The Venetian cuisine is based on delicate but very varied flavors, which find their roots in the history and geographic conformation of the region. The products that characterize the main dishes are the four elements consisting of rice, polenta, cod and beans.
Among the main dishes linked to rice, we recall the risi e bisi and the risi e figadini, two soups based respectively on tender peas and chicken meat; among the risottos, on the other hand, are those of fish, based on chicken such as rovinassi, or those that have beans and snails as their main ingredient.
While beans begin to spread at the same time as maize, it is interesting to tell how corn is grown. Polenta, which is one of the four cornerstones of Venetian cuisine, is prepared precisely starting from corn flour, a plant that arrived in the Serenissima Republic in the 1500s as a local imposition on farmers, despite the farmers being reluctant to produce it: even in other regions like Lombardy, the cultivation of corn was introduced only after the plague of the 1600s to stem the damage caused by famine.
The cod or stockfish has its origin from the northern seas and has an even later introduction: it is served on the Veneto tables all year round, as an aperitif, first course, second course, accompanied by sauces, creams or even polenta. The Vicenza-style salt cod is prepared in different variations using milk, potatoes and other vegetables: the part that does not change is cooking for at least two hours.
First of all we remember the cold cuts, cheeses and all the products derived from milk, but in particular, among the garden products, the excellent radicchio that is the basis of renowned recipes, such as risotto with radicchio from Treviso, radicchio baked and fried radicchio.
The only pasta really typical of this region, is represented by the bigoli, whose preparation is historically linked to the work of man, rather than of the housewife, for the physical strength that it requires in the original preparation at home. Bigoli are a kind of thick spaghetti made with the use of a hand-operated press, whose surface is particularly rough and suitable for holding sauces.
The fact that Venice was an important maritime Republic explains the spread of spices, widely used in the kitchen and in the past also an instrument for storing food: pepper and cinnamon, but also cloves and raisins, are an integral part of many dishes, in all the provinces of the region.
A dish that well represents this balance are the sardines in saor, where the fish is fried and then seasoned with vinegar, pine nuts, raisins and toasted onions. This preparation is applicable not only with sardines.
Another historical dish is the goose in onto, where the meat is preserved in oil, together with garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper, cooked slowly at first so as to let out most of the fat; once cooked, the meat is deprived of the skin and must be cut into small pieces, and can be kept in glass jars filled with layers of grease, even for months.
Among the desserts most linked to tradition, besides the sandy cake, we should certainly mention the Venetian zaletti, whose name recalls the yellow color of the flour used for their preparation or the shape of the rooster that is often made with pasta: the recipe original is very simple, and is based on warm water, flour, baking powder and icing, with the optional butter ingredient.
Another very popular dessert is the Golosessi kebabs: in a wooden stick, dried figs, walnuts, apricots, previously dipped in caramelized sugar, are impaled one after the other. The origin of this particular dessert is not confirmed, but in China there is the habit of consuming a very similar dessert.
Some typical recipes of Venetian cuisine are the following:
Baccalà alla vicentina ;Bigoli di Bassano; Frittelle.;Tiramisù ;Sarde in saor; Risi e bisi; Focaccia veneta; Gnocchi con la fioreta; Polenta e sopressa; Pinza.