There’s something about pasta

For the seventh year, the day dedicated to durum wheat returns. Here are the chefs and a preview

25-02-2016
Carlo Cracco (left) and Riccardo Felicetti (in the middle). The chef from Milan will open the seventh edition of IdentitĂ  di Pasta, on Tuesday 8th March in Sala Blu 1, supported since 2010 by pasta producer Felicetti. This year the event showcases some great interpreters, from Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani to Nicola Fossaceca, from Riccardo Camanini to Matias Perdomo, from Cristina Bowerman to Peppe Guida, Ciccio Sultano and Davide Scabin (photo by Brambilla/Serrani)
 

Carlo Cracco (left) and Riccardo Felicetti (in the middle). The chef from Milan will open the seventh edition of Identità di Pasta, on Tuesday 8th March in Sala Blu 1, supported since 2010 by pasta producer Felicetti. This year the event showcases some great interpreters, from Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani to Nicola Fossaceca, from Riccardo Camanini to Matias Perdomo, from Cristina Bowerman to Peppe Guida, Ciccio Sultano and Davide Scabin (photo by Brambilla/Serrani)
 

«This year Identità di Pasta celebrates its seventh edition. At the end of each of the previous ones, I always thought we had reached the top, in terms of interpreters but most of all of ideas. Then the following year I was always proved wrong. I hope I’ll find myself in the same situation on Wednesday the 9th of March 2016», says Riccardo Felicetti of the homonymous pasta factory in Predazzo (Trentino), as well as president of Ipo, the International pasta organisation uniting pasta producers from all around the world.

It’s a comforting premise to launch the day dedicated to pasta on Tuesday 8th of March in sala Blu 1, 7 editions after the first one in 2010: «Over these years, the theme has literally exploded, and not only with regards to fine dining, which has been a propeller for all the segments in the sector. We must thank Paolo Marchi for the brilliant idea of giving back dignity to a symbol of Made in Italy that is too often debased».

«This edition’s premises», ends Felicetti, «are important: the names of the speakers all belong to people who know the subject of pasta well. Professionals who have been studying it for a long time, they’re not improvising for the sake of makin something spectacular».

The "overcooked" pasta by Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani of Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia, Milan

The "overcooked" pasta by Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani of Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia, Milan

For the first time after three editions, Carlo Cracco of restaurant Cracco in Milan will appear (lesson at 10.20 am). In 2013 the chef from Vicenza, at the time with his ex sous-chef Matteo Baronetto beside him, had surprised the audience with a memorable dish: Rigatoni with mastica (stressing the “i”) and raw porcini. He’s now ready to update his very rich portfolio with twenty years of first courses (we had written about it recently here). Alessandro Negrini and Fabio Pisani: the guys from Il Luogo di Aimo e Nadia in Milan will given an encore (at 11.10) of the ‘northern complot’ that took place a few days ago in the Milanese event by Le Strade della Mozzarella: pasta cooked for 50 minutes, as pointed out by Carlo Passera in his feature on that lesson.

Nicola Fossaceca (at 12), at the helm of Al Metrò in San Salvo (Chieti), will bring his special interpretation of horse meat from two very distant regions, Abruzzo and Japan: «I’ll use seaweeds and Japanese vinegar