Bagna Cauda,

hot creamy garlic dip for fresh vegetables
Course Appetizer
Servings 6


  • 1 cucumber peeled, seeded and cut into 2-by-1/2-inch strips
  • 2 carrots peeled and cut into 2-by-1/2-inch strips
  • 1 sweet red pepper seeded and cut into 2-by-1/2-inch strips
  • 1 green pepper seeded and cut into 2-by-1/2-inch strips
  • 4 celery stalks cut into 2-by-1/2-inch strips
  • 1 bunch scallions trimmed and cut about 5 to 6″ long
  • A small head of romaine broken into separate leaves
  • 12 cherry tomatoes
  • ¼ pound small whole, fresh mushrooms
  • Italian bread sticks
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 8 flat anchovy fillets drained, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
  • 1 canned white truffle finely chopped


  • Soak the vegetable strips in a bowl of ice cubes and water for an hour to crisp them. Pat dry with paper towels and arrange on a platter with the romaine leaves, tomatoes and mushrooms. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
  • Arrange the bread sticks on a separate plate and set aside.
  • In a heavy 1-quart enameled or stainless-steel saucepan, bring the cream to a boil and cook it, stirring frequently, for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it has thickened and has reduced to about 1 cup. This process may take much longer; especially if you are doubling or tripling the recipe for a large party.
  • Choose a 3- or 4-cup enameled or flameproof earthenware casserole that fits over a candle warmer, spirit lamp or electric hot tray. On the stove, melt the butter in the casserole over low heat; do not let it brown. Add the anchovies and garlic, then the reduced cream and truffle, and bring the sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly. Do not let it boil. Serve the Bagna Cauda at once, accompanied by the cold vegetables and the bread sticks.
  • To eat, pick up a vegetable or bread stick with your fingers and dip it into the hot sauce. If the butter and cream separate as the sauce stands, beat with a wire whisk. (If you are serving this for a crowd, which is a good time to serve it, just leave a whisk on the serving board next to the casserole; guests tend to take care of it.)
  • You may substitute / add almost any raw vegetable you like for Bagna Cauda: fennel sticks, cauliflower or broccoli flowerets, white turnip wedges, or radishes.


(adapted from Time-Life, Foods of the World, Cooking of Italy)
This recipe has been kitchen (and guest) tested many times.
Keyword Appetizers