Originally from Forlimpopoli, Pellegrino Artusi (1820 - 1911) is considered the father of Italian cuisine. Casa Artusi was inaugurated in his honour in 2007, as a centre that works to promote the “gastronomic culture of Italian home cooking.”
The Artusi cookbook
Artusi owes his fame to ‘La Scienza in Cucina e l’Arte di Mangiar Bene’ (Science in the Kitchen and the Art of Eating Well), a cookbook that marked a real turning point in today’s gastronomic culture and brings together 790 recipes of traditional, home-style Italian cooking. At the time of its publication, the Artusi cookbook enjoyed great success and to this day is the most read and circulated book on Italian cuisine, and has also been translated for international audiences.
Pellegrino was 71 when he wrote his recipe collection and published it at his own expense. Having spent the first part of his life growing business for his family’s grocer’s shop in Forlimpopoli, in 1865 he decided to dedicate himself entirely to his two passions: literature and gastronomy.
Armed with the knowledge and techniques he had acquired on his travels around Italy, which had been tried and tested in his kitchens by his cherished cooks Francesco Ruffilli and Marietta Sabatini, the idea of the home-style cookbook began to form in Pellegrino’s mind. He wanted it to be a practical cookbook that anyone could follow; “all they need to know is how to hold a ladle.”
He can certainly be credited with having gathered recipes from a variety of different Italian traditions from far-off places in a country which in those years was still forging its own national identity. In other words, Artusi helped to develop an authentic Italian style of cuisine.
Set in the heart of Forlimpopoli, Casa Artusi is located in the former convent of the Servi church. Here, visitors are invited to expand their knowledge, taste and learn, or simply to immerse themselves in the experience as they wander through the ultimate museum of Italian home-style cooking.
Your tour of Casa Artusi would ideally start in the library, the shrine to Artusi’s knowledge that holds around 45,000 volumes. Then there’s the Cookery School, which organises courses for different levels, for aspiring and professional chefs alike, where you can learn how to cook Artusi’s recipes. At the Associazione delle Mariette, you can try your hand at traditional recipes from Romagna cuisine, such as hand-made pasta and piadina flatbread also on the occasion of the annual Festa Artusiana.
It would be a real shame to visit Casa Artusi without sampling one of its traditional dishes. Places to eat at the venue include a restaurant, an osteria and wine bar (enoteca), whether you’re looking for a full meal or a quick bite to eat.
The restaurant specialises in traditional regional cuisine and serves an array of Artusi’s dishes with a modern twist. The restaurant’s philosophy is based on seasonal and high-quality raw ingredients, which is reflected in the PDO and PGI products it serves, as well as its involvement in the regional ‘Presidi Slow Food’ initiative. Their fresh pasta, strictly hand-rolled, is an absolute must-try.
The Osteria offers more informal fare, with a wide selection of local wine by the glass or bottle. Affiliated with the Enoteca Regionale Emilia-Romagna wine-makers association, Casa Artusi’s own Enoteca has a fantastic array of regional wines to try with finger food.