The pasta recipes is old and always new. By virtue of our pasta-like DNA is for Italians the familiar, traditional, habitual food and we like it if it is equal to itself (no one can ever beat to the palate of each one the pasta of childhood, with its inimitable flavor and above all reassuring). Yet for its versatility, for its being so ready to embrace other ingredients, from meat to fish, from cheese to vegetables, it is potentially always different. Italian chefs increasingly appreciate these qualities, so even in haute cuisine pasta recipes enters the cards, ready to dress differently from season to season (especially long types of pasta). Among the proposals of dry pasta tasted in Italy in 2020 here is the personal ranking of Sapori. Not a classification of chefs, of course, but of dishes, where the great classics do not appear, which remain so with the changing of years and menus (with one exception, which we will explain).
1. “Spaghetto allo scoglio”, by Giuseppe Iannotti of Kresios of Telese Terme
It is one of 30 courses of a tasting menu perfect for execution, rhythm, technical mastery, flavor. And it stands out for its ability to remain in the memory of palate head. On paper it is precisely “spaghetto allo scoglio”, but the psychedelic color and the total absence – visual – of fish, shellfish, herbs and anything else, it is immediately clear that it is not the same dish that we have eaten over and over again. The spaghetti are cooked in a cold infusion (lasting for hours) of almost 50 fish products, practically a concentrated extract of fish and herbs. Red is a precious gift of mullet and carapace juices (and in fact you can catch the echo of a kind of bisque). An immense taste, a “rock” cubed. If you add the millimetric cooking point of Setaro spaghetti, you understand why this is the pasta dish of the year.
2. A pasta that you can’t eat more delicious
It is called – but it is a game – CarboCacioGeno because it is a mix of carbonara, cacio&pepepe, genovese. The author is Davide Scabin from Combal. Zero in Rivoli (To) who presented the dish during the last edition of Identità di Pasta (as part of Identità Golose in Milan). “Barmen have bottles of Martini, Campari, Gin etc. and make different drinks using different quantities of the same bases. I decided to be a bit of a mixologist myself”. So he took three classic condiments and made a cocktail that is a new sauce, with well-calibrated doses and several times tested to achieve balance. All three, before the mix, are performed according to tradition, except that in the cacio e pepe he put a bit of clove (“which, however, was once used to stretch the pepper” he recalls). However, the super-condiment (pecorino and pepper “pulled” at the time, carbonara with egg cooked for an hour at 62 degrees and a Genoese lamb) used on the Rigatoni Monograno Matt Felicetti, is persuasive and elegant. “The name will not like – he says – because it reminds an ogm”. But here instead every element is like a grandmother would do it.
3. Can a tribute to the amatriciana be vegan and exquisite?
Yes, it can. And for Pietro Leeman, chef at Joya in Milan (the only starred vegetarian restaurant), it must. Even those who taste it with a bit of mistrust would then be conquered because it is taste that prevails and convinces beyond belief in vegetarianism. A dish of which one would like the encore and the trio, delicious and complete: the roasted spaghetti n.6 of Barilla’s organic line are seasoned with sautéed red onion, placed on a sauce of tomato paste, full-bodied and sweet. To vaguely recall the sensation of crispy pillow, toasted almonds and smoked cauliflower cream. Finally a tuft of dill. “I called this reinterpretation ‘I think, so I am’ – says the chef – to represent the fact that every thinking being can turn into what he wants by overcoming every difficulty”.
4. Spaghetti with marc and pigeon livers, by Lorenzo Stefanini
Stefano Terigi and Benedetto Rullo, the three young chefs of the restaurant Il Giglio di Lucca. The dish, presented at the contest “Il Primo dei Campi” is a dish that speaks Tuscan, with French-Japanese contamination (in France and Japan the chefs worked). And it really condenses a world in three forks. The spaghetti from Gragnano Pastificio dei Campi are cooked in an infusion of Syrah marc, chosen halfway through fermentation so that the acidity but also the residual sugar can be exploited. The terrine of livers, which includes some Port and also the bottom of the pigeon, is cut down and used grated at the time of presentation, on the spaghetti mantecati.
To the taste seems to be sucked in the past: renaissance taste, sweet, ferrous, buttery. A technical yet sumptuous dish.
