Enjoying Rovigo and Its Cuisine with Maria Cristina Buoso (Part 1)
by Maria Teresa De Donato
(Rovigo - Vittorio Emanuele II Square)
In the past I have already published tourist interviews. From today I officially start with this new column entitled Amazing Italy. It will see as guests friends and colleagues who will present us with places and tourist attractions of their city, either hometown or in which they live or have lived for many years, or places they have visited anyway and found interesting.
The first guest to participate in this new column is the friend and colleague Author and Blogger Maria Cristina Buoso, who will describe Rovigo to us. In every meeting with her, Maria Cristina will also delight our palate by presenting us a recipe of traditional local cuisine.
Enjoy the reading!
MTDD: Hi Maria Cristina, it's a pleasure to have you as my guest again after the interview on your book and the subsequent review I wrote.
Would you like to introduce yourself briefly to those who don't know you yet?
MCB: Certainly. Thanks for the invite. Let me introduce myself briefly. My name is Maria Cristina Buoso, and I am an author and blogger.
I have always been an author but a blogger for a few years.
When Maria Teresa asked me if I would like to talk about an Italian region and/or city, I was pleased to accept her invitation and decided to introduce Veneto, and Rovigo and its surroundings to you.
Rovigo is a medieval city of Romanesque origin; the first document on the town dates back to April 24, 838, where Rovigo is defined in Latin - villa que nuncupatur Rodigo - or "rural village called Rodigo". In 920, the bishop of Adria Paolo Cattaneo had a fortification built on the banks of the Adigetto, transferring the bishop's seat there. Before the Romans, the Etruscans also stopped in these marshy lands.
MTDD: Maria Cristina, Would you remind us what happened in Rovigo after the fall of the Roman Empire?
MCB: After the fall of the Roman Empire, Rovigo was saved from the Barbarian invasions thanks to the swamps surrounding it. It has always been a land disputed by other peoples. For example, the Este family was already present in Rovigo in 1117, and, apart from brief parentheses, Rovigo remained Este for almost three centuries. Then for another three centuries, from 1482, there was the Republic of Venice and then, at the beginning of the nineteenth century, the French domination and finally the Austrian domination, until the annexation to the kingdom of Italy.
MTDD: What impact did all these different civilizations have on the development and culture of Rovigo?
MCB: Each left their mark on the city and contributed to creating a somewhat closed character in Rovigo, famous "Ruigo no m'intrigo" (in Rovigo I do not intrigue). It is a proverb that comes spontaneously to the mind of the Venetians when they speak about Rovigo and has a fund of ancient truth. It probably originated from the historical factors and events that I mentioned above. Just think that I was once told even in Switzerland, unbelievable!
MTDD: How would you describe your city to present it to those who don't know it?
MCB: Rovigo is a small, pleasant city, full of charm, history, and culture. Lively, but at the same time quiet, on a human scale, perfect to be known simply by walking through the town's streets.
MTDD: I am convinced that there is much more to say about Rovigo, am I wrong?
MCB: No, you are not wrong at all. I will continue to tell you about this town in the following articles.
I thought it would be nice to end our interview each time with a local or Veneto recipe. The problem is that they are many and varied; some belong to my memories and the land where I was born. However, I leave you with a recipe that I hope you will appreciate.
I thought about starting with Sugoi (Sugoli), a recipe linked to my childhood.
It is a customizable recipe because the cook decides how much flour and/or sugar to use according to their needs; the exact quantity is not there because each one adapts it to his own taste, to the type of mash that he has available, etc ...
But I'll try to give you an idea of how to do it as much as possible.
First, you need to have the mash available; that's why it is usually done during the harvest. However, if someone wants to try and make it at a different time of the year, the procedure will be very different, thus requiring a homemade mash.
In this case, you will need to have grapes, in my opinion, the black one for sauces is the most suitable, but you can use whatever you want. You will have to clean it and pass it either with the vegetable press (in this way, it is closer to the idea of mash) or, if you prefer, with a fruit juicer.
As for me, I have always made it by eye because it was taught to me by my grandmother; I would adjust it according to the amount of mash and depending on how sweet it might be; hence, I would add a little sugar if necessary.
I'll give you some hints, but you can adjust to your taste. OK?
Put the juice obtained in a saucepan and add a spoonful of flour to each ladle and, if you wish, half a spoon of sugar. Depending on the size of your ladles and the consistency and the flavor of the mash, taste and adjust it during cooking by adding more sugar if needed (I rarely use sugar).
As for the jam, the Sugoi (Sugoli) must not make lumps and must not stick to the bottom of the pot, which must be with high sides, more or less 20/30 minutes of cooking, but you will understand when the time comes to remove it by tasting it and ... be careful for it is hot!
When it is ready, you can pour it into small or large containers to put in the fridge or a cool place.
If you want them thicker, add more flour; if, on the other hand, you want them softer, use less flour.
Enjoy the tasting
MTDD: Thanks Maria Cristina both for briefly introducing your city and for this tasty recipe. See you next time.
MCB: Thanks to you, Maria Teresa. It is always a pleasure to talk to you. See you soon!