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Bagna caoda (which translates to hot bath) is a traditional cold-weather Piedmontese dish that is enjoyed in groups, like fondue. The sauce is made and kept warm at table as guests dip raw vegetables like cardoons, carrots and celery into it.
I prefer to present it in another way: atop roasted red, yellow and orange peppers. First, I roast the peppers either on the grill or in the oven and then clean them (remove the skins, seeds and white ribs; try not to do this under water as a lot of flavor goes down the drain).
Then, I make the sauce.
In the top pan of a bagno maria/double boiler, gently heat ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil and ½ cup of butter. Add three cloves of garlic (minced) and one can of salt or olive packed anchovies (finely chopped). Let it cook down slowly until the anchovies and the garlic melt into the sauce.
While the bagna caoda is cooking, slice the peppers lengthwise into thirds and lay them in an ovenproof dish.
Pour the bagna caoda over them and warm them up in the oven and serve. It shouldn't take more than about 10 minutes since the bagna caoda will already be warm. You just need time to bring the peppers back up to temperature.
Nearly everyone I've made this dish for has said they don't like anchovies, yet every one of them asked for the recipe afterward, so don't let the wee fishies scare you away. Their flavor here is not as strong as it is when you get anchovies on pizza, for example.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.