As the year draws to an end, we thought it would be a good idea to ask the people we awarded in the latest edition of the Guida di Identità Golose to give us a recipe based on dry pasta which, for all sorts of reasons, usually having to do with childhood memories, would be connected with the holidays.

The joy for the delicious pasta enjoyed in the past is counterposed by the lack of interest younger generations are showing in dry pasta these days. In the following article in this newsletter, Riccardo Felicetti launches a cry of alarm. The so-called millennials seem to prefer other flavours, other ingredients.

Truth is, I’ve always thought pasta was very contemporary. Once you forget about large portions with at least 200 grams per person and heavy sauces, pasta can be current, brilliant, light, full of aromas and echoes of different influences. But young people travel at a very different speed and have a different approach and way of seeing things. The future is always interesting.

Paolo Marchi
content by Gabriele Zanatta. Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

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Monograno Felicetti 
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Newsletter 71 del 02 january 2019

Dear {{NOME}},

As the year draws to an end, we thought it would be a good idea to ask the people we awarded in the latest edition of the Guida di Identità Golose to give us a recipe based on dry pasta which, for all sorts of reasons, usually having to do with childhood memories, would be connected with the holidays.

The joy for the delicious pasta enjoyed in the past is counterposed by the lack of interest younger generations are showing in dry pasta these days. In the following article in this newsletter, Riccardo Felicetti launches a cry of alarm. The so-called millennials seem to prefer other flavours, other ingredients.

Truth is, I’ve always thought pasta was very contemporary. Once you forget about large portions with at least 200 grams per person and heavy sauces, pasta can be current, brilliant, light, full of aromas and echoes of different influences. But young people travel at a very different speed and have a different approach and way of seeing things. The future is always interesting.

Paolo Marchi
content by Gabriele Zanatta. Translated into English by Slawka G. Scarso

Felicetti, why 2018 was a sweet and sour year

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End of the year, time for an analysis. My assessment of 2018 is sweet and sour. The pros include all the new projects that increase the quality and accessibility of spaghetti (in the photo, Spaghetto Milano in the lunch menu at Identità Golose Milano) and of endless types of pasta: dry pasta has never tasted this good, with infinite interpretations and Italy still unquestionably holding a central role.

The “sour” side has to do with a lack of interest we’re noticing in younger generations. Millennials have a very different lifestyle from our own: at twenty, we cooked more, and not just pasta. For us, a boiling pot of water was a pretext to socialise before sitting around the table. Now young people, exposed to the media bombing of fake news that discredit our beloved food, cook less and eat less pasta. There’s a preoccupying disaffection. This should be our prompt for 2019: we must work harder to communicate the cultural and gastronomic values behind the work of a pasta producer.
Riccardo Felicetti

Gorini and the spaghettone-fulfilment

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«This first course», says Gianluca Gorini of restaurant DaGorini in Bagno di Romagna (Forlì-Cesena) chef of the year for the Guida Identità Golose 2019, «was born after carefully observing the surroundings. We aim to recreate the genuine and familiar warmth that is typical of our valley through its flavours. And we want to respond to the natural, seasonal desire to eat something fulfilling, a complete feeling of gratification, with full and persistent notes. There’s the roundness of butter, made sapid by anchovies, the powerful flavour of the Formaggio di Fossa which has just ended its ageing in the pit, and the fresh acidity of the fox grapes».

Spaghettoni with anchovy butter, Formaggio di Fossa and fox grapes preserved in vinegar

recipe for 4 people

Ingredients
250 g spaghettoni
90 g unsalted butter
30 g anchovies preserved in salt
60 g Formaggio di Fossa
50 g dry white wine
250 g fox grapes
50 g raspberry vinegar

Method
Juice 200 grams of fox grapes and add raspberry vinegar. Bring to the boil and pour the mixture onto the remaining grapes. Leave to cool and mature in the fridge for 5 days. Peel and remove the seeds from every grape.

