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Bagna cauda recipe

Bagna cauda recipe

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  • Recipes
  • Dish type
  • Side dish
  • Sauce
  • Seafood sauce

This exciting Italian dipping sauce is meant to be served warm with crudités, crusty ciabatta, or whatever inspires you. The creamy blend of garlic and anchovies will become a favourite!

61 people made this

IngredientsServes: 12

  • 100g (4 oz) butter
  • 10 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 (50g) tins anchovy fillets, drained
  • 450ml (16 fl oz) double cream

MethodPrep:5min ›Cook:20min ›Ready in:25min

  1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Sauté garlic until tender. Reduce heat to low. Mix in anchovy fillets and double cream. Cook and stir until thickened. Remove from heat, cover and chill in the refrigerator approximately 2 hours.
  2. Return the mixture to medium heat, stirring occasionally, until bubbly. Serve hot.


Allow for two hours chilling time for the flavours to meld, then reheat thoroughly before serving.

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Reviews & ratingsAverage global rating:(34)

Reviews in English (31)

I did this as a starter for the family and couldn't keep them away from it. Delicious with crusty bread.-26 Dec 2009

Just made it and it is absolutely, gorgeously delicious! SO good I don't know if there'll be any left to take to the dinner party I'm doing the starter for this evening! Very very rich, but you only have a little, so-o-o... I reckon that's OK! Many thanks Julie!-02 May 2009

Bagna Cauda is a traditional "single course" recipe from piemonte and one of the most controversial dish in the whole italian cuisine. You can't find bagna cauda outside piemonte and even in this region there are just few restaurants who dare to serve it. The problem is simple: it's damn long to make it right. It requires to cook until all the garlic has melted in the anchovy. Yes i wrote melted, that is to say that it takes 3-4 hours of very slow cooking to make it perfect. Moreover this is a sauce that, strangely, is not associated with pasta or meat: you use it with vegetables. Mainly Peppers (the tipical big, sweet pepper from italy, not the hot peppers), cardoons, beetroots, cabbage and Jerusalem artichokes tubers. But the most controversial point is the side effect of this garlic-based sauce: your breath. Most of the restaurants, even in piemonte, think that it is not recommendable to serve a dish that makes the breath of the tablemates stinking like a rotten zombie... Then there are several variation (adding milk or cream) to make this sauce a little less lethal, but they don't work effectively.-03 Sep 2014

This dish with a long history that, although it may seem from the ingredients poor and everyday, is actually a dish for special occasions, of conviviality. It is the dish of fraternity and joy that, according to tradition, is prepared for celebratory moments like the end of the harvest. Bagna cauda is a collective dish that serves to bring people together to celebrate the history and the land of Piedmont.

Bagna cauda

"Bagna cauda is a Piedmontese dish and a favourite of mine. I was first introduced to the idea of this dish by my friend and restaurateur Andre Ursini, but this recipe is Antonio Carluccio’s. If you’re not a fan of this salty little fish, now’s the time to try it, because there are few other dishes that give it such an elaborate dressing-up and there’s no better way to eat raw seasonal vegetables. Even my lovely Jono likes this when usually he wouldn’t touch an anchovy with a ten-foot pole." Poh Ling Yeow, Poh & Co.



Skill level


  • 1 yellow capsicum
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 1 fennel bulb, fronds reserved for garnish
  • 12 cauliflower florets
  • 4 sticks celery
  • 8 radishes
  • 3 carrots

Bagna cauda

  • 16 cloves garlic, peeled
  • milk
  • 30 small anchovy fillets
  • 300 g good quality unsalted butter
  • 200 ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 100 ml cream (double cream if you want to be naughty)
  • fresh or toasted slices of ciabatta (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


To prepare the crudités, cut all the vegetables into irregular shapes which you imagine will be useful for scooping. For root vegetables I like to roll and slice on a steep diagonal and for veggies with a flattish surface like capsicum cut into elongated triangles. For cauliflower, slice the florets not too thinly, so you have flat trees. The fennel will oxidise quickly so cut at the last minute and use a sharp knife. If you are hell-bent on being prepared to the max, slice ahead of time and toss the fennel in some lemon juice, but this will only buy you more time, it won’t stop it from going brown altogether.

To make the bagna cauda, place the garlic in a small saucepan and cover with just enough milk. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the garlic is completely soft. Remove from the heat and crush the garlic into the milk with a fork. Add the anchovies and return to a low heat, stirring until they are dissolved, then blitz with a blender or stick blender until smooth. Add the butter and olive oil and stir until combined, then stir in the cream.

