Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Bagna Cauda

The name Bagna Cauda, means hot bath or warm sauce. Bagna Cauda was first created in Piedmont, Italy. It is usually kept hot in a pot over a flame, but you may see it presented at the table in a serving dish or in individual small bowls without the flame.

Bagna Cauda is a bold mix of olive oil, anchovies, garlic, and butter. Bagna cauda is served as a warm dip with a variety of raw fresh vegetables, including fennel, mushrooms, cauliflower, broccoli, Belgian endive, sweet peppers, cucumbers and zucchini as an appetizer or a sauce for penne pasta. Trust me, anchovies can be your friend.

Here is the way to eat Bagna Cauda: Spear bite-size pieces of raw vegetables on a long fork-like prong (fondue forks work well). Hold the morsels in the hot sauce for a few seconds. Eat over good crusty bread. Eat the bread when it becomes covered in sauce. Repeat until it feels good.


  • ½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 10 anchovies in olive oil, drained and chopped
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • For dipping:
  • A crusty Italian bread, sliced.
  • a variety of raw fresh vegetables including:
    • fennel
    • mushrooms
    • cauliflower
    • brocolli
    • Belgian endive
    • sweet peppers
    • cucumbers
    • zucchini


  1. Pour the olive oil into a saucepan or saucier.
  2. Add the garlic and anchovies.
  3. Cook over a low heat.
  4. Stir until the anchovies and garlic disintergrates.
  5. Whisk in the butter, until it is melted.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat.
  7. Whisk to a creamy consistency.
  8. Pour into a dish over a warmer service.


Penne with Mixed Vegetable Grill

I do like Bagna Cauda as a dressing for pasta. Here is a quick and simple recipe for a variation using grilled vegetables and penne pasta.


  • 1 large Portabella mushroom
  • 1 Fennel bulb
  • 1 medium Red onion
  • 3 young small Zucchini
  • 2 sweet peppers red and green
  • 1 pound Penne pasta cooked al dente
  • Bagna Cauda sauce
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Black Pepper corse ground to taste.
  • 1 teaspoon Capers
  • Sprig of Sweet basil


  1. Remove the fronds from the fennel and save for a garnish
  2. Slice the vegetables into pieces that will not fall apart on the grill.
  3. Lightly dress the vegetable slices with Extra Virgin olive oil.
  4. Season with Salt and Pepper.
  5. Grill the vegetables until just done. They should still be slightly firm.
  6. Dress the drained pasta with the sauce and capers.
  7. Plate and arrange the grilled vegetables over the pasta.
  8. Garnish with fennel fronds and basil leaves.
  9. Serve Immediately