Bartolini’s sense of pasta

The chef explains his relationship with spaghetti & Co. And uses sea urchins, vegetables and finger lime for his seasoning

28-08-2015
Chef Enrico Bartolini of Devero in Cavenago di Bri

Chef Enrico Bartolini of Devero in Cavenago di Brianza was yesterday’s protagonist at Identità di Pasta

Ask Enrico Bartolini about his recipe for Identità di Pasta and he, as usual, will floor everyone with his seraphic, a little distracted yet determined attitude, with a placid and vaguely smug irony: «I make boiled, well seasoned spaghetti».

There’s fun while cooking at Identità Expo S.Pellegrino, in other words, in the monthly event with a star in fine dining having to deal with the most famous Italian product in the world, in this case guaranteed by an excellent brand, Pastificio Felicetti. With a smile, Bartolini tells about his restaurant at Devero hotel in Cavenago Brianza, two stars.

The professional history of Bartolini is summed up by Eleonora Cozzella: he worked at length around Europe, then with the Alajmo family until his first restaurant, Le Robinie in Oltrepò Pavese, which he left five years ago for Brianza.

Spaghetti on sea urchins

Spaghetti on sea urchins

At Expo the chef explains his relationship with pasta, «fresh or dry? When I was younger, I was part of the current of Italian chefs who preferred filled fresh egg pasta, because dry pasta seemed to me to offer less possibilities for the chef’s creativity. I was prejudiced». This concept was stressed again a little later: «I regret I didn’t continue to make traditional dishes, because they are good and have a place in people’s heart. Yet I was coming from a starred career and thought I had to respect certain expectations by offering innovative recipes».

The story between Bartolini and pasta was then mediated by childhood memories: «as a student, I was the last to arrive home and always found overcooked pasta because it had been prepared for other members of the family who had already finished their meal. I decided to become a cook because I was fed up with eating it like that», he smiles.

Today too, he overcooks pasta, then blends it and mixes it with egg yolk, then wild boar sauce, and then puts it in a chiller to create a sort of bonbon: Carbonara inside the egg.

Enrico Bartolini with Eleonora Cozzella
Enrico Bartolini with Eleonora Cozzella

Let’s go back to the concept of “boiled, well seasoned spaghetti”: «When they’re al dente we season them with oil and that’s it, to give the highest value to pasta, and let the high quality of the flour emerge», in this case these are Spaghettoni Monograno Matt Felicetti.

The richer version, which Bartolini prepared in front of the audience, is the new version of a dish he also serves at Devero: Spaghetti on sea urchins, that is to say with the corals from the sea urchins on the bottom, «they have the perfect texture for a seasoning». On top of the pasta, instead, he puts some finely chopped raw vegetables and herbs (green peppers, cucumbers, wild fennel, dill, chervil), oil and salt. Finally, finger lime, «that is to say small balls that look like caviar, with an almost resinous flavour, which remind of pink pepper».