To serve, portion the bagna cauda into individual pots or in a single larger fondue dish at the centre of the table with a candle underneath to keep it warm. The vegetables can also be portioned out or scattered beautifully onto a communal platter. Then it’s simply a matter of dipping and mopping the remainder up with the bread, but between you and me, I’d happily drench a steak with the leftovers.

• If you can find and afford heirloom or baby vegetables, these will add interest and an ornamental touch to the dish. Also, the vegetables I’ve chosen are just a guide. By all means do your own thing as long as seasonality is king.

Photograph by Randy Larcombe Photography.

Reproduced with permission from the book Same Same But Different by Poh Ling Yeow, published by ABC Books/HarperCollins Publishers Australia, 2014.

The sauce ingredients

OK. Now, let’s talk about the sauce. For the purest and possibly most traditional version they are as follows:

  • Garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil (some use a touch of walnut oil, see below)
  • Salt-packed anchovies

Let’s break each ingredient down:

  • Garlic – I use a whole, large head of garlic per person. Some use less. It needs to be firm and the best quality you can find. No stinky, sprouting, old garlic here. Also, no pre-peeled garlic. It is often smelly, off-tasting, and devoid of its essential oils. I’m not going to lie, dealing with the garlic is the most labor-intensive part of the dish. It’s not difficult but time-consuming. You need to peel each clove, then cut out the germ, which is bitter, then thinly slice the garlic. You may need help with this. Make the communal aspect of this dish apply to the kitchen as well! A silicone garlic peeler helps a lot with this task.
  • Extra virgin olive oil – the liquid in your sauce should be good quality extra virgin olive oil. In the past, Piedmont actual had olive trees and local oil, but that was a long time ago. Currently, they use oil from neighboring Liguria. Ligurian oil is very delicate and is a bit of a splurge. Do what you can. Some people insist that since Piedmont has no olive oil that one should use walnut oil and that it is more “authentic” this way. You could use a mix. I will give the quantities that I use below.
  • Salt-packed anchovies – you’re probably getting the idea that with a 3 ingredient sauce that the quality needs to be high for each one. There’s no hiding bad quality ingredients with a recipe like this. I adore anchovies in oil but, for this preparation, you should to try and track down salt-packed anchovies. They are meatier, plumper and if you clean them well, actually taste less salty. The most coveted anchovies are from Cantabria, Spain. In Italian, you will see them called Acciughe Rosse di Spagna. They are spectacular but hard to find in the US salt-packed. Barring those, try to find Ligurian or Sicilian salt-packed anchovies. If you live near Meditteranean populations like Italians or Greeks, for example, you can find them at deli counters and you can ask the vendor to sell you only as much as you need without having to buy a can of them. You can find canned Sicilian ones online.

Sauce additions

For recipe purists, the only other addition to this version of the sauce that seemed “legal” to people was a touch of butter, added at the end. Last year, when I made it, I added it, and it was lovely. Last week, Vanessa was visiting again and I made Bagna Cauda with the addition of some walnut oil. After tasting it at the end of cooking, I thought that it was rich enough due to the walnut oil and skipped the butter. Both variations were excellent. Ah, so dreamy…

Variations of Bagna Cauda

Considering how long I’ve already blabbed, I’m only going to briefly talk about other Bagna Cauda recipes.

It’s not uncommon to see some Piedmontese cooks add cream at the end of cooking. Purists think this influence from France is less than desirable, but it’s done in certain areas. The version that I tried in Turin had a touch and the sauce was pureed at the end. It was delicious. Some people think that it makes the sauce less potent, others think it helps with digestion, others think it worsens it… I’ve read many arguments about this! Other people soak and/or cook the garlic in milk or water first, then add the softened garlic to the oil. As I said, the version below is the most authentic Bagna Cauda recipe that I could find and the traditionalists seem happy with this preparation!

Other additions include adding chopped walnuts or hazelnuts at the end. I think that’d be delicious.


  • 2 pounds hanger steak, trimmed of excess fat and silverskin and cut into 4 even portions (see note)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (about 6 medium cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped anchovy fillets (about 8 fillets)
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lemon
  • Chopped flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

The origins of the Piedmontese bagna cauda

Although it is usually considered a generically Piedmontese dish, bagna càuda more specifically originates from the territory of Asti, the Langhe, Monferrato, Roero, the Provinces of Cuneo, Alessandria, and the territory that extends south of the city of Turin. Many towns in the region contend for the authorship of this true symbol of its gastronomy.

In reality, however, it seems that the origins of bagna càuda can be found in France, on the coast of Provence, with the name of anchoiade.