Desalt and debone the anchovies, strain and mix with the butter. Cook the pasta in lots of salted water, reduce the wine in a saucepan and add the anchovy butter. Mix the pasta leaving it al dente.

Place the spaghetti on a plate, add the grapes preserved in vinegar and finish with freshly grated Formaggio di Fossa.

Capitaneo: spaghettoni with meatballs (and eel)

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«Eel», says Remo Capitaneo of Enrico Bartolini’s army, our sous chef of the year, «is part of the Christmas memories of most of us, in various ways. To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about it as a child, I guess it was because of the recipe». «We started from a flavour from our memories, chargrilled eel with bay leaves, and we made the flavour gentler while preserving its richness. So we have transformed it into a sort of ragù without tomato sauce, enriching it with meatballs made with parsley, eel and gold. It’s a hint at spaghetti with meatballs, a common stereotype of Italian pasta abroad».

Spaghettoni with smoked eel and bay leaves

Recipe for 4 people

for the pasta with eel
400 g spaghettoni
100 g marinated, smoked and roasted eel filets
2 fresh shallots
3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar

Cook the spaghetti al dente in salted water. Aside, prepare the sauce by cooking the sliced shallot and the roasted eel in a little extra virgin olive oil, adding some vinegar. Mix with the pasta and finish cooking in the pan so the sauce becomes thick. Add a touch of chopped fresh basil.

for the meatballs
70 g blanched parsley
70 g smoked and roasted eel
1 shallot braised with a little butter
grated lemon zest
1 handful of Sarawak pepper
50 g water blended with 50 g of parsley
gold dust
Maldon salt

Chop the eel, the parsley and season with salt, extra virgin olive oil and lemon. Shape into small balls and leave to cool. When ready to serve, warm up the meatballs and glaze them with the parsley water seasoned with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Enrich with gold dust.

For the bay leaf sauce
20 g bay leaf centrifuge juice
150 g light, reduced fish fumet
20 g reduced Franciacorta
40 g extra virgin olive oil
2 g Maldon salt
40 baby squids

Mix the centrifuge juice with the Franciacorta wine and fish fumet and whisk with a little extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and finish with the baby squid steamed for 20 seconds.

Finishing and presentation
50 g powdered smoked dark bread
8 leaves of green mizuna
8 leaves of red mizuna
8 leaves of tetragonia
8 leaves of sea fennel
8 leaves of dill
8 sprigs of oregano
8 leaves of wood sorrel
8 leaves of green mustard
8 leaves of red mustard

Place the spaghetti on a large bowl, spreading them. Season with the eel sauce, add the glazed meatballs, the herbs seasoned with a little extra virgin olive oil and some salt and finish with the powdered bread. Finish in front of the guests with the bay leaf sauce and the baby squid.

Minestrina sporca: Christmas at the Gipponi’s

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«In my family,», recalls Alberto Gipponi of restaurant Dina in Gussago (Brescia), surprise of 2019, «we’ve always had minestrina sporca at Christmas: it’s a typical dish with meat broth, rice and chicken giblets. My grandmother often used pasta instead of rice, and I did the same. We would break the spaghetti together, it was a game. So when I thought of pasta for Christmas, I wanted to present something simple. This is a recipe that can be easily made at home, with a few colourful touches I recommend. Merry Christmas!».

Minestrina sporca (photo by Chiara Cadeddu)

Recipe for 4 people

For the broth
2 clean capons
2 kg of biancostato (beef ribs) 
5 carrots
5 celery sticks
2 white onions
salt

Put the beef ribs and the capons into a large pot. Add a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Remove the foam and add the washed carrot and celery and the onions cut into halves, previously toasted in a pan. Cook between 6 to 8 hours. Strain. 

