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Bladder campion risotto, a vegetarian recipe of Romagna

Risotto agli stridoli

Bladder campion in Italian are stridoli, or strigoli.

Nonna often used this wild herb. She used to make a typical vegetarian ragù of Romagna, or risotto, again frittata, and a soup in chicken broth with maltagliati. And also as a filling for tortelli. I like them also to make fresh salads. I mix bladder campions, spicy radishes, and crisp apples cut into thin slices.

Today I am sharing a recipe for risotto with campion. It is a typical recipe from Romagna. For my beloved husband of Bologna, this risotto tastes exotic. Of course, I replied, this is Romagna cuisine. Joking aside, he is right. The flavor of the bladder campion in the risotto has a spicy hint.

Bladder campion

The bladder campion

It is a perennial, spontaneous herb that can grow very tall. It has lance-shaped leaves with pointed ends and white flowers. And it is all edible.

It is found somewhat throughout Italy, but in Romagna, it is widespread.
It grows from the hills in the Apennine areas to the countryside close to the sea. Campion grows wild in meadows, at the edge of white roads, the old unpaved country hollows, and even in the pine woods.

I remember they grew abundantly in the fields of our countryside. So they were available whenever grandma wanted to cook them.

When I was a child, I used to leave for the beach with grandma in June. After a storm, we used to go to the pinewood to pick campion and pine nuts, which, thanks to the gale that shook the pine trees, fell to the ground along with the fragrant pine cones. And, of course, we picked those for the winter fireplace fire.

At home, she used to cook a sauce for pasta.
It is a typical and quick preparation that goes well with pasta and holiday time.

Campion bloom from spring to late summer. Even as late as October, depending on the season. So you have plenty of time to find them. Of course, you don’t have to go to the fields. You can buy them at the supermarket or a farmer’s market. And then make this recipe full of flavor.

It’s amazing how a full of taste risotto comes from a herb and some leek. It is a typical peasant recipe, and it is one of my favorites among risotto dishes.

When it was habit to pick and not buy campion, I remember the recommendation not to tear up the plant, which, being perennial, was left for the following year. Leaves and flowers, called bubbolini, were picked both. The leaves have an intense but sweet flavor that can remind one of peas or asparagus and do not lose their aroma even when cooked.

I haven’t gone out to harvest bladder campion for decades.

And I’m a little sorry I don’t have someone to pass on the knowledge of this herb. And the pleasure I used to feel when I was a child, picking that fragrant booty in the muffled silence of the pinewood, between light and shadow, almost stunned by the heady scent typical of woods after the storm. But then, who knows if I would still find the campion in the pine forests of Ravenna.

Buona cucina, Monica

Cook with me

Cooking with herbs is an ancient cuisine that many people are rediscovering. I am also among them. At the farmer’s market, l look for fresh, spontaneous, and aromatic herbs that remind me of flavors and memories. Grandma used to cook so many recipes with herbs. HERE I leave you the recipe for meatballs with wild herbs and ricotta cheese that you can make using arugula and spinach.

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Bladder campion risotto, a vegetarian recipe of Romagna

Bladder campion risotto, a recipe of Romagna

serves 4
List of the Ingredients

Carnaroli rise, 280g
bladder campion, 200gg
leek, 1/2
vegetable stock, 1 liter
olive oli and salt to taste


Clean and rinse the campion shoots, leaves, and the soft part of the stalk.

Cut the leek in half and slice thinly.

Chop campion and leek with a knife.

Toss herb and leek in a pan with olive oil and sauté gently for about ten minutes. Add rice, stir, and cook for two minutes, stirring. Pour in a few ladles of broth, stir, and then pour in almost half the broth.

Salt and cook gently for the cooking time indicated on the package of the rice you are using. Stir occasionally and pour the broth a little at a time.

When the risotto is al dente, add what is left of the broth, set aside a ladleful, turn off the heat, taste, and, if needed, adjust the salt.

Let it rest a couple of minutes before serving with grated Parmigiano aside.
To avoid covering the flavor of the campion, do not use too much cheese.

Romagna recipes

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