Italian food is all about ingredients and it is not fussy and it is not fancy. While life is said to be a combination of magic and pasta, once you step inside the wonderful Italy, you should first eat, then drink and then start exploring the attractiveness and the well kept secrets of this beautiful region.
Le Marche produces a varied, seasonal cuisine and truly distinctive wines. Imagine yourself appreciating the charms of this undiscovered region, combined with coastal sceneries, breathtaking mountain views, an evocative history, while exploring the local famous food in Le Marche.
On the coast you can easily find dishes consisting of fish and all sorts of seafood. In the hills, chicken and pork are the main proteins that you will find. Creamy sauces made from chicken giblets are liberally used. Pork recipes rely on generous chunks instead of the traditional thin prosciutto style servings. Since pork is so readily available, there are many type of sausages made in Le Marche.
Olives are growing very well in Le Marche, and you can either taste them separately or included in some meals. Grapes, grains, mushrooms and a wide variety of vegetables are found throughout the region, and the tables are graced with simple country Italian cooking at its best.
It is said that if you are looking for the best Italian food, you should definitely taste each and every plate in any restaurant that you desire to explore in Le Marche. Don’t worry! If you are travelling with your kids, you will all be delighted by dishes that match each and every taste, including enormous platters of different grilled meat, or with some of the peninsula’s best fish.
First, you should look out for …
An antipasto, mountain salt-cured ham and lonza (salt-cured fillet of pork) reign supreme. If you see it, also try ciauscolo (a soft, spreadable pork salame).
The classic primo is a generous plate of tagliatelle dressed with a sugo, or meat sauce. The region’s unique pasta dish is vincisgrassi, a rich baked lasagna without the usual tomatoes. Urbino is also famous for passatelli, strands of pasta made from breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, and egg cooked in broth. Apart from the ever-present meat grilledalle brace, on embers, delicious stuffed pigeons (piccione ripieno) and rabbit cooked with fennel (coniglio in porchetta) are a Marche speciality. In some areas, stewed snails (lumache) occasionally creep on to the menu.
By the coast, particularly around Ancona, try brodetto, fish stew which must be made with 13 species of fish, no more, no less. Thin spaghetti dressed with vongole, or baby clams, is always good here as is spaghetti allo scoglio, “on the rocks” dressed with seafood.
In the northern Marche look out for piadina, a flat, unleavened bread often served with cold meats at roadside snack-bars. The sheep’s’ milk pecorino cheese is excellent here and is best eaten in the spring with young raw broad beans or fave. Look out, too, for formaggio di fossa – (a strong-flavoured cheese aged by being walled up in limestone holes in the ground).
Here are the best places where you can eat in Le Marche, with your family and friends
La Patata Bollente in Sorano
This restaurant is an exquisite place, where you will be greeted by the owners offering you the best service and trying to make you feel as a member of their family. Once you arrive here don’t miss the chance to try the house wine, with a slice of salami or a homemade slice of cheese. The standard menu includes Coratella, a local egg and spiced offal dish, 5 types of pasta, with sauces that include one with wild mountain herbs and Guanciale, and Coniglio in Porchetta; a local stuffed rabbit terrine. There is usually a good range of dolce options. A large 3 course meal often costs less than 25Euros including also the local wine.
Agramater in Colmurano
Set on the hill, just outside the walls of Colmurano, this restaurant will offer a very special and unique feeling, with amazing views and a fantastic Italian menu. This is just perfect for a family dinner, with fresh and natural products. The most remarkable fact is that the products are coming from their own land, with seasonal ingredients offering unique flavours and textures to all of the dishes available on the menu. Starters include a fennel and orange tart or pureed cannellini, cavolo nero, squash and pancetta. Mains include Quail, Pigeon, Rabbit and at least 2 great vegetarian options. Wines come from the great local Saputi winery and they also have a good range of craft beers. The lovely work of arts dishes cost 30Euros and include also vegetarian options.
