Sale Grosso, Bologna

Sale Grosso in Bologna is a Southern Italian styled restaurant in the heart of Bologna and it was one of my favorite places to eat in Bologna.

Cream di Fave with cooked chicory and breadcrumbs with olive oil. Could this be just a big bowl of hummus? Yes. So you better like hummus. I’d say a little less dense than a typical hummus, this creamy bowl of beans is about as filling as it gets. This dish is Puglian and came up on several Lecce menus. If you like hummus, with less garlic and some wilted greens on top, this is your dish.

Orecchiette with broccoli and shrimp. One of the pasta highlights of the trip. Very Puglian in design, not Bolognian. Shrimp was cooked exactly right, plump and fresh. Hints of chili pepper flakes dotted the sauce, not overpowering. No butter, just olive oil and garlic. Post Script: As I'm in Lecce, I’m sticking with my assessment in Bologna that this dish was one of the highlights of the trip. A wonderfully fresh pasta, when most people think to do orecchiette with red sauce or rapini.

Salad with smoked Buffalo Mozzarella and anchovy with paprika. I ordered pasta, but received a salad. While my Italian is horrible, I did order a spaghetti dish, not something I'm going to pronounce poorly. Maybe the waiter sensed I needed more fiber in my Italian diet. What was presented was a welcome surprise. The smell of smoke is what I first noticed coming from the cheese, a smoked mozzarella. Each piece of Mozzarella was topped with anchovies, a combination I've never had. Normally, that many anchovies would be unwelcome; however, when combined with the smoked Mozzarella, they tasted great and didn't repeat on me an hour later. Genius.

For dessert, fresh ricotta with a generous portion of mixed berry coulis. Albeit this is a simple dish, I loved it. Plus, it was pretty on the plate.

I’d say for a fast lunch by Italian standards, less than an hour, the meal was one of the tops of the trip; eating Puglian food in Bologna. Go figure.