academia barilla  July 2007

Italian Gourmet Food from Parma: A Summer Recipe from Giuliano Bugialli’s Cookbook

Summertime, time for healthy and fresh eats. So what about a fresh [...]

Summertime, time for healthy and fresh eats. So what about a fresh summer salad with a gourmet twist?

Today we propose to all Italian food lovers one of the recipes from top Chef Giuliano Bugialli. We recently spent some time with him in Aspen at the 25th Food & Wine Classic Show, when Chef Bugialli designed the ultimate Italian experience menu for the VIP dinner hosted by Academia Barilla at the D19 Restaurant in Aspen, as we reported in a recent post.

Chef Giuliano Bugialli and Academia Barilla have something else in common: a Parma cookbook, written by the Italian top Chef to present the culinary and gastronomy traditions of Parma, the pearl of the Italian Food Valley. Academia Barilla is the Editor of the cookbook, which is available at the finest bookstores worldwide and also, of course, at the Academia Barilla online store.

The summer recipe we picked up for you from the Bugialli cookbook is a Parma classic from Medieval cooking, in which savories are cooked together with fruit; in this case beets are boiled and combined with very aromatic poached pears.

(Salad of Red Beets and Pears)

A recipe by Chef Giuliano Bugialli
(serves 4 to 6)
Salad of Red Beets and Pears

INGREDIENTS (for preparation)

- 6 medium-sized red beets with all the leaves on
- coarse-grained salt, to taste
- 2 unripe Bosc pears
- 1 lemon, cut in half
- fine salt, to taste
- 1 clove
- 2 medium-sized cloves garlic, peeled
- 4 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- freshly grounded black peppers, to taste

INGREDIENTS (to serve)

- leaves of Boston lettuce
- zest of lemon


Wash the beets very well, then cut off the leaves 1 inch above the beginning of the beets themselves, so that they do not bleed to much as they cook.

Bring a medium-sized casserole with cold water to a boil over medium heat, add coarse salt to taste, then the beets, and simmer until they are soft.

The cooking time depends a lot on the size of the vegetables and where the beets come from: it takes much less time if beets originate from a very sandy soil. Generally it take an hour.

Beets should be quite soft: drain them, uncool them under cold running water; the skin will come off very easily. Let the beets cool on a plate.

To get the full flavor, the best way to cook the beets is, instead of simmering them, to place them without the leaves in a baking dish, then cover them with the leaves and bake for at least on hour at 375 degrees.

Peel the pears, cut them into quarters, remove the cores, and cut each quarter into 6 pieces. Place the peeled pears in a small bowl of cold water with a few drops of lemon juice.

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of cold water to a boil, over medium heat. Add coarse salt to taste, then a large piece of lemon rind and the whole clove.

Simmer for 2 minutes, then drain the pears, add them to the boiling water, and simmer for 5 minutes or more; pears must be still very crunchy.

Drain the pears again and transfer them to a small bowl. Cut the beets in half inch slices, and add them to the bowl with the pears.

Use a garlic press to squeeze the garlic cloves over the vegetables. Season it with salt and pepper to taste, and drizzle all the extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic vinegar over.

Mix very well and refrigerate, covered, for at least 1 hour before serving.

Arrange the salad in a bed of Boston lettuce leaves and top with lemon zest, as shown in the picture above.

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