Le Logge in Urbisaglia
This restaurant, situated on the hill by the castle offers you a set menu of antipasti and pasta which will leave you thirsty for more. At the same time, you will also be delighted by the really amazing desserts that they have on the menu. The most memorable are: the exquisite goose liver pate; seared roast breast of duck on a bed of roast red pepper and pesto, calves’ liver wrapped in prosciutto roasted on a bed of dressed flageolet beans, spinach frittata. They do a chefs desert of 3 differing pods, perfect to delight your kids. Don’t miss the watermelon and mint sorbet with Campari, the iced espresso mousse and the semifreddo of vanilla and caramel. Try everything at the price of 25Euros.
Cook with wine, and sometimes just add it to the food
Nothing is better than a good glass of wine, and of course some great food. You will definitely love all about Le Marche, starting from the great history of the region, moving on the great drinks and wine, and of course ending up with the local dishes. Keep all of your memories alive from this trip, and once in a while rediscover the pleasure of eating Italian food in the comfort of your own home. Here are some easy recipes:
Broad beans with anchovies
- 2 lb broad beans
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 pinch marjoram
- 4 anchovies
- 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
- Vinegar to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation: Boil the broad beans in a small quantity of salted water until them fairly” al dente”. Meanwhile, prepare a sauce with a chopped mixture of anchovies, garlic, marjoram, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper. This will be used to dress the broad beans as soon as they have been drained.
Tagliatelle with Squid and Prawn
- ¾ lb small tagliatelle
- ½ onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 7 oz tomato sauce
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 tablespoon of chopped parsley
- 5/8 lb squid
- 5/8 lb scampi
- 2 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Preparation: Soften the finely – chopped onion over low heat in a small amount of oil and then add the finely chopped garlic without letting it brown. Add the squid slide in ring shapes until it is lightly browned and has lost its liquid. Pour in the white wine and allow evaporating. Blend in the tomato sauce diluted in a little hot water. At the end add the prawns which cook in 3 minutes. Dress with sauce the tagliatelle cooked al dente and garnish with chopped parsley.
Fish soup with olives
- 1 lb scorpion fish
- 1 ¼ lb ray fish
- 1 ¼ lb smooth dogfish
- 7 oz tub gurnard
- 5/8 lb scampi
- 3 ½ oz squid
- 7 oz baby octopuses
- 1 lb clams
- 3 ½ oz onion
- ¾ oz garlic
- 1 lb olives
- 3 ½ tablespoons of dry white wine
- 4 oz extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ¾ lb tomatoes
- 7 oz rustic bread
- 2 ½ lb fish broth
- Salt and pepper
- 1/8 oz chilli pepper
Preparation: In a large saucepan place the oiled and the chopped onion and garlic and fry lightly. Add the baby octopus cut into halves and brown. Stir occasionally. Add some white wine and evaporate. Add the fish broth, continues cooking and add chilli. Add the calamari, after cutting them into pieces, and leave on low heat. Distribute in 6 small casseroles, first the octopus and then the calamari. Add the other fish subsequently, one at a time, and the last to be added are the scampi and the clams. Cover the fish with tomatoes, the pitted olives, and finally, the boiling fish. Put it in the oven at 180º C for 5 minutes. Prepare the brochette with the slices of bread by toasting them and serving aside with the fish soup. Sprinkles freshly chopped parsley and serve the casseroles with their lids on.
Italian Anise cookies
- 1 ½ lb all – purpose flour
- 1 ¼ lb sugar
- 1 pinch anise seeds
- Water to taste
Preparation: Using a mixer, or by hand, work together the flour, the sugar and the aniseed with a little water until you have a smooth, uniform dough 1 – inch balls and allow them to dry for thirty minutes. Place the balls in a muffin tin, one ball in each place. Bake the cookies at 350º F for about 30 minutes. Then remove them from the oven and get ready to serve them.
Spend your life travelling around the world. Once you get to Italy you shall enjoy the food, admire the costumes, talk to the citizens, and explore the regions that you desire, of course, sipping from a glass of wine.
Buon Cibo, Buon Vino, Buoni Amici …