A few days ago I finally had lunch at Bistro Aimo e Nadia, in Via Matteo Bandello 14 in Milan, tel. +39.02.48026205, a place of which only good things can be said.

It’s hot outside, and cool inside, though you wouldn’t notice at first. Still panting, we drink some cold water and relax while they bring the menu. Six people around the table, we decide for one dish each, but which one? Starter, first course or main course? First course for everyone, alright. Nobody chooses paccheri, perhaps because they’re uncomfortable to eat. Most choose risotto or long pasta. To be precise Risotto Carnaroli with courgettes, courgette flowers, saffron, and burrata or Spaghettoni with herb pesto, dried tomatoes, almonds and bottarga di muggine.

Four people chose rice, and it came as a surprirse. Burrata aside, which is like the rocket salad of our decade, and as soon as it will be out of fashion I/we will be relieved - the hotter it is, the less I want risotto. I believe pasta is more versatile in terms of serving temperature. Lukewarm Spaghettoni aren’t shocking, unlike risotto. And you’ll never find a high quality restaurant that dares to serve rice salad in July.

I wondered why, out of six people sitting around the table, four chose rice, and this was my answer: four were not local, and those who arrive in Milan from somewhere else often look forward to rice. It’s almost automatic. As for me, I set for “my” spaghettoni.

Paolo Marchi
Content by Gabriele Zanatta

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Monograno Felicetti 
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Newsletter 67 del 26 july 2018

Dear {{NOME}},

A few days ago I finally had lunch at Bistro Aimo e Nadia, in Via Matteo Bandello 14 in Milan, tel. +39.02.48026205, a place of which only good things can be said.

It’s hot outside, and cool inside, though you wouldn’t notice at first. Still panting, we drink some cold water and relax while they bring the menu. Six people around the table, we decide for one dish each, but which one? Starter, first course or main course? First course for everyone, alright. Nobody chooses paccheri, perhaps because they’re uncomfortable to eat. Most choose risotto or long pasta. To be precise Risotto Carnaroli with courgettes, courgette flowers, saffron, and burrata or Spaghettoni with herb pesto, dried tomatoes, almonds and bottarga di muggine.

Four people chose rice, and it came as a surprirse. Burrata aside, which is like the rocket salad of our decade, and as soon as it will be out of fashion I/we will be relieved - the hotter it is, the less I want risotto. I believe pasta is more versatile in terms of serving temperature. Lukewarm Spaghettoni aren’t shocking, unlike risotto. And you’ll never find a high quality restaurant that dares to serve rice salad in July.

I wondered why, out of six people sitting around the table, four chose rice, and this was my answer: four were not local, and those who arrive in Milan from somewhere else often look forward to rice. It’s almost automatic. As for me, I set for “my” spaghettoni.

Paolo Marchi
Content by Gabriele Zanatta

Molina, the new Felicetti factory

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A new factory, in Molina di Fiemme (Trento), ready in 2021. A total investment of 28 million euros for a new plant that will double the production of the historic factory in Predazzo, currently producing 20 million kilos of pasta per year, in over 200 formats.

An agreement signed with Trentino Sviluppo, Provincia autonoma di Trento, the town of Castello Molina di Fiemme and Sparkasse, which acted as "investment bank”, presenting the new partner of the operation, ISA (Istituto Atesino di Sviluppo Spa). They are «the most important holding in the region, with a portfolio of investments of over 160 million euros», says the official press release, «the partner that culturally speaking was closest to our family values and to whom we could open our capital stock».

«We have the market, the financial coverage, and now we have a new plant too», says the pasta-factory manager Riccardo Felicetti, on the phone, «Why did we do it? Simple, because we’re growing. Retail and restaurants, in Italy and abroad, are showing increasing interest and we must meet their expectations, make choices that can reassure the production, guarantee the orders people make. With two plants, only 12 km apart, we will preserve territorial coherence and productive elasticity, we will double the volumes and increase the staff by some 40 people, reaching a total of 100 employees». A big leap.

How about Monograno, the company’s top line? «Predazzo will always be its home», says Felicetti, «It will continue to have a satisfying growth, in terms of production, and we will further research new varieties and formats».

