Fall in Piemonte means a patchwork of red, yellow and green vines. An excuse to go back to those soul warming red wines, chestnuts, pumpkins, and most of all BAGNA CAUDA!

I have written about Bagna Cauda (a local traditional dish) many times, but never have I tasted one as good as my friend Elena’s which we were lucky to taste on Sunday afternoon. Most people think it is not “cool” to eat bagna cauda because it makes your breath stink for days (the original recipes call for one head of garlic per person!). But since Italians here are so concerned about aiding digestion, they are sure to either boil the garlic cloves in water or milk several times, and work hard to take out the “anima” or “soul” (the little green part inside) which is supposedly the hard part to digest.
Nowadays, since people are too chic to be walking around with stinky garlic breath, many tame it down with cream. However, Elena makes her bagna cauda with only three simple ingredients: extra virgin olive oil, Sicilian anchovies and local fresh garlic. Long live tradition! With it’s little own bubbling pot in front of you, you are free to choose from the multitude of fall vegetables to dip like sun chokes, cardoons, potatoes, peppers, cabbage, leeks, onions (to add to the breath), cauliflower, and even the best part, using the bread for the “scarpetta”. You just have to let them soak in all the flavors and warm up in their own bath.
It is so amazing that with such simple ingredients you can get such a tasty and rich meal. I love bagna cauda for its ability to bring people around the table and make it into a sort of Fall ceremony. I am adding Elena’s recipe below if you want to try!
“Bagna Cauda” for 4 people :
1 fresh head of garlic
80 gr (about 3 ounces) cleaned anchovies
extra virgin olive oil
Peel the garlic cloves, cut in half and take out its SOUL! Boil it in water for 15 minutes and repeat. Clean the anchovies preserved in salt (You could also use anchovies packed in oil which are already cleaned) .Just make sure they are top quality, take out the central fish bone and wash them well under running water. Combine the garlic and anchovies in a non-stick little pot, cover with olive oil and simmer for at least 2 hours until the anchovies are basically dissolved. Check every so often to see if more oil is needed. For a creamier bagna cauda, you can try blending it.
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