The territory of Asti, the Langhe, Monferrato, Roero, the Provinces of Cuneo, Alessandria, and the territory that extends south of the city of Turin all contend for the authorship of this true symbol of Piedmontese gastronomy. In reality, however, it seems that the origins of bagna càuda can be found in France, on the coast of Provence, with the name of anchoiade.

In the Middle Ages the merchants of Asti, during the journeys they made to stock up on salt and anchovies, encountered this extraordinary product and brought it home and introduced it along the routes of their trade that touched the whole territory of what is now southern and northwestern Piedmont. The passage to Italian land naturally involved an adaptation of the Provençal recipe, which was modified, for example, with the use of vegetables.

How to Make It

Cut steak and chicken across the grain into strips about 1/4 inch thick and about 3 inches long. Arrange meat on a platter.

Place vegetables and bread in baskets or dishes.

In a 1- to 1 1/2-quart pan or metal fondue pot over medium heat, melt butter. Add oil, garlic, and anchovies stir until mixture bubbles. Set pan over a candle or a medium-low alcohol or cannedheat flame. Watch mixture and stir often so garlic doesn't burn adjust heat as needed.

Use forks or long skewers to spear chicken, beef, shrimp, or vegetables, and swirl through butter mixture to coat leave in longer to heat slightly, if desired. Transfer food to individual plates or a slice of baguette to eat. Stir butter mixture occasionally with food on fork.

Bagna Cauda

Blend oil, butter, anchovies and garlic in processor until smooth. Transfer oil mixture to heavy medium saucepan. Cook over low heat 15 minutes, stirring, occasionally. (Sauce will separate.) Season with salt and pepper.

Step 2

Pour sauce into fondue pot or other flameproof casserole. Set pot over alcohol burner or gas table burner to keep warm. Serve with vegetables and bread.

How would you rate Bagna Cauda ?

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Grilled squash with bagna càuda

Bagna càuda is a warm dip popular in Piedmont, Italy, that's made with butter, garlic and anchovies. It's traditionally served like a fondue, placed in a bowl in the centre of the table for communal sharing, and the assembled diners dip in this or that crudité at will. But I find it also works well as a sauce, spooned on top of cooked vegetables. This version has cream in it, which isn't terribly traditional, but it makes the sauce more homogenous and silky. Try to get your hands on a queen or coquina squash for this dish, if you can, because it isn't quite as sweet as butternut (the latter would work fine as a substitute, though). Serves four.

1.2kg squash (queen or coquina, for preference), cut in half lengthways, deseeded and peeled, then cut widthways into 1cm slices
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
50g unsalted butter
5 garlic cloves, crushed
6 anchovy fillets, finely chopped
200ml double cream
2 tbsp finely grated parmesan
1 tbsp chopped parsley

Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas mark 6. In a bowl, mix the slices of squash with the oil, a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of black pepper. Put a chargrill pan on a high heat and, after a couple of minutes, once it's good and hot, add the squash in batches and cook for two minutes, turning once, until char marks appear on both sides. Transfer to a baking tray and repeat with the remaining squash. Once all the squash is charred and on the tray, roast for 15 minutes, until cooked through but still with some bite.

To make the bagna càuda, put the butter and garlic in a medium pan on a medium heat. Fry until the garlic starts to turn golden: about two minutes. Add the anchovy, cook for a minute, turn the heat to medium-low, add the cream and cook for five minutes, so the sauce thickens a little, then remove from the heat. Spread out the squash on a large plate, spoon the bagna càuda on top and sprinkle with the parmesan, some black pepper and parsley. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Summary

  • 2 pounds asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 2 bunches broccoli rabe (about 3 pounds), trimmed
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • One 3-ounce can flat anchovy fillets, drained and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic (about 8 cloves)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 3 fennel bulbs, cut into thin wedges
  • 1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes

Fill 2 large bowls with ice water. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until it is crisp-tender, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the asparagus to a bowl of ice water to cool drain well and pat dry.

Return the water in the pot to a boil. Add the broccoli rabe and cook until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes drain. Immediately plunge the broccoli rabe into the other bowl of ice water to cool. Drain well and pat dry.

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter in the olive oil over moderately low heat. Add the anchovies and garlic and cook until the garlic is fragrant and opaque, 2 to 3 minutes season with salt and pepper. Pour the bagna cauda into a heatproof dish or a fondue pot. Arrange the vegetables on a platter and serve with the warm bagna cauda.

Watch the video: Bagna Cauda Recipe. was Kitchen