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sabato 9 ottobre 2010

the making of mostarda mantovana

variations of mostarda on display in a salumeria window in downtown mantova

In an earlier post on la cucina mantovana, there was some mention on the mustard from the town of Mantua in Lombardy.  This historic city was founded around 2000 B.C, and named after the Etruscan god Mantus.  From 1328 to 1707 the city was ruled by the Gonzagas family.  Mostarda Mantovana is made from local Mantuan apples (and or fruit), sugar, and ground mustard seed (senape). It is most popularly used in the filling for Tortelli Mantovani, which is a staple of La cucina Lombarda.  It is also delicious after dinner served with local cheeses.  The mostarda graces every single restaurant, trattoria and salumeria you shall enter in Mantova.  It dates back to 1662 when the historic cookbook by Bartolomeo Stefani, ''L'arte di ben cucinare'' was published.  Nowadays there is Toretelli di Zucca which can be made without the use of the mostarda, but authentic Tortelli Mantovana is always made with the essential agrodolce mostarda mantovana.

Here is how I prepared it this week...

1Kg of tart apples
500g sugar
Mustard essence/powder (measured depending on how spicy you like your mostarda)

There are a few simple steps to this recipe, and it takes about 4 days.
Cut the apples into thin slices and cover with the sugar, let sit 24 hours.

A syrup will form, bring the syrup without the apples to a boil for 5 minutes, then pour over apples and let sit 24 hours.
Repeat the step above, let sit 24 hours again.
on the third boil, bring the syrup with the apples to a boil
add the mustard essence or powder, and now you can jar it in sterilized containers.

serve in tortelli di zucca filling, with a nice ripe soft cheese, or boiled meats
buon appetito!

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