Review: Rossoblu May Make You Wish You Knew a Bolognese Grandmother

LATimes' Jonathan Gold reviews a classic Italian restaurant
Rossoblu
Ricardo DeAratanha / Los Angeles Times

Nonna’s tagliatelle al ragù Bolognese with  beef, pork and not too much tomato sauce.

Have you tasted the minestra nel sacco at Rossoblu, more or less a bowl of chicken soup with dumplings cooked in a cloth bag? It’s a pretty common dish in the area around Bologna, and you’ll find lots of recipes for it in Italian cooking magazines.

I have talked to people who make it with linen sacks sewn by their grandmothers. It is possible to construct a reasonable version by wrapping the dough of flour, Parmesan cheese and egg tightly in a clean napkin before boiling, a version sometimes known as royale Bolognese, but the woman who instructs you may have a slight edge of pity in her voice. She knows you come from a family who didn’t love you enough to leave you a proper sack.

I’ve never seen minestra nel sacco on a menu in Italy — it’s a simple home dish; everybody in Emilia-Romagna gets the much more complicated tortellini in brodo instead. And at Rossoblu, where the square little dumplings are released from the sack at table into the bowl of broth into which it is immersed, the dish is positively exotic: Bolognese grandmother cooking introduced into a city where few Bolognese grandmothers exist.

Cheaper than a trip to Italy, find out why you should visit this restaurant.

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