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:
- Belgian endive
- sweet peppers
- Pour the olive oil into a saucepan or saucier.
- Add the garlic and anchovies.
- Cook over a low heat.
- Stir until the anchovies and garlic disintergrates.
- Whisk in the butter, until it is melted.
- Remove the pan from the heat.
- Whisk to a creamy consistency.
- 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
- Remove the fronds from the fennel and save for a garnish
- Slice the vegetables into pieces that will not fall apart on the grill.
- Lightly dress the vegetable slices with Extra Virgin olive oil.
- Season with Salt and Pepper.
- Grill the vegetables until just done. They should still be slightly firm.
- Dress the drained pasta with the sauce and capers.
- Plate and arrange the grilled vegetables over the pasta.
- Garnish with fennel fronds and basil leaves.
- Serve Immediately