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Torta Millefoglie alla Crema Pasticcera

Embracing the Rich Cuisine of Bergamo in 3 Delicious Recipes

The cuisine of the Lombardy region uses ingredients such as corn, rice, beef, pork and butter in a great many of its dishes, while olive oil and tomatoes are often absent from recipes. Bergamo has its own typical products which can be difficult to find outside of the province. Casoncei is one of its specialties. It is a delicious ravioli stuffed with meat and dressed with butter, sage and pancetta. Salame Bergamasco is the typical cured meat of the area and is made from ground pork, cured only for a relatively short period of time. Other areas like Genoa, the salame is finely ground and cured longer. Taleggio is the favorite cheese of the province, produced from unpasteurized milk. It can rarely be found outside the province, since virtually all exported Taleggio is made with pasteurized milk. You should also be able to find some excellent wines. Moscato di Scanzo comes from the vineyards around Bergamo. It is a sweet dessert wine but it is difficult to come by since it is only produced in extremely small quantities and is unlike the very popular Noscato we have here in America. Try La Brugherata di Bendinelli or Valerio Rosso Doc Riserva with a dish of Casoncelli alla Bergamasca or Salmì of Rabbit and you will feel as though you have been magically transported to Bergamo.

Casoncelli alla Bergamasca

Eating in Bergamo means Casoncelli. Casoncelli alla Bergamasca are filled with a variety of stuffings. There might be a single type of meat or a mixture of ground beef, pork, veal, sausage or salami. To this, a combination of other ingredients are added, such as cheese, spinach, raisins, crushed amoretti cookies, pears or garlic. Casoncelli is a very rich dish, but the flavor is unforgettable.


  • 1 pound of fresh egg pasta dough

For the filling

  • 8 oz boneless pork ribs
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins
  • 2 amoretti cookies, crushed
  • ½ cup finely chopped pear
  • 1 cup grated Parmigiano cheese
  • 1 egg

For the sauce

  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 4 oz pancetta, cut into 1/4″ cubes
  • about 24 sage leaves
  • 1 garlic clove, sliced
  • Parmigiano cheese for serving


To make the filling

Cut the pork into small ½” cubes. Season the meat with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over a medium-high flame. Sauté the pork in the skillet until no pink remains – about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool. When the meat has cooled, transfer it to the bowl of a food processor. Add the raisins and pulse to finely chop. Add the rest of the filling ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Process the mixture until well combined. The texture of the filling should be slightly coarse, not completely smooth. Put the filling into a disposable pastry bag; clip the tip to make a ½” opening.  If you don’t have a pastry bag, you can use a spoon to distribute the filling.

To form the Casoncelli

Roll out the pasta dough into strips about 4” wide. Place tablespoons of filling at 2” intervals down the center of each dough strip. Brush the edges and between the filling with a little water (this will help to seal them).  Bring the bottom edge of the dough strip up to meet the top edge. Use your fingertips to seal the dough around each mound of filling. With a round fluted cutter, cut a half-moon shape around each mound of filling. To shape each Casoncelli, place the folded side of the filled pocket on a work surface. Lightly press down so that the folded side flattens and the pocket stands upright. With one finger, gently press down on the middle of the half-moon to indent the middle. Place the formed Casoncelli on a cornmeal or floured surface and continue forming the remainder.

To make the sauce

Put all of the sauce ingredients in a skillet over low heat. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, until the butter begins to brown. The pancetta should be crispy brown, the garlic golden and the sage leaves will also be crisp. Remove from heat and set aside.

To serve

Cook the Casoncelli in boiling salted water for 5-6 minutes or until tender. Place several Casoncelli into individual serving bowls. Spoon a few tablespoons of the sauce over each; sprinkle with some grated cheese and serve.

Salmì of Rabbit

Flavorful, pure and intense, this popular dish is favored in Bergamo to remind them of the rural character just to the north of the city.


  • 1 rabbit (cut in pieces)
  • 2 cups cup wine (red)
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 1 tbsp sage
  • 1 tbsp basil
  • 1 tbsp marjoram
  • 1 bay leaves
  • 6 juniper berries
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 large onion
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 carrot
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 stick of butter
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white flour
  • Pinch of salt


Cut the rabbit into pieces. Place the meat into an earthenware dish with one cup of red wine, the liver, thyme, sage, basil, marjoram, a bay leaf, a few juniper berries, cloves, one onion, some celery, some garlic and a little bit of salt. All the ingredients of the marinade should be finely chopped and the hare should marinate for about two days.

Remove the pieces of meat from the marinade and let the liquid of the marinade drip off. Then brown in a saucepan in melted butter. After 30 minutes, add the rest of the marinade. When the meat is cooked, remove it from the pan and pour the gravy through a sieve. Then put the meat and strained gravy back on the burner. Add some butter, kneaded through with a bit of flour and continue cooking for another 30 minutes.

Polenta e Osèi

Don’t be fooled by its name: Polenta e Oséi is a delicious cake! It is the most renowned sweet specialty of Bergamo’s cuisine. One of the specialties of Bergamo is Polenta e Uccelli, made with various game birds, such as pheasant, Guinea hens, squab and partridge, served over polenta. The dessert continues the theme by using a polenta sponge cake. However, in this dessert, the birds are made from marzipan covered in chocolate.


For the sponge cake

  • 14 oz sugar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 5 large eggs plus
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 11 oz flour
  • 4 ½ oz potato starch
  • ½ tsp yeast

For the chocolate and hazelnut butter cream filling

  • 18 oz butter
  • 8 oz white chocolate
  • 1 ½ oz rum
  • 1 ½ oz hazelnut paste

For the butter cream frosting

  • 7 oz egg whites
  • 1 ½ oz sugar
  • 1 ½ lb butter

For the baked sugar

  • 2 lbs sugar
  • 1 ½ tsp dextrose
  • 2 oz water

Other ingredients

  • Chocolate marzipan birds
  • Marzipan
  • Apricot jam


For the sponge cake

Mix the flour, potato starch and yeast. Whip sugar with honey, eggs and yolks and slowly add the flour mixture. When the ingredients are well-blended, pour into a greased 8” diameter semi-sphere mold. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 375°F.

For the chocolate and hazelnut butter cream

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Whip the butter with melted white chocolate and then add hazelnut paste and rum.

For the baked sugar

Moisten the sugar with the water, add the dextrose and bake until it reaches 250°F.

For the butter cream frosting

Beat the egg whites stiff, add the baked sugar and let cool down the mixture. Add to butter previously whipped.

Arrangement of polenta

Halve the sponge-cake semi-sphere and moisten with a bit of rum and stuff with the chocolate and hazelnut butter cream. Replace the half-sphere, spread the upper part with the butter cream and cover with a yellow marzipan pastry about 1/8” thick. For the final decoration, sprinkle the cake with crystals of the baked sugar. In the middle of polenta spread apricot jam and add the the chocolate marzipan birds (their little paws shall always be turned upwards), spread with the remaining apricot jam.