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My green beans and mortadella Bologna rifreddo recipe

Green bean and mortadella Bologna rifreddo recipe

Rifreddi are a great classic of Bolognese cuisine.

There are many recipes, and each family has its own. But all are one of the happiest expressions of home cooking. Simple and rich, of substance without lacking a certain smug elegance. The Bolognese table is welcoming in its flavors and appealing to the eye.

green bean and mortadella Bologna rifreddo recipe

My countryside

While I was cleaning green beans, I thought. No doubt, late spring is one of my favorite garden seasons.

When I think of the Emilia-Romagna countryside that I know, the one on the border between Emilia and Romagna where I was born and raised, I imagine fields of green and then yellow wheat that follow the wind. It makes me think of the waves of the Adriatic Sea.

I think of orchards of peaches and apricots; I think of the green of the leaves and the yellow and orange of the sweet-smelling fruits. The endless hum of industrious bees is music to my ears. How many seasons I have picked fruit in my cousins’ farmland, between laughs and eating freshly picked fruits.

I think of the dark green leaves and the bright red of lone cherry trees. I think of the silver-green poplars that follow the white roads. To the delicate green of the bladder campion along the ditches.
I think of the dark green of the rows of vines and cypresses that, like the poplars, were part of the plant geography of my countryside. Now a little less so. I think of the pine and olive trees in the hills.

When i think of my countryside, I see also the vegetable garden.

The spring garden is a triumph in the richness of flavor and has nothing to envy for summer. The spring garden continues the declination of green in all its shades.

There are the pale, potbellied zucchini of the Bolognese variety (from them derives the name of a famous Bologna dish, zucchini a la Bolognese). There is the bright green of fava beans and peas, the speckled green of asparagus, and the dark, intense green of green beans.

I see the shades of blond lettuces ranging from light green to almost white. And then there is the green of the leaves concealing the shy blush of ripe strawberries. Overall, I smell the scent of the almost shimmering green of basil, the first of the season.

Green bean and mortadella Bologna rifreddo recipe

Green beans and mortadella Bologna rifreddo recipe

This recipe comes from a collaboration with Agribologna, an Italian and local consortium of farmers.

When I chose green beans to develop the first recipe, I thought of the creative cuisine that nourished me in the first two decades of my life. In a journey of memory, I embraced all the crisp beauty of late spring.

I like green beans. And I regret that they are cooked and served in a way I find, at least, so monotonous. Don’t get me wrong, I love them boiled and in salads, often accompanied by equally simple boiled potatoes. But I was raised by a woman who lived out of patterns in life and in the kitchen.

I thought that the long, thin shape of the green bean is suitable for creating a rifreddo, a typical dish of Bolognese gastronomic tradition. Usually, rifreddo recipes call for meat like veal, capon, or chicken (stuffed capon and chicken are called galantina. They are served thinly sliced).

In this rifreddo recipe, I have combined green beans and pink mortadella.
The two main ingredients are held together by eggs, mind you choose ones from a farmer. And flavored by fresh, fragrant grated Parmesan cheese.

Don’t you also think this dish is an invitation to sit at the table with a smile?

Cook Bolognese cuisine and life will smile at you,

Cook with me

If you are looking for a side dish to accompany green beans rifreddo, besides a simple and always good salad, I suggest two recipes. The first is tomatoes au gratin, a typical recipe of Romagna, good warm and cold (HERE). The second recipe is quick and easy to prepare. It is a mashed peas and basil purée where I add a few drops of lime, more delicate than lemon. Have you ever tasted it? HERE you can find the recipe.

Among the herbs I brought back to my table were bladder campion, which I used to make a great risotto (HERE), and herb and ricotta cheese balls (HERE).

One of the recipes I prepare most often in the spring and summer is stuffed zucchini bolognese (HERE is my family recipe).


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Green bean and mortadella Bologna rifreddo recipe

Green beans and mortadella Bologna rifreddo recipe

serves 4
Rectangular mold, length 23cmx9cm
List of the Ingredients

green beans, 300g
mortadella, 200g
eggs, 6
grated Parmigiano, 100g


Remove the ends of the green beans and wash them under running water.

Boil the green beans in boiling salted water for 20 minutes. Drain and keep aside.

Line a rectangular pound cake pan with baking paper.

Line the bottom and sides of the mold with mortadella slices. They have to come out of the mold’s borders.

In a bowl, beat two eggs without salt, and pour over the Bologna.

Add a layer of green beans.

Sprinkle with plenty of Parmesan cheese.

Cover with a slice of Bologna folded in half; apply light pressure with your fingers so that the beaten eggs wrap around the green beans well.

Proceed with the second layer

Add a layer of green beans to the mortadella, beat two eggs, pour over the green beans, sprinkle with plenty of Parmesan, cover with a slice of mortadella, and press down with your fingers.

Make a third and final layer the same as the previous ones.

Finally, finish by closing the rifreddo with the mortadella coming out of the mold.

If needed, add a slice of mortadella to close tightly. When you turn it upside down, it becomes the base of the rifreddo.

Fold the baking paper over the rifreddo and seal with aluminum foil.

Put the mold in a baking dish and add water till to the edge.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C degrees for 1 hour and 30 minutes.

You can cook rifreddo on the heat, for two hours, still in a bain-marie. Make sure to add hot water during the cooking. The mold has to be submerged in water to the edge.

Remove the aluminum foil and let cool in the mold before inverting and cutting into 1cm-thick slices.

Serve the rifreddo with a side dish.

Taste it warm or at room temperature, even cold of the refrigerator.
In the second case, with mayonnaise sauce on the side.

Bologna recipes

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