For the dish
100 g broken spaghetti
150 g chicken liver
200 g potatoes
200 g parsley
saffron
sage
parsley leaves
coriander leaves
salt

Brown the previously salted liver in a pan, with lots of butter and sage. Cut it into small pieces. Wash and peel the potatoes. Dice them and blanch half of the cubes in water, salt and saffron, and fry the rest in a pan with oil and salt. Blanch the parsley in lots of boiling water. Cool it in water and ice, then blend it with a little cooking water. Strain. Bring a pot with lots of salted water to the boil and then cook the broken spaghetti.

Finishing and presentation
In a soup bowl, place the broken spaghetti, the liver, the potato cubes switching between one type and the other. On top, add a few drops of parsley sauce. Pour the boiling broth. Add some parsley and coriander leaves. Season to taste with a few drops of extra virgin olive oil and Grana Padano.

De Prai and Primiceri: once upon a time, cannelloni

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«This recipe», sums up Marco Primiceri, sous chef at restaurant The Cook in Genoa, partner of Lucia De Prai, the co-author of the dish as well as pastry-chef of the year for Guida di Identità, «was born at home. One afternoon Lucia and I were sitting on the sofa, speaking of Christmas with our families and of our childhood memories. We wanted a dish that would make us relive those memories together».

«This recipe is inspired by grandmothers’ pasta casseroles. It is based on cannelloni, though made in a different way. We filled them with hen, so as to recall the fresh egg pasta often served during the holidays. We added bechamel, an ingredient Lucia loves because she had the habit of scooping it from the bottom of the pan».

These are the following steps: «We added sea urchins, which recall my origins in Salento, the days when I would eat plenty of them on the rocks, with my father. We made a fond with the bones of the hen because I have a soft spot for fonds. Finally, we wanted to pay a tribute to Liguria by using the stuffed neck of the hen, a popular custom. After completing the savoury component, the yin, we realised the yang, the sweet component, was missing. Lucia found the perfect finish with the pan-brioche with raisins and pine nuts. It recalls Genoa’s pandolce, adding an extra touch».

Once upon a time there were cannelloni

Recipe for 4 people

Ingredients
for the dish

2 hens
400 g cannelloni
100 g flour
100 g butter
1 l milk
salt
nutmeg
fresh sea urchins
celery carrot and onion
dry olive branches
2 fresh eggs

for the pan brioche
1 kg flour
50 g cold milk
35 g yeast
25 gr salt
120 gr sugar
600 g eggs
600 g soft butter
100 g pine nuts
100 g raisins

Method
for the pan brioche

Melt the yeast and sugar in the milk and leave to ferment until the volume triples. Knead the flour with the pre-fermented mixture and the eggs using a planetary mixer, add salt and, when the mixture starts to become thicker, gradually add the butter. Continue to knead until the mixture separates from the walls of the bowl. Add pine nuts and raisins to taste.

Leave the brioche to rise at 27°C until it doubles its volume. Punch down the dough so the gas escapes and place it in the fridge. When it doubles again, punch it down once more and divide it into 30-gram pieces. Make a ball with the dough and leave to ferment for an hour and a half. Sprinkle some flour and bake at 190°C for 3 minutes, with 90% humidity. After this time, lower the temperature to 180°C and continue baking for 3 more minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a grid.

For the dish
Cut the hens’ necks, empty them keeping only the skin. Cut the crest with a pair of scissors and set aside. Remove the entrails from the hens paying attention not to break the embryo eggs which we’ll used to garnish the dish.

For the filling to be used in the cannelloni and in the necks, debone the hens and cook the salted meat in hot oil. Separately, brown one celery stick, half an onion and two carrots, mix everything, add some white wine, cover with water and cook for half a day on a low heat. Once cooked, strain the meat, mince it and mix it with cheese, eggs and salt if necessary. Fill a sac-à-poche.

Fill the necks with part of the filling, close them with some twine and cook them with the crests for half a day in the same broth in which the meat was cooked. For the broth and the fond, make embers with the olive branches, place the carcasses on top, brown them for 15 minutes and cover for 1 hour, so as to create a natural smoking.

