Whenever I’m in Spain, I don’t miss a chance to have Pan con tomate, bread and tomato. I’m crazy about it and I really can’t understand why it’s not popular in Italy. The fact we have bruschetta is not a good answer, because these two delicacies are very different.

This is not the only delicacy I’d like to find in Italy. I’m literally mad about Frittata di pasta. Hard to find in Milan while it wouldn’t be a problem in Naples. In this newsletter we have a version from an important restaurant, by Salvatore Bianco, chef at Comandante at hotel Romeo. I’ll taste it with great pleasure in a few weeks’ time. The shape of that cylinder of spaghetti, with the pasta rolled around it like wool on a spool, makes you understand how much work and time Salvatore spent in its production. Praise is well deserved.

Yet this frittata is originally a poor dish, like fried rice – ways to use leftovers. The one impossible to remove from my memory, in the ocean of memories of the summers in Levanto, on the eastern coast of Liguria, has nothing to do with Campania. It was made by the cook of a family friend for our sailing trips to Punta Mesco and Cinque Terre. It wasn’t the usual frittata di pasta, seasoned with Grana Padano and never with tomato. There was an extra element that made it unique: the mussels picked from the rocks, usually small or medium sized, adding an extraordinary flavour to the beaten eggs. The sincere richness of everyday cooking.

Paolo Marchi

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Monograno Felicetti 
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Newsletter 60 del 03 august 2017

Dear {{NOME}},

Whenever I’m in Spain, I don’t miss a chance to have Pan con tomate, bread and tomato. I’m crazy about it and I really can’t understand why it’s not popular in Italy. The fact we have bruschetta is not a good answer, because these two delicacies are very different.

This is not the only delicacy I’d like to find in Italy. I’m literally mad about Frittata di pasta. Hard to find in Milan while it wouldn’t be a problem in Naples. In this newsletter we have a version from an important restaurant, by Salvatore Bianco, chef at Comandante at hotel Romeo. I’ll taste it with great pleasure in a few weeks’ time. The shape of that cylinder of spaghetti, with the pasta rolled around it like wool on a spool, makes you understand how much work and time Salvatore spent in its production. Praise is well deserved.

Yet this frittata is originally a poor dish, like fried rice – ways to use leftovers. The one impossible to remove from my memory, in the ocean of memories of the summers in Levanto, on the eastern coast of Liguria, has nothing to do with Campania. It was made by the cook of a family friend for our sailing trips to Punta Mesco and Cinque Terre. It wasn’t the usual frittata di pasta, seasoned with Grana Padano and never with tomato. There was an extra element that made it unique: the mussels picked from the rocks, usually small or medium sized, adding an extraordinary flavour to the beaten eggs. The sincere richness of everyday cooking.

Paolo Marchi

Legù, legumes in the shape of dry pasta

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Some time ago Riccardo Felicetti of pastificio Felicetti told us about an interesting case of a firm that makes “pasta” with legumes. It’s called Legù, and it’s run by two young people, Monica Neri and Andrea Zavattari, who opened their firm in Albizzate, in the province of Varese, one year and a half ago.

«In Italy», says Monica Neri, a graduate in Restaurant Science and Technology, «we still eat too little legumes. Starting from this premise, and being convinced that every food can be improved, we decided to create natural pasta made with legumes». Pasta with inverted commas as according to Italian law the name pasta can only be used if made with cereals, especially with durum wheat.

Legù is made only with flour from legumes, with variable quantities of chickpeas, white beans and yellow split peas. A second version, Legù 4 Legumi, also contains yellow split lentils. «There’s a long research on how to balance flavours and nutrients behind these blends: they have lots of fibres and vegetal proteins and very little carbohydrates».

There are 6 formats currently available (each with the two blends, hence twelve products): the classic penna (smooth), tagliatellapacchero and fusillo and the more original giglio and rustico. They’re all shaped with bronze, like with classic pasta. Their website is full of traditional recipes. And even fine dining restaurants are starting to notice them: Matteo Monti at Rebelot del Pont in Milano uses Legù for biscuits, wafers and puffed pastry.

«The winning idea of these guys», commented Felicetti, «is that they use a very familiar shape, like classic pasta, to give value to legumes, which aren’t very popular. It’s a modern and interesting concept. It’s time for producers to join forces, without prejudice». Indisputable.

Kitchen Terr(re), pasta as seen by a Frenchman

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A few days ago William Ledeuil, already at the helm of Ze Kitchen Galerie and Kgb, opened a new place in Paris, in Boulevard Saint German 26. It’s called Kitchen Ter(re) and is mostly focused on pasta and broth.

