Although the province of Verona has many distinct culinary traditions, one thing is certain: Christmas lunch cannot be called such if Pearà, the traditional Veronese sauce, is not abundant on the table. Pearà is a dialect word that translates to “peppered,” meaning a cheap sauce made with broth, stale bread, and, of course, pepper.

Grana padano cheese, however, is an additional component that is frequently used in the recipe for Veronese sauce. There are several schools of thought in this area. Some argue that the Italian cheese cannot be used in the Pearà since it is a poor sauce and should only be made using leftovers. However, some others note that even the eastern spice pepper was not cheap when Pearà was created.

How should I pair the Pearà?

When paired with boiled meat, Pearà is at its tastiest, underscoring the importance of a quality broth in the making of the sauce. The tongue, capon, and chicken are some of the most popular meats; more recently, cotechino has emerged as a superb co-star in Veronese cuisine.

The Legend of Rosmunda

The story blends together history, fiction, and cuisine to create the legend of Alboin, King of the Lombards. According to folklore, after marrying Rosmunda, Alboin killed her father, Cunimondo, in battle. The woman, haunted by the tragedy, was determined to starve herself to death. As a result, the royal cook created a sauce that was both nourishing and delicious, allowing Rosmunda to regain her strength; that sauce was Pearà.

Recipe according to the Fiera del Bollito con la Pearà‘s cooks

  • Remove the marrow from the bone with the help of a knife.
  • Melt the marrow over low heat and pour it through a strainer to remove impurities.
  • Add the finely grated breadcrumbs to the hot marrow in the pot and mix well, stirring with a wooden spoon.
  • Prepare the broth with beef and half a capon. If the meat is placed in cold water and brought to a boil, a more flavorful broth will be obtained.
  • Add the broth to the marrow and breadcrumb mixture and cook slowly for at least two hours. Stir occasionally. Depending on the proportions of bread and broth, a more or less thick Pearà will result.
  • Add plenty of freshly ground pepper and, if desired, a couple of tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese.