Cuisine and Wines of Abruzzo and Molise

The traditional dishes from Abruzzo are an undiscovered delight, simple ingredients are turned into glorious feast with the inclusion of locally grown saffron, hot chilli peppers (diavolino-little devils) and the gloriously fruity olive oil. Maccheroni alla chitarra (literally guitar pasta) is pasta rolled over a wooden frame over which are stretched wires which cut the ribbons of pasta into fine,light strands and is undoubtedly the best known dish of the region. Pancakes or Scrippelle are layered with savoury cheeses, meats or vegetables and baked .Many of the dishes are spiced with the hot chillies such as “agnello all’arrabbiata” a spicy lamb dish, these chillies are also used in the tomato based sauces that go with pasta. Lamb is the dominate meat of the region and there still are many sheep farmers in the mountains providing lamb, kid, sheep and mountain goat. Many families still rear their own pigs and produce cured meats. Some delicious regional dishes include Agnello cacio e uova, lamb with cheeses and eggs and arrosticini, barbequed lamb. Pork, mutton and goat also feature heavily in the regions dishes such as Cif Ciaf a dish of sirlions, ribs and bacon along with the spicy peppers of Abruzzo. There are also sausages such as the tasty Ventricina di Crognoleto, the small Mortadellas di Campotosto and the Capicollo. Abruzzo is also known for a variety of recipes which include goose, duck, pigeon, guinea fowl and chicken all of which are accompanied by a great variety of vegetables and herbs all locally grown.

Along the coast there are fish soups and stews such as the “brodetto” and fish sauces served with pasta, Scapece alla vastese, fried fish with saffron and preserved in vinegar, Seppie alla sanvitese, cuttlefish, and sprats and anchovies quickly fried for eating fresh or added to pasta. Cheeses produced in the region are often flavoured with herbs for extra flavour, local cheeses are delicious and include the Caciocavallo, Burelle, which is a pear-shaped cheese filled with butter and the Caciotta made from a mixture of cow’s and sheep’s milk sometimes a sprinkle of paprika is added for extra spice.

The sugared almonds “confetti di Sulmona” are the best known of the confections of Abruzzo, “croccante”-lemon scented nougat with almonds and caramel,“amaretti” from Prezza and “ferratelle” aniseed wafer biscuits.

The coastal hills are excellent for the growing of vines and Abruzzo produces really good wines in the form of the red Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Cerasuolo and the white Trebbiano.

There are only subtle differences between the cuisine of Abruzzo and Molise as their landscape are so similar, but Molise has some traditional dishes that are typical to the region. There is a great use of pasta and vegetables used together in dishes such as taccozzelle e fagioli, pasta with beans and tanne de rape, pasta with turnip greens. Polenta is also a staple food much used in the everyday dishes of Molise and goes exceptionally well with the rich sauces accompanying pork and lamb dishes. Local polenta made from corn grown in the mountainous area of Molise is called macche con il miele, it takes long cooking and once turned out onto a board is cut into slices with string and eaten with a meat sauce or slices of pancetta. Again lamb and mutton are the main meats of the region, look out for the age-old recipe of pecora alla brigante which is flavoured with herbs. Among the vegetable dishes is a favourite of peppers, which are roasted over hot charcoals before being filled with a mixture of breadcrumbs, anchovies,chilli and herbs then all are smothered in a layer of a thick sauce made predominately from tomatoes.

Cheeses produced in Molise include Pecorino, Ricotta, Caciovallo and Juncata.

List of Italian DOCG wines of Abruzzo and Molise

Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, produced in the province of Teramo and named after the typical grape

List of Italian DOC wines of Abruzzo and Molise

Abruzzo

Abruzzo produced in the provinces of Chieti, L’Aquila, Pescara and Teramo.
Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo produced in the provinces of Chieti, L’Aquila, Pescara and Teramo.
Controguerra produced in the province of Teramo
Montepulciano d’Abruzzo produced in the provinces of Chieti, L’Aquila, Pescara and Teramo
Ortona produced in the province of Chieti.
Terre Tollesi or ¨Tullum¨, produced in the province of Chieti.
Trebbiano d’Abruzzo provinces of Chieti, L’Aquila, Pescara and Teramo
Villamagna produced in the province of Chieti.

Molise

Biferno produced in the province of Campobasso
Molise produced in the provinces of Campobasso and Isernia
Pentro di Isernia produced in the province of Isernia
Tintilia produced in the provinces of Campobasso and Isernia

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