Ledeuil has a very personal and unusual way of interpreting Italian food: he uses Italian shapes like caserecce but made in France by Roland Feuillas with stone-milled organic flour, from selected cereals and ancient wheat varieties (while the bronze stamps are Italian).

Pasta dishes in the menu include durum wheat Dentelles – like short reginette – with squid, tomato, seaweed and galangal (in the photo). The squid is wrapped in very fresh herbs of oriental origin (Asian cuisine has always been a passion of the chef): Thai basil, rocket salad, coriander, seaweed.

Then there’s, spelt Girolette with Iberian pig and kimchi, Caserecce with glazed chicken, harissa and lemon confit, Coquilettes with green curry and basil. And blésotto, a risotto made with wheat, served with a pesto of Thai basil, chanterelle mushrooms and pecorino. Every pasta finishes its cooking in a Thai broth, the classic tom kha kai, enriched, depending on the recipe, with nuoc-mâm, galangal, palm sugar, kaffir lime, citronella, curry.

The outcome is surprising: unexpected flavours, and pasta al dente and perfectly thickened. An extremely interesting experience, especially for an Italian. Too bad the dining room is very cold, rather impersonal, and the wine list is quite costly. But the very kind staff compensates the service.
Ilaria Brunetti

Boffa’s eliche mustardela and calamari

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The basic idea behind the dish and in general behind the cuisine of Gabriele Boffa from Castello di Guarene in the province of Cuneo, is that of using raw materials with a strong connection with his territory and with Italy, but also with his experience around the world: «We must cook with intelligence, improve, day after day», he says.

This first course is born from a pairing between blood sausage and grilled calamari: «I was immediately struck by its complexity. Since we have mustardela in Piedmont, an extraordinary blood sausage made with various parts of the pig including the blood, we decided to use it and complete it with chopped Celline olives from Apulia, which are both very sweet and aromatic, and a tarragon leaf».

«In this case I believe the use of mustardela as a traditional Piedmontese product, together with a mollusc from the Mediterranean sea and olives could become a dish of the new Piedmontese cuisine, and hence of Italian cuisine, even though olives and calamari are not from Piedmont. But this also applies to tuna and capers in the case of salsa tonnata, doesn’t it? And that’s a Piedmontese and Italian classic».

Eliche with Celline olives, mustardela, calamari and tarragon

Ingredients for 2 people

100 g Eliche
40 g calamari
25 g Celline olives
50 g mustardela
30 g endive
15 g brine from the Celline olives
15 g extra virgin olive oil
tarragon to taste

Method
Remove the bones from the Celline olives and blend them so as to make a liquid cream. Make an emulsion with the brine from the olives and the extra virgin olive oil. Warm up the mustardela to 50°C, blend it with 5% of water and strain. Cook the endive in salted water. Stir fry the calamari and in an iron pan.

Cook the eliche pasta in salted water, toss them away from the stove with the cream of Celline olives and place them on the plate. Put in turns pasta, fried calamari, mustardela and endive leaves. Finish with the tarragon leaves.

Marta Scalabrini: gramigna paglia e fieno

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«This dish is dedicated to the month of July», says young cook Marta Scalabrini from Marta in Cucina, «in this part of Emilia where the plain gradually turns into hills. Gramigna [literally Bermuda grass] in this case is not just a grass you can find in the fields, but a traditional durum wheat pasta, yellow and green, like the hay and straw that tractors line up on the side of the fields, in this season, after harvest».

«I’ve always liked to think that the gramigna paglia e fieno pasta is not only named after the infesting grass but it also acquires its strength and determination in setting roots, being, as it is, the only representative [of durum wheat pasta] in a field cultivated with fresh egg pasta and filled pasta. This dish is dedicated to the aroma of forage drying in the sun». (photo by Carlo Vannini)

Gramigna paglia e fieno, nettles, camomile and fresh juniper

Ingredients for 4 people
100 g fresh butter
15 g dry camomile
250 g gramigna paglia e fieno pasta
4 fresh juniper berries

For the cream of nettles
300 g of fresh clean nettles
extra virgin olive oil to taste
salt to taste

Method
for the cream of nettles
In a steam oven or in a casserole tin with lots of boiling water at 100°C, blanch the fresh nettles for a few minutes, then cool them quickly in water and ice.
Blend the nettles with a few ice cubes, gradually adding a drop of oil and seasoning with salt.

For the camomile butter
Put the butter in a pan and melt it in a Bain-marie. Leave 5 grams of camomile collected in a gauze filter in infusion for some 10 minutes.

For the pasta
Bring two litres of water to the boil, add a little salt, remove from the stove and using a filter leave the remaining 10 grams of camomile in infusion for 8/10 minutes. Remove the filter, bring to the boil and cook the gramigna pasta so it’s very al dente. Drain the pasta and put it in the pan with the previously aromatised butter (see previous preparation). Finish cooking the pasta by adding a little of the cooking water aromatised with camomile and mix.

