Photo by: Fine Dining Lovers / Stanley Tucci's portrait by Daniel Krieger /
In last week's episode of Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy, the American actor and gastronome visited the Eternal City, Rome, mastering their famous 'four pastas'. This week's Bologna episode saw him head northwards, eating his way through Italy’s 'Food Valley', Emilia Romagna, stopping off at local producers and homes to discover the real flavours of the region.
Emilia Romagna, in northern Italy, has few rivals when it comes to the variety of traditional foods on offer. It has dozens of homegrown, globally-renowned, and protected food products - think umami-rich aged Parmigiano Reggiano, melt-in-your-mouth Prosciutto de Parma, silky-sweet mortadella and rich, traditional balsamic vinegar to name but a few - as well as a long tradition of local recipes like tortellini and lasagna that are known in kitchens around the world.
As well as Modena, Tucci visits a number of other cities and towns in the region, including Rimini, Parma and Forlimpopoli, exploring each city's foods, wines, and culture.
Discover Tucci's food picks below:
How to Make Massimo Bottura's Tortellini in Brodo from Searching for Italy
Naturally, no trip to Emilia Romagna would be complete without a visit to the home of one of Italy's most iconic chefs, Massimo Bottura in Modena.
"If you don't believe in God you believe in Tortellini in Modena," jokes Bottura as he tells Tucci about the city's devout worship of pasta.
Watch Bottura as he makes tortellini in brodo from scratch at home during his lockdown series with his family for company.
How to Make Ragu alla Bolognese like Emilia Romagna Chefs
Three Emilian chefs, Aurora Mazzucchelli, Gianni D'Amato and Dario Picchiotti show how they master Bolognese ragù in two recipes, one classic and one with a twist.
How to Make Homemade Tagliatelle from Searching for Italy
No ragu alla Bolognese would be complete without a bed of homemade tagliatelle. In the classic clip below, watch the convivial Simili sisters show you how:
How to Make Tagliatelle with Ragù Bolognese: The Original Recipe
Any trip to Emilia Romagna includes tasting the real-deal tagliatelle with ragù Bolognese, and Tucci's tour is no different. Try this recipe for the original ragù from chef Alberto Bettini, patron of Amerigo1934, probably the best ragù in Bologna, and therefore the world.
How to Serve Prosciutto di Parma from Searching for Italy
Tucci also samples Prosciutto di Parma with Nicola Salvadori, the owner of Salumeria Garibaldi in Parma. This local ham can be served thinly sliced just as it is, or why not try our parma ham and figs recipe.
Take a step back in time and watch Bottura as he reveals how his Osteria Francescana began, and explores his beloved Emilia, the home of some of the world's best-loved Italian produce, from balsamic vinegar to sour cherries.
How to Make Balsamic Vinegar
"The nature of the region's grapes led to the happy accident of balsamic vinegar," Tucci explains as he samples balsamic vinegar in Modena. "Low in tannins and quick to ferment, they turn more easily into vinegar than fine wine."He even adds a splash of the sweet and tangy balsamic to a negroni cocktail.
Alessandra Medici and her family have been making balsamic vinegar for 100 years. Find out what makes her family's balsamic vinegar, or 'black gold' so special in Modena.
How to Make The Strozzapreti Pasta from Searching for Italy
Tucci also stops off in the coastal town of Rimini, where he learns how to make homemade pasta, including cappelletti and strozzapreti. Both riffs on the same theme, cappelletti - meaning 'little priests hats' in English - is a stuffed pasta, and strozzapreti pasta -meaning 'priest-choker' or "priest-strangler' in English - is an elongated form of cavatelli.
Ragù is the mother of all Italian sauces and the best-known food from Bologna in Italy. However, ask an Italian how to make ragù and you'll get a different recipe every time. In the first of a series looking into generational recipes, we focus on this most fascinating of Italian sauces.
Italian chefs and pizza makers launch a campaign to keep cooking alive in the city of Milan sharing video recipes online as their restaurants and pizzerias are forced to close during the coronavirus pandemic.