Ode to Giardiniera

For some reason I don’t understand, people outside of Chicago don’t know what Giardiniera (Jar-din-eh-ra) is.

That is why I am writing this post.

Giardiniera is perhaps the best condiment ever. It’s a mix of jalapeños, serranos, carrots, celery, cauliflower (and sometimes onions etc.) pickled in oil and vinegar. It ranges from mildly spicy to inedibly hot. (Seriously. This one brand had everyone in Golosá crying for about an hour. Nearly ruined our taste buds.)

Chicago is known for it’s Giardiniera because Chicago is known for it’s Italian beef. If you want the history of Italian beef in Chicago, click here: Italian Beef History. Giardiniera is pretty much an essential topping on Italian beef (shredded, stewed beef on a white “dipped” roll…)

But, Giardiniera is so much bigger than Italian Beef. Golosá has a tradition. Every first Wednesday of the month, we go to someone’s house in Hyde Park and have a pasta night. There is only one kind of pasta served at pasta night: tri-colored rotini. There is only one correct way of eating that pasta and it is: Pasta, topped with cheese, topped with pine nuts, topped with Giardiniera. We also have roasted veggies and gin and tonics.

I always liked Giardiniera (here they serve it everywhere-even at Subway) but it was these pasta nights that really turned me into an aficionado.

I put Giardiniera on pasta, pizza, sandwiches, or anything else Italian. It goes well with briskets, stews and meat in general. I always have it in my fridge, and I’ll probably put it on the pizza I’m going to make tonight (picture later…maybe).

You can make it yourself, but I haven’t tried yet. I don’t have pickling jars, though they should be easy enough to get.

Since you don’t live in Chicago, you might have to order it online, but it’s well worth it.

And don’t be chicken. Get the hot stuff. Marconi and Dell’Alpe are acceptable brands.

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