Finishing the dish
Place to tablespoons of lukewarm nettles cream on the base of a plate. Using a pastry cutter, place the gramigna in the middle and decorate with fresh camomile flowers and a pinch of finely chopped juniper berries.

Le Tre Zucche: Spaghettoni prawns and lime

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This recipe by Fabrizio Sepe from Le Tre Zucche in Rome was first presented seven years ago and is still part of the menu. It’s a very fresh, summery first course. «Its peculiarity», says the chef, «is the cold-temperature extraction of the prawn heads, a sort of very tasty bisque. By adding lime and salt, the red becomes so lively my clients often think it’s tomato sauce. Lime and basil enhance the flavours and freshness of the dish. By mixing all the ingredients when cold, they don’t change much and it’s easy to tell them apart».

Spaghettoni “Lagano pasta di Roma” with raw red prawns, lime and basil mixed at cold temperature

Ingredients for 4 people
360 g spaghettoni
12 red prawns from Mazara del Vallo
Extra virgin olive oil
2 limes
1 garlic clove
Fresh basil
Salt and pepper

Method
Clean the prawns and dice the tails. Blend the shells with a mixer, strain the mixture and season it with the juice of 2 limes and their grated zest, add the garlic clove and a little extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper and put everything into a steel bowl. Add the spaghettoni right after draining them and mix. Add the prawn tails and the chopped basil and serve on hot plates.

Bianco: spaghetti frittata in the space

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«Frittata di pasta», explains Salvatore Bianco from Comandante in Naples, author of this new interpretation, «is the classic childhood memory of every Neapolitan. It also represents our people, in its simplicity, authenticity, as well as brilliantness and energy. Indeed, as it’s a very rich recipe made by recuperating leftovers».

This is a spaghetti frittata in bianco, «Because that’s how mothers and grandmothers would make it. I would secretly add some of the tomato sauce they would make themselves».

Spaghetti frittata

Recipe for 4 people

Ingredients
200 g spaghetti di Gragnano
4 eggs
50 g buffalo milk butter
15 g Parmigiano
40 g mixed cured meat (salame Napoli, pancetta, capocollo)
Salt, oil, chives, Sichuan pepper to taste

For the Parmigiano fondue
100 g Parmigiano
30 g whole milk
Salt and Sichuan pepper to taste

For the tomato concentrate
100 g tomatoes from Vesuvius
Extra virgin olive oil to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Garlic to taste

Method
Bring to the boil some water with cooking salt: as soon as the water starts to boil, toss the spaghetti and cook them for 7-8 minutes. Meanwhile, cut the tomatoes in half, place them inside a baking tin, adding oil, salt, pepper, garlic and cook them at 80°C for around 3 hours. Blend the mixture with a hand blender, strain and add a drop of extra virgin olive oil. Make a mayonnaise.

For the fondue: bring the milk to the boil. Letting the milk cool away from the stove, add the previously grated Parmigiano until the mixture is creamy. As soon as the pasta is cooked, mix with the buffalo milk butter and the Parmigiano. Then add the cured meat cut into small pieces, the eggs and the finely chopped chives. Season with salt and pepper. Do this in a bowl, so as to mix the ingredients homogenously.

Line a mould with baking paper and butter, then roll the spaghetti in a spiral, on its walls. Pour some more spaghetti in the middle, to cover completely, then leave to cool for around 60 minutes and finally brown in the pan with clarified butter. Serve the pasta frittata on a dish, insert some tomato and Parmigiano, basil and some pepper on top.

Mimmo Vicinanza’s trip to the Amalfi Coast

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«A convertible, a trip on the Amalfi Coast at sunset, early in July, the woman you love; when the breeze caresses your face bringing the aroma of the sea, you stop to eat something light and drink a glass of good wine». This is the poetic prologue of the Pasta mista con friarelli that chef Domenico Vicinanza and patron Francesco Costantino offer at Osteria del Taglio in Salerno.

«On the last bend before Vietri, the historic greengrocer offers his souvenirs. Together with the beautiful Sfusati lemons, there’s a bag of very aromatic friarielli: ‘Dottò, when you cook, use these basil leaves, they come from my land’. Due to their freshness, aroma and sweetness, green peppers called friarielli can be used in various ways as a balancing element or as a tasty side dish, depending on the cooking method. Pairing them with seafood – mussels, clams or razor clams – enhances their characteristics and aromas». By adding basil and lemon zest, the pleasure reaches its peak.