Bowerman and the power of rigatone

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When you cook around the world, you must always take into consideration the tastes of the local clientele. This is the hardly banal thought that led Cristina Bowerman of Glass Hostaria, in Rome, to conceive her first course for the Identità Londra 2018 dinner at restaurant Alto by San Carlo, on the top floor of Selfridges.

«It was a rather rich first course because», says the Apulian chef, «Londoners love fat and strong flavours». She cooked the Rigatoni Monograno Felicetti in water with unprocessed sea salt, then cooled them in olive oil before filling them with a cream of carciofi alla romana. In the dish, they spread a cream of peas and a sauce made with vignarola, broad beans, peas, artichokes, pancetta. The dish was finished with flakes of dehydrated prosciutto, chips of artichokes alla giudiaand bottarga. More is better.

A concert of tasty and savoury counterpoints, «but had I cooked it in Italy», points out Bowerman, «I would have given a more prominent role to the vegetables». The audience showed great appreciation for a memorable dish: «Many people wrote to me, during the following days, and it pleased me. I even had two faithful Glassclients coming to London especially for the occasion». The power of Rigatone.
 

Spaghettoni at Bistro Aimo e Nadia

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Spaghettoni with herb pesto, dried tomatoes, almond, bottarga di muggine, a first course currently in the menu at Bistro Aimo e Nadia in Milan. Perfectly summery.

Cold tagliolini at Spazio...

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It’s so nice to be able to update so frequently the list of the best dishes at Spazio, the democratic fine dining concept that Niko Romito has replicated in Rivisondoli, Milan and Rome. Last week their Cold tagliolini with salted cod and tarragon entered my personal top 3. «This first course», says Gaia Giordano, the cook-demiurge of this recipe, «was born from a sauce. In the previous menu we had salted cod enriched with a pizzaiolasauce made with the scraps of the salted cod. It was so good we thought of turning it into a pasta-dish».

Not dry pasta, though: «We chose tagliolino with semolina, without flour, because we didn’t want it too release too much starch. It had to preserve some ‘dente’». The next step was understanding the service temperature: «We tried hot tagliolini, but it didn’t work because the heat killed the tagliolini and the result was too gluey». Hence the choice of the cold pasta. It was a success, because each of the 3 components are recognisable on the palate, and the result is four large, round, satisfying forkfuls.

The good news is you can taste the very same dish both at Spazio Milano and Spazio Roma. Not in Rivisondoli because the numerous Neapolitan clients might not enjoy the heterodoxy of one of their classics.

...and lukewarm carbonara at Perbellini’s

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Lukewarm salad of spaghetti alla carbonara, pork jowl and pecorino. This was the name that appeared until a few days ago in the menu at Locanda Perbellini in Via Moscova in Milan, one of the most successful openings in the past few months. We use the past because it’s been replaced by another dish: Lukewarm salad of spaghetti, basil pesto, confit tomato and lime.

Both are delicious “lukewarm salads”. «There are two reasons behind this recipe», says Giancarlo Perbellini, one of the most versatile and noble chefs in Italy, «First, we have a very small kitchen in Milan so every action is measured. In the case of carbonara, we would first make a very liquid seasoning with egg, and then we would add it to the spaghetti». The mix was creamy, soft and very pleasant with the addition of crispy pork jowl and pecorino on top.

The second reason is July’s temperatures: «With this heat, people are very happy to eat lukewarm pasta. Mind that it shouldn’t be served cold from the fridge: we drain it when cooked, and serve it at room temperature, less than hot». It would be nice to eat it in the winter too, «But in Italy our culture makes us difficult with pasta». In this respect, the Japanese are more open than us.

Mazzo, the anatomy of spaghetti with salted cod

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We’re once again speaking of spaghetti with salted cod, but in this case served hot, after combining excellent ingredients. «The idea», say Marco Baccanelli and Francesca Barreca of Mazzo, a cult place in Centocelle, Rome, «was born from a dish we once used to make: Risotto with garlic, oil, chilli pepper and salted cod. We transformed it into spaghetti because it’s more practical and because since then we’ve become a restaurant with just two people in the kitchen and one in the dining room».

«The Spaghettoni are either Mancini or Felicetti because they have the right amount of starch: neither too much nor too little; you don’t feel like you’re eating some gluey pasta». The most frequent issue with salted cod, is the degree of salt: «We always taste what we get. If it’s too salty we soak it for half a day. The supplier is Ciro from the market in Centocelle, a great expert of north Europe, a guarantee».

