Alba is blessed with a bounty of fresh ingredients to create the regional food. Here’s a list of the local dishes to sample when visiting the city.
Insalata di carne cruda is a minced raw beef or veal appetizer prepared with a marinade of lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. When truffles are in season, they are used to garnish this, otherwise it is served with salad greens. Other cold salads are made with wild mushrooms, beans, greens, asparagus or sweet and sour onions.
Vitello tonnato, or veal with tuna sauce, is prepared by simmering veal in vegetable broth before thinly slicing it and serving it cold with a capers and tuna flavored mayonnaise.
In Piemonte’s cooking, the preferred pasta is a narrow handmade noodle called tajarin. They are often simmered in beef broth and topped with butter, grated Grana Padano cheese and shaved truffles.
Agnolotti Piemontesi are similar to ravioli and are a square shape. These meat and herb filled dumplings are generally served with fresh sage fried in butter and topped with Parmigiano Reggiano. If they are smaller and rectangular in shape then they are called Agnolotti al Plin, or Plin. Plin literally means a pinch as you pinch the filling between forefinger and thumb to close the pasta.
Piedmont is known for their cattle. Beef is often featured in the local cuisine. Brasato is beef marinated in red wine and then braised with herbs and vegetables until tender. Different types of red wine can be used but the most popular choice in Alba is Barolo and the dish is called Brasato al Barolo. Barbaresco and Barbera wines also work well in this dish which is then named Brasato al Barbaresco, and Brasato al Barbera. Historically brasato used the lesser cuts of meat which were thrown into a pot, doused with a large portion of red wine and allowed to cook over hots coals (called brace) for a long period of time until the meat became tender. When this meat is finished cooking it falls apart when you try to cut it with a fork and the red wine sauce is scrumptious.
Coniglio means rabbit in Italian. Rabbit can be cooked so many ways. It can be grilled, stewed, or put into pasta dishes.
Lamb (Agnello) is popular in the cuisine of Alba. It is often grilled, stewed, or served in pasta.
The restaurants in Alba do a fantastic job of showcasing the local cuisine. Be sure to order a bottle of wine from Piedmont to compliment your meal. Buon Appetito!