is passionate about using leftovers and food waste as a key ingredient.
A meat medallion of partridge, mallard and liver with civet sauce and apple mustard. Civet sauce is typically made from red wine reduction, lardons and pear onions and the blood of the game to thicken at the end.
Left: The Crunchy Part of the Lasagna; A famous dish by Bottura that evokes the childhood memory of stealing the top off the lasagna. Right: Passatelli soup with potatoes, parsnips and Jerusalem artichokes (Identità Golose 2015). [Image: Brambilla-Serrani.] Pasatelli is a pasta from the Romagna tradition and is made with breadcrumbs, eggs, and eggs and typically cooked in chicken broth.
Pigeon with beetroot and fake leaves. Bottura's homage to the earthy, gamey, autumn flavours bountiful in the agricultural region of Emilia-Romagna.
Top: 'A Potato Wanting to be a Truffle...' – Baked potato in salt, with eggnog and white Alba truffle; Bottom: 'But it Couldn't Wait so it Became a Spaghetto' – potato 'spaghetti' with ham broth, bacon and white Alba truffle (Identità Golose New York, 2013).