Brown a celery stick, half an onion and two carrots, mix the smoked carcasses, cover in water and reduce to a half, strain and keep half of the broth warm, adding salt if necessary and finish reducing the other half to make the hen fond.

For the bechamel, warm up the milk. Aside, melt the butter, add the flour and cook on a low heat for 5 minutes. Add the mix to the milk, always turning the spoon in the same direction, and cook until you reach the desired thickness. Add salt and nutmeg to taste. Cook the cannelloni in salted water. Open the sea urchins and set the pulp aside.

Finishing
As soon as the cannelloni are al dente, drain them, fill them with the hot meat filling and place them on the plate. Add the bechamel on top, and the fond of hen. Then drain the necks, remove the twine, divide them and dish half a neck to each guest. With a torch, burn the crests and divide them among the guests’ four plates. Finish with the sea urchins and the lightly salted embryo eggs. Pour the smoked broth by the table and serve with the pan brioche on the side.

L'Alchimia: a fish soup to be finished in the dining room

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«The idea», says Alberto Tasinato, patron at L’Alchimia in Milan, maître of the year for the Guida di Identità, «was born from the desire of having a first course we could finish in the dining room. We wanted a dish that would recall Italian traditions and that would join all the different interpretations available from Naples to Rome to Livorno. In the dining room, we add the warm touch given by the dishing out. In this way, we interact with the guests and, at the same time, we recall the old family meals when we’d place the soup bowl in the middle of the table». 

Soup of fish and crustaceans and mixed pasta

Recipe for 4 people

Ingredients
360 g Mischiato Forte
6 carrots
4 celery sticks
2 onions
10 parsley sprigs
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh green chilli pepper
basil
6 san Marzano tomatoes
1 green tomato
1 box of mixed fish for soups
4 fresh red prawns
1 litre dry white wine
6 fresh leaves of basil
bread (without the crust)

Method
For the fish soup

Clean the fish, removing blood and eyes, cut it into large pieces and toast it in a dry pre-heated oven at 220C° for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the carrots, onions, celery, plus the basil, chilli pepper and parsley in a casserole tin. Now add the previously toasted fish and continue cooking it with the vegetables. Add the tomatoes and then the white wine, and let the alcohol evaporate. Deglaze everything covering it with ice and cold water. Leave to boil for around 4 hours, strain and reduce to a half.

For the dish
Toast 200 g of mixed pasta in a cast iron pot, as if it were rice for risotto, then add the hot soup, cook for 7 minutes gradually adding the liquid. Remove from the stove and mix with extra virgin olive oil, champagne vinegar and salt.

Finishing the dish
Serve in a soup bowl, adding the previously diced and seasoned green tomato, the basil, the toasted bread and the raw red prawns.

Retrobottega: in the beginning was the wild carrot

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Alessandro Miocchi and Giuseppe Lo Iudice, the two chefs from Retrobottega in Rome who received the Birra in cucina award, are such strong believers in pasta that they have just opened Retropasta, the first “permanent fresh pasta laboratory”. It’s in Via della Stelletta 4a, and the idea is that it must produce gnocchi, agnolotti del plin, tortellini, orecchiette, ravioli, taglioni, tortelli and fettuccine, all hand-made, seven days a week, from organic eggs and flour and with ingredients that follow the same style as the headquarters.

This dry pasta dish was instead born after harvesting wild carrots: «We pick them in October», say the two chefs, «when the plant, except for its roots, is almost completely dry. The flowers, clustered in small flat umbels, contain hundreds of seeds. We leave them to dry in the sun, then we extract them with a pair of tweezers. They have a strong and balsamic flavour, the soul of the dish».

Spaghettini carrot, onion and oil from the new season (photo from Elisia Menduni)

Recipe for 4 people

Ingredients
400 g sweet white onions
360 g durum wheat spaghettini
30 g Parmigiano Reggiano
150 ml extra virgin olive oil from the new season

Method
Peel the sweet onions and cut them into 1-cm thick slices. Brown them on both sides on a hot non-stick pan. Toss the onions in a litre of cold water and cook in the oven at 150°C for 1 hour. The result will be a dark and intense vegetal broth. Leave it in infusion overnight.

