Regional Italian Spotlight: Puglia
As consumers continue to clamor for authentic, regional foods from Italy, it pays to be in the know! This month, we travel to Southern Italy’s Puglia.
Puglia is located on the heel of the Italian boot. It’s a rich agricultural plain with over 500 miles of coastline, abundant in fish and seafood and great for growing wheat, olives, grapes, almonds and all types of fruits and vegetables, including the region’s famous Lampascioni onions. There’s a rich history of shepherding in Puglia, so you’ll find more lamb and goat than beef, and more sheep’s-milks cheeses as well. Fish and seafood, from oysters, cuttlefish and octopus to fish soups and stews, are a signature of the region.
You see these ingredients and flavors on display in restaurants invoking the cuisine of Puglia here in the US, at I Trulli in New York, or A16 in Oakland, CA. Take A16’s bucatini with sea urchin, lemon, garlic, chili, and almond; or I Trulli’s lamb rack with favas and chicories.
This dish features the signature pasta shape of Puglia, the “little ears” known as orecchiette. The simple, rustic cooking lets the few ingredients shine…pasta, charred cauliflower, toasted pine nuts and pecorino Romano cheese with a touch of fresh herbs.