Bologna is a difficult place for vegetarians, apparently. Most of the the classics of bolognese cuisine are based on meat and if you walk around our food markets you see salami and mortadelle at every corner. But for those who don't eat meat is it possible to survive? These are 3 classics dishes of bolognese cuisine without meat not hard to find in restaurants.
White onion friggione
Onions (cipolle) are an essential ingredient in Bolognese cuisine. A cheap food always available in the kitchen and produced in Bologna countryside (the white onion of Medicina has a very good taste and reputation).
Many traditional preparations use onions, like tagliatelle al ragù, and they are one of the basis of meat broth.
But onions are also the main ingredient of friggione, a sauce made with tomatoes, sugar, lard and salt, whose official recipe was registered in 1886. Like most of bolognese recipes it takes a long time to be prepared, and changes from town to town (in Modena they also use peppers) and grandmother to grandmother.
Nowadays it's not hard to find it made with olive oil instead of lard and, even if the purists will look away, I'm sure you will love this simple sauce on a slice of hot bread.
Where to eat it
It's a common dish you can find in almost all the classic osterie in Bologna. At Trattoria Collegio di Spagna it's really well made.
Trattoria Collegio di SpagnaVia Collegio di Spagna, 15, 40123
Tel. 051 6448825
Pay attention to the "O". Tortelloni are a filled pasta with ricotta cheese, egg and parsley usually served with butter and sage.
The "O" makes the difference, because their smaller brother tortellini have meat inside and are cooked and served with meat broth.
Like many Italian recipes they change if you move just for a few km: so you can find tortelloni filled with pumpkin and amaretto cookies in the area of Mantova and Ferrara, or with spinach in Modena.
Where to eat them
Oltre, near Mercato delle Erbe, serves tortelloni handmade by Monica and Daniela, real masters of fresh pasta.
Via Majani 1, 40122 Bologna
Tel. 051 006 6049
Piadina with salmon, avocado sauce, citronette dressing and sprouts
Piadina is an ancient bread known since Roman age, usually consumed by peasant families instead of bread. Today it's one of the most famous gastronomic products of Romagna's cuisine. The traditional recipe includes lard (strutto) but you can find it also made with extra virgin olive oil.
The filling could be different, I recommend squacquerone, a DOP fresh cheese produced between Forlì and Ravenna, and rocket.
Where to eat it
Sfarinà inside Mercato delle Erbe makes different kind of tasty piadina (also with olive oil)
Mercato delle Erbe Via Ugo Bassi, 25 (Box 24) 40121 Bologna
Tel. 051 269282