Pasta mista with friarielli (sweet chilli peppers), clams and lemon aroma

Ingredients for 4 people
300 g pasta mista
500 g clams
150 g green sweet chilli peppers
basil
1 lemon

Method
Cook and remove the shells from the clams, strain and leave them in a pan. Cut the sweet green peppers along their longer side, removing the seeds, then cut in strips and toss in the pan with oil, garlic and basil for 2 minutes. Put aside. Prepare a sauce with oil and basil, add the chilli peppers and the clams with their broth. Drain the pasta when it’s half cooked, finishing the cooking in the sauce, adding lots of grated lemon zest (preferably from Sfusato lemons) at the end. Remove from the stove and continue to mix until it is thickened (without starch). Serve on a plate.

Brackish umami linguine at Bros

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Linguine, liquamen e pistacchio. This chapter updateds the experiment that Floriano Pellegrino and Isabella Potì from Bros in Lecce are doing with umami. In particular, the brackish umami that comes from fish. «The accurate study of these flavours has led us to distinguish various types of garum (fermented fish) and various types of liquamen (the liquid that oozes from the fermented fish) which we decided to present in our dishes. In this case the linguine are paired with sweet pistachio milk, which is a good match with the brackish note of the liquamen from the sardines. The choice of pasta was essential, in that it keeps the starch, instead of releasing it, so the al dente cooking is the real structure of the dish». Japanese Sansho pepper, ground and sprinkled on top, completes the dish. A fresh note on the palate.

Linguine, liquamen, pistachio

Ingredients
70 g linguine Felicetti
2 kg pistachios (already soaked in water)
10 g liquamen
sansho pepper
xantana

Method
Blend the pistachios previously soaked in lots of water; dry with a tablecloth, mix with some xantana. Cook the linguine in salted water, mix with 40 g of pistachio milk and 10 g of liquamen and finally serve with freshly ground Sansho pepper.

Biafora: hurray for soba (with tomato)

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After the Identità Milano 2017 congress, I fulfilled one of my dreams with a great professional, namely Luca Abbruzzino: I discovered Japan, having previously ignored most of its gastronomic culture. I never knew soba – tagliolini made with buckwheat – could have such an essential role in popular cuisine.

Soba, buckwheat, is also part of our culture. This is why when I returned a tasting menu called 9856, that is to say the kilometres between San Giovanni in Fiore and Tokyo was the natural result. Soba al pomodoro is the dish that best represents this bridge between two continents. It must be served cold, in line with the summer.

Soba with tomato

recipe for 4 people

Ingredients
for the soba
200 g Soba
2 l tomato water

for the oil
50 cl “ottobratico” extra virgin olive oil
salt
lemon zest
oil aromatised with garlic
oil aromatised with basil

for the tomato powder
peel from 4 tomatoes

for the tomato sauce
4 Belmonte tomatoes
½ lemon zest
1 “ottobratico” extra virgin olive oil
cow’s milk stracciatella
fresh thyme
fresh oregano

Fresh basil
Chives
2 Mauve flowers
2 borage flowers
2 tagete

Method
for the tomato
Clean the beefsteak tomato from Belmonte. Make an incision on the peel, boil for a few seconds in boiling water. Cool in water and ice so that the thermal shock will help removing the peel. Use the pulp to make the sauce, the peel for the powder, and the inner part for the tomato water.

For the sauce
Blend the pulp with part of the tomato water and the extra virgin olive oil and add salt. Clean and wash the herbs, chop the chives. Clean the flowers.

for the powdered tomato
Dry the tomato peel on a baking tin at 50°C for 12 hours. Blend with a termo mix so as to make a powder.

for the oil
Put all the ingredients in a glass jar and cook at 50°C for 1 hour. Leave in infusion overnight. Strain.

for the soba
Recuperate the tomato water and if necessary add some more to reach the necessary quantity. Bring to the boil, add salt, and cook the buckwheat spaghetti to 4/5 of its cooking time. Cool in water and ice. Season with aromatised oil and a pinch of tomato powder.

Finishing the dish
Roll the soba around chopsticks, season with the aromatised oil and place it on the side of the dish. Put the stracciatella at the bottom of a bowl, add the tomato, finish with thyme, oregano, chopped chives and basil and flowers. Place the chopsticks on the bowl.

Moreno and Mariella’s timeless spaghettoni

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A timeless dish, the kind you’d think was invented in the morning and served that same night: Spaghettoro Verrigni with scampi and fresh tomato, ginger and savoy cabbage sauce. From the Mariella menu at Madonnina del Pescatore in Senigallia. Moreno Cedroni put it in the menu in 1994 and 23 years later it’s still perfect. The dish was eaten – and the photo taken – on Sunday 23rd of July at lunchtime, a perfect lunch, under all respects. Starting from the feeling of friendliness and complicity.