La Vera Cucina

Bagna Cauda

La Vera Cucina usually features family recipes shared by our restaurateur readers. But this time, I thought you might enjoy one of our family holiday food traditions.

For generations, our family has gathered together in late autumn or early winter to enjoy Bagna Cauda (bon-ya cod-ah). Literally “hot dip” in Piemontese dialect, Bagna Cauda is a steaming mixture of oil, butter, garlic, and anchovies served with assorted finger food sized fresh vegetables for dipping and eating with crusty Italian bread.

In the Old Country, farming families like ours got together with friends and neighbors to celebrate the end of the harvest season by singing songs, dancing, telling stories, and, of course, enjoying lots of really good food, including Bagna Cauda. By the way, if you really LOVE garlic, I recommend trying Bagna Cauda Costamagna Style (see below).

– Tom Cortopassi



  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, slivered
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 can anchovy fillets (2 ounces)
  • Assorted fresh vegetables for dipping
  • Crusty Italian bread for eating



Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy bottomed pan over medium heat. Add garlic; cook until golden. Add remaining oil and butter. Add anchovies; stir over low heat until everything blends together (about 15 to 20 minutes). Serve hot with assorted finger food sized vegetables for dipping and crusty Italian bread for eating. Favorites include radicchio, red cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, curly cabbage, mushrooms, and small parboiled red potatoes.


Bagna Cauda Costamagna Style

Increase garlic to ½ cup slivered garlic cloves; increase anchovies to 3 ounces. Stir in 2 tablespoons whipping cream shortly before serving.