The Barbolini firm has been making delicious “serious” Lambrusco since 1889.
Most of the Italian cookbooks I own have been written by celebrity chefs like Lidia Bastianich or famous restaurant chefs like Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers of London’s River Café. But amongst these glossy covers I also keep a well worn copy of “The Cooking of Italy” (1968) by the American food writer Waverley Root. Waverley Root occupied an era when Americans were just learning about real Italian cooking from writers such as Marcella and Victor Hazan. I’m not sure when or where I came across “The Cooking of Italy,” but I reference its recipes frequently and I especially enjoy the detailed diagrams, such as one showing how to use a Napoletana drip pot for brewing coffee, or a map of Italy showing exactly at what geographical boundary flat, fresh egg pasta becomes tubular, dried pasta as one travels up and down the Italian peninsula. Its recipes have always been reliable and well researched, and I’ve yet to find a better one for pizza dough. Root’s recipe for Ragù Bolognese is another recipe that I couldn’t live without. It’s simple, classic, delicious and perfectly pairs with Barbolini Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro.
Lambrusco is the ultimate partner for Ragù Bolognese.
I’ve already expressed my enthusiasm for Lambrusco in a previous post so I’ll just add a short note here to say that there’s a huge difference between the industrial cheap stuff and the DOC wines, the best of which are produced from the Grasparossa sub-variety near the village of Castelvetro in Emilia-Romagna. This area is pretty much holy culinary territory as Reggio (Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese), Modena (balsamic vinegar), and Bologna (Ragù Bolognese) are all within about a 15-minute drive of Castelvetro.
There are other sub-varieties of the Lambrusco grape, the most common of which are Salamino (rarely seen), and Sorbara (rarely seen but the most prized), but Grasparossa should easily be found in most markets. Lambrusco can be found labeled amabile which translates as “slightly sweet,” but most Emilians themselves prefer dry Lambrusco with food. Dry Lambrusco should be brimming with berries, have low-tannins and high-acidity, and almost all Lambrusco will be gently sparkling, perhaps frothy, all to better cut through the pork and dairy that are common to the Emilia-Romagna diet. This is the ultimate wine for Ragù Bolognese.
posted on September 23 2009 by jesse