trolvag, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The regional cuisine: welcome to Molise

Molise is a small Italian region that offers a rich cuisine, full of authentic flavors and a large variety of products

Molise is a mainly hilly region, which offers villages landing place on the mountains and seductive medieval castles, for this reason its territory it’s characterized by a timeless beauty. It is mostly famous for the production of local oil and wine, among this, the most important and famous wine are the Biferno and Tintilia.  Many of the dishes that will be presented in this article are linked to a centuries-old culinary tradition whose origin is also closely bound to traditional peasant cuisine and to various religious festivities.


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Un post condiviso da I G ▶ M O L I S E (@igmolise)

A gastronomic tour to discover hidden gems

Let’s start this tour with a masterpiece of the Molise‘s cuisine: Cavatelli, that are gnocchi with an extended and concave shape. It is said that they were created under the reign of Federico II who adored this dish to madness. They are so deeply rooted in the Molise gastronomic tradition that  are considered the main dish of numerous festivals which, between July and August, animate the summers of the characteristic villages of Campobasso‘s province, from Cercemaggiore to Petrella Tifernina, from Civitacampomarano to Pietracatella. They are usually eaten with tomato sauce and ragù sauce made with pork ribs and sausage, but they can also be tasted with a seasoning of spiegatelli (broccoli). Another typical firs dish are creoli, a kind of pasta that has a vague resemblance to Abruzzo’s spaghetti alla chitarra. Don’t forget to try ravioli, Zengarielle (thick spelt spaghetti) and cornflour pizza, to have a full overview about first courses in Molise.

Fusilli: a work of art

This region offers a wide and varied range of fresh pasta, among these the best known are the fusilli. Indeed not everyone knows that fusilli were invented in Molise, and represent a typical specialty of the region. In Molise is possible to find a particular version that is prepared with eggs. In any case, there are not a few that can be tasted , the differences are generally based on the length and the way in which they are curled.


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Un post condiviso da Mariagrazia (@talia_food)

A variety of second courses

One of the most appreciated cured meats in Molise is the liver’s sausage, from Rionero Sannitico. It is prepared with liver, heart and lungs of the pig, salt, pepper, garlic, orange peel, bay leaf and sometimes even chilli are added. Once the sausages have been put into the pork intestine, carefully washed with water, vinegar and salt, they are hung on a rod and left to dry near a fireplace for 4 or 5 days. On the palate they are soft, compact, with an aromatic flavor, characterized by the bitter note of the liver on the finish. Beside this, you’ll have to try meat dishes such trippa, Gnummareddi (a kind of sheep meat rolls) and various lamb and sheep stews, Sciuscille (meatballs), Panmpanella (pork fillet spiced with garlic and chilli pepper) or fish recipes like baccalà (cod) with cabbage or potatoes and Scapece (marinated and fried anchovies fillets).

An interesting side dish: affunniatella

Affunniatella is a typical recipe from Molise. This recipe is rich in vegetables and above all very tasty: based on peppers, tomatoes, onion and scrambled eggs (or even whole eggs). Instead of peppers, one could use friarielli (or friggitelli) or green peppers. Quick and nutritious side dish, it can also represent by itself a second course.

The sweet side of Molise: pigna molisana

The pigna molisana it’s one of the most common sweet you can find in Molise during Easter. With a slightly sweet flavor, delicate and tasty at the same time, the pigna molisana is characterized by a mixture of boiled potatoes, soft and fragrant…but its main peculiarity is  the preparation that takes place with natural yeast.


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Un post condiviso da Michela Vitantonio (@mani_di_pasta_frolla)

Molisan Mostaccioli: soft heart cookies

This kind of cookies are usally prepared during important festivities such Christmas. The name Mostaccioli is linked to the use in ancient recipes of “mostacea” – the Latin name of the must – to make them sweeter. Rhomboid-shaped, covered with chocolate and filled with a soft paste with a taste of honey  and candied fruit. These are definitely the cookies that will tickle your curiosity to visit Molise!


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Un post condiviso da Enrica Panariello (@chiarapassion)

Cover photo by trolvag, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons.