The bagna cauda is a typical recipe from Piedmont, a savoury sauce with an intense flavour, eaten by locals in autumn and winter. Actually, bagna cauda simply means hot sauce, in which each guest dips pieces of seasonable vegetables.
It is a dish of conviviality, a gastronomic ritual; in the past, people dipped from a common container. Now, each diner has his or her own.
Being a hearty dish, it can work as a main dish, but it is also often served as a starter.
The best recipe for bagna cauda
The other day, James N. from England wrote to me via e-mail:
We have been thinking of you many times since our wonderful visit to Turin in February 2020.
Like you, we are all isolating at the moment and learning new skills. For me it’s cooking and I would love to know your best recipe for Bagna Cauda which will always remind us of our visit.
So, I decided to ask my good friend Cristina Borlino, who is an excellent chef based in Turin, to share her recipe with me, in order to offer it to James and to all of you.
The recipe for bagna cauda is, actually, quite easy; you only need patience, as it takes a little while to prepare.
Cristina suggests, as it is a little time consuming, cooking an abundant quantity. Why? Leftovers will keep for a month in the fridge (don’t forget to put the sauce in a jar and cover it with oil) and it can be frozen! Perfect for when you crave again for bagna cauda.
Ingredients for 10 people
- 1 lt. oil, ½ lt. peanut oil (or sunflower oil), ½ lt. olive oil
- 300 gr. garlic
- 300 gr. washed saulted anchovies
- 100 gr. butter
- ½ liter milk (we say litre!)
- vegetables for dipping: cooked and raw peppers, thistle, Jerusalem artichokes, cabbage leaves, turnips, baked beetroots and onions, boiled potatoes, endives, fennel, radishes
It is advisable to cook the sauce in an earthenware saucepan, like the one in the picture, if possible.
Peel the garlic and put it in the saucepan, cover it with milk and boil slowly for 10 minutes.
Throw away the milk and put the garlic in a mortar or in a mixer to finely chop it.
Place the garlic in the saucepan, add oil, butter and the washed anchovies.
Simmer the sauce over a low heat for about an hour until the texture becomes creamy. Keep in mind: stir it constantly and prevent it from boiling!
How to serve bagna cauda
As mentionned before, ‘bagna’ in Piedmont dialect means sauce, and ‘cauda’ or ‘caoda’ means warm.
In order to keep it warm, bagna cauda is served in the ‘fujot,’ a particular terracotta container with a small flame underneath.
So, your bagna cauda is now ready! Serve it on the table in the appropriate warmers and dip the vegetables in. A very healthy dish.
Enjoy… Buon appetito !
P.s. Incidentally, if you have a bottle of Barolo in your cellar, it would be a perfect match ; – )