5. Thimbles in minestrone oil by Cristiano Tomei
Do you know the smell of minestrone? Not the sulphurous smell of cabbage or the earthy smell of bitter carrots. But that appetizing smell of when the vegetables are fresh and delicate and the extra virgin quality binds everything to improve and sublimate the mix of vegetables. Here, in that minestrone, typical of Tuscany, the oil over low heat rises to the surface and in it all the aromas of the dish are contained. This is what Tomei creates, and with this elixir he condenses the Monograno striped thimbles in a dish that contains the scent of his grandmother’s cooking in three tablespoons of technical mastery.
6. Long pasta, buffalo butter, gin, lemon and caviar
That is, when simplicity is sublime. Few ingredients where everything is played on the quality of the pantry and the hand of the cook. Alessandro Narducci chef at Acquolina in Rome chooses a very large spaghettone (the Valentino Monograno) playing on the callous texture, the velvet of butter, the aroma of gin and the fat sumptuousness of caviar that balances with a moment of lemon. Pure Goduria.
7. Spaghetti with tomato sauce
Viviana Varese is the author of this spaghetti with double tomato, lemon, and Parmesan mousse. Spaghetti with tomato sauce is a great test for a chef. Difficult to equal those of the heart as difficult is to respect the tradition succeeding in giving a personal touch. In this case the sauce is made with two preparations: a pan-fried tomato sauce and a roasted tomato sauce, the choice falls on Verrigni spaghettini, then to garnish the dish a basil sauce and Parmesan cheese in a creamy form that those who eat can dose to taste mousse by mouthful. The plus that denotes mastery is being able to keep al dente a format that requires just 1 minute and 90” of cooking.
8. Peppe Guida, spaghetti with broccoli and lupins
The vegetable garden behind the house and the “poor” cousin of the clams for a dish with bitter and iodine notes, to which is added the crunchy-peachy ‘nduja toast. From the man who “sussurava alla pasta” another small masterpiece in which condiment and pasta of the Pastificio dei Campi merge into a unicum, demonstrating that each format calls, to exalt itself, its ideal co-protagonist.
9. The “Spaghettoni Benedetto Cavalieri” with Mediterranean perfumes
Famous for his risottos and fresh pastas, the chef also hits the mark when he dedicates himself to durum wheat. The pasta is seasoned with black olives, fennel seeds and oregano, seasoned with mixed seeds and Parmesan cheese, served with a mint ricotta and red onion sauce. How to run in the countryside and breathe deeply.
10. Spaghetti of native Sicilian grains
From Ciccio Sultano del Duomo di Ragusa Ibla, a dish that is a hymn to simple Sicilian opulence. The bitterness and astringency of the asparagus struggle and end up equal to the sweetness and fatness of the hedgehog. Your favorite pasta maker? Himself: in this list Sultan is the only one who produces his pasta at home, even if it is dry pasta from durum wheat semolina. Usually the one made on his own in restaurants is fresh pasta (soft wheat flour). He has set up a laboratory where he produces and dries spaghetti, paccheri etc., to be autonomous in this too.
11. Spaghetti with scents of the Orient
They say that spaghetti was born in China? And Carlo Cracco takes a journey backwards, linking the product symbol of Made in Italy to the perfumes of Asia. So the spaghetti Monograno Kamut meet unusual ingredients: matcha green tea, dehydrated fresh wasabi powder and sansho pepper, not very spicy but rich in citrus notes. The three elements bound with butter become a special green sauce. To finish slices of bottarga. Asia has never been so close.
12. Linguine with “Scuncilli, sea urchins and anemones”
Gennaro Esposito from the Torre del Saracino in Seiano di Vico Equense signs a dish that screams sea, iodine and brackish. The touch of dill acts as “terrestrial seaweed” almost as if to mitigate the explosion of the sea. A pleasure for those who love intense flavors, enhanced by the precise cooking point of De Cecco linguine.
13. Anthony Genovese, Root Pacote and oysters
The chef of Pagliaccio di Roma plays with the cooking of pacote (half Pache Monograno, smaller than a half pacchero) which are steamed inside algae. A very different way of cooking pasta. Objective? “The idea is that it vitrifies and remains intact, not freezes”. They are then combined with an emulsion of burnt root stock, cod liver, oyster and anchovies. A concentrate of marine and earthy scents. And an unprecedented consistency under the teeth.
14. Pasta with tuna fish.
But he does it with the class of a starry-eyed man and the poetry of a Trentino man who remembers a piece from his childhood: “When I was a child, canned tuna here in Trento was an exotic product. My mother used to make this pasta for the dinner parties, like Christmas Eve for example. I wanted to make it in my own way”. And here are the Monograno Kamut snails, the Trentingrana sauce and Ferrari Brut, tuna and coffee.