The cooking is essential: they dice the salted cod and cook it in the pan. The crucial ingredient is garlic: «It’s very important. We get it from Giorgio Pace of Piccola Bottega Merenda. It is cultivated in a very attentive way, following biodynamic agriculture. It’s very sweet and fresh». Finally, extra virgin olive oil, strictly from Lazio: «Cetrone or from Farfa».

The octopus from Bikini, between sea and mountains

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Fusilli with octopus and cream of butirri beans. One of the most convincing dishes in the new menu at Bikini in Vico Equense, signed by Fumiko Sakai, a Japanese cook of whom we’ve written already.

«The basic idea», says the chef, together with patron Giorgio Scarselli, «is to have a product from the hills of Sorrento meet the sea. Butirro beans have this name because they have a buttery texture and are sweet. The cream is matched with octopus cooked following Neapolitan tradition, nell’acqua sua, in its water».

The cooking finishes with tomato, following the traditional allaLuciana recipe: «It was hard to finish the cooking of the hand crafted fusilli because their cooking is very fast. This is why we used the dehydrated and powdered entrails of the octopus. The result has a strong saltiness, paired with the sweet beans and the crispy dried broccoli leaves». A difficult to accomplish balance, finally found.

Turnip tops and 'nduja: once upon a time at Ratanà

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The season is over but it’s worth mentioning one of the best dishes this past spring in Milan. It’s Spaghetti with turnip tops and ‘nduja from Cesare Battisti and Luca De Santi of Ratanà. Those who say that appearance and flavour are equally important in a dish, in this case are right: the mix of colours and creaminess are immediately mouth-watering. When tasting it, the bitter creaminess of the blended turnip tops and the light spiciness of the 'nduja are charming. An increasingly popular seasoning worldwide.

Orecchiette without borders from Tim Butler

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Orecchiette con astice blu, 'nduja e peperoncino thai. È un piatto firmato da un cuoco americano (Tim Butler), che cucina da 12 anni a Bangkok in Tailandia (Eat Me), e che entrerà in carta in un ristorante di La Valletta, isola di Malta (Esenzi), contenuto nell’Iniala hotel, messo in piedi da un imprenditore e filantropo britannico (Mark Weingard) a partire dal gennaio 2019. È un primo piatto che esprime come pochi la versatilità della pasta secca, un complemento perfetto per ingredienti locali e globali, senza idiosincrasie o barriere di sorta.

Recipe: Torsiello’s Spaghettini with saffron

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Among the best first courses tasted around the beginning of the summer, there’s Spaghettini with saffron from Tomas Torsiello, chef at Osteria Arbustico, one Michelin star. The restaurant recently moved from Valva to Paestum, from mountain to sea, always in the province of Salerno. The spaghettini, first presented at Identità Milano, are cooked in 3 different types of broth: veal tongue, onion and water of Grana Padano. Essential look, kaleidoscopic flavours.

INGREDIENTS
for the tongue broth 
1 veal tongue (left in running water overnight)
5 l water
celery
carrot
onion
juniper
cinnamon
black peppercorns 
cloves
rosemary 
thyme
1 garlic clove

for the onion broth 
golden onions

for the Grana Padano water
500 g Grana Padano crust scraped on the outside 
1 l water

other ingredients 
spaghettini
grana Padano matured 24 months
white pepper
pistils of saffron from L'Aquila
lemon juice
butter
extra virgin olive oil 

METHOD
for the tongue broth
Put the cold ingredients in a pot closed with a lid and simmer until the tongue is cooked. 

for the onion broth
Bake the onions at 160°C for around an hour. Remove the pulp, blend and strain.

for the Grana Padano water
Bring the water to the boil and pour over the diced crusts. Leave to decant.

for the spaghettini 
Put three parts of Grana Padano water, two parts of tongue broth and one of onion broth into a pot, with one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and the saffron pistils. Bring to the boil, add the spaghettini and cook for 7 minutes (if necessary, add more water). At the end of the cooking, mix as if it were risotto, with butter, Grana Padano, white pepper and a drop of lemon juice. Season with salt and serve.