The following day, remove the onions and process them: you’ll get a silky and sweet cream. Strain the onion broth and put it in a large casserole tin. Cook the spaghettini first in boiling salted water for 3 minutes, then drain them and pour them in the casserole tin with the boiling onion broth. Cook for 4 more minutes, then remove from the heat. Mix with the new olive oil and the cream of onions. When serving, sprinkle the wild carrot seeds on top of the pasta nest.

Cassanelli’s Linguine with ginger

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«We first included this recipe in our menu in 2015», says Valentino Cassanelli, chef at Lux Lucis in Forte dei Marmi (Lucca), whom we awarded for the best Bread Basket in 2018, «it was inspired by the journey the veal takes starting from our homeland, represented by pasta, later receiving the influence of the fresh and hot Thai ginger – which in this case recalls the Italian garlic and chilli pepper – and the aromatic and crispy tones of South American cocoa before returning to a classic boiled cut of meat. It’s an exchange of textures between the collagen and the starch, moving like acrobats on a tightrope, and the contrasting sweetness of the reduction of vegetables and ginger. It’s a dish I hold very dear because of its simplicity and straightforwardness».

Linguine with ginger with head of veal and cocoa grué

for the head
1 head of veal
2 onions
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
salt
white wine vinegar

Remove the bones from the head, so as to have one whole piece. Set the tongue aside, on a separate plate. Toast the skull for 45 minutes at 190°C and make a reduced broth with toasted onions, bones, cloves and bay leaves. Once the broth is ready, strain it and cook the head in it for around 4 hours and a half while the tongue requires 45 minutes of cooking. Once everything is cooked, remove any fat and nerves and create some parallelepipeds out of the cheeks and tongue so as to make a roll with the rind on the outside. Leave to cool and cut the portions on which you will later pour some reduced broth.

for the linguine
280 g durum wheat linguine
40 g centrifuge juice of ginger
1 unpeeled garlic clove
5 g extra virgin olive oil
600 g vegetal broth
20 g butter
15 g Parmigiano
salt
ginger

Brown the unpeeled garlic clove with a little extra virgin olive oil, then remove the garlic, add the vegetal broth and the centrifuge juice of ginger; bring to the boil, then cook the linguine as if they were risotto. Add salt and mix away from the heat with butter, Parmigiano and a touch of grated ginger.

to finish the dish
cocoa grué
ginger sprouts
veal jus

Place the meat head in the middle and the nest of linguine on top. Finish with the cocoa grué, the veal jus and the ginger sprouts.

Local: a meeting of oysters and smoked butter

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«We were about to change the menu with the arrival of winter», says Matteo Tagliapietra, chef at Local in Venice, «and I had been thinking of spaghetti for a while. The inspiration came when I was given some beautiful oysters to make some tests for the New Year’s Eve menu. At that same moment, we were smoking the eel for our 5-course tasting menu. The aroma in the air made me think of that match – smoked butter and oyster – two fat elements, of which one with iodine, which only required a sour and citric touch... hence the bergamot zest. As soon as I tasted it, I decided it would have its place in the menu. This dish follows my philosophy: a limited number of ingredients, paired so as to create a perfect match that enhances each flavour».

Spaghetti with smoked butter, oysters and bergamot

Recipe for 4 people

Ingredients
400 g spaghetti
120 g smoked butter
12 oysters
1 bergamot

Method
Smoke the butter in a smoker using beech wood, for around 20 minutes. Cook the spaghetti in salted water. Mix the spaghetti with the smoked butter, adding a little cooking water from the pasta. Dish out the spaghetti and grate some bergamot zest on top. The three oysters must be placed one underneath the spaghetti, one on top, and the last on the side.