Many recipes we are sharing here are based on Nonna Lina’s recipe journals. But she also wrote a cookbook, called Le Mie Ricette – My Recipes, published by a Venetian friend in 1981. This book collected her favorite recipes, with lots of images and culinary tips. Her recipes include family recipes, traditional Venetian cuisine and historical food. Just like me, she’s always been interested in discovering historical foods, and adapting these recipes to modern taste.
For example, take the Venetian salse. One is called salsa agreste, a sweet sour sauce going back to Roman times. In Medieval cooking, this sauce was used a lot in Venice, and its fame spread well beyond the Lagoon. Salsa agreste was served with selvaggina and pork, and also, fish like sardines and baccalà. Until the 1980s, it was only Lina who prepared this sauce in Venice and served it to her guests at her own restaurants.
The book is also a little part of the family history, containing entry tickets to La Fenice, invites to degustations, and certificates Lina earned when participating at the Fiera del Gusto in Torino in the 1950s.
Of course, we are sharing the recipe here. It’s easy, healthy and delicious, part of the repertoire of sauces the Republic of Venice was also famous for.
The only recipe serving the sauce these days in Venice is Le Bistrot de Venise, by the way.
Le Mie Ricette also has fabulous and unusual recipes, often using Lagoon herbs, and those growing in Lina’s garden. There’s a wide selection of antipasti, primi, secondi and contorni, and salse. Strangely enough, the book misses the desserts chapter:-( The simple reason is that for Nonna Lina, dessert consists in fruit and cheese, and almost never, in sweets. Sweets and cakes are reserved for special occasion, or eaten in the afternoon, and never after a five-course meal. Of course, we can make up for that, as I can look up Lina’s desserts in her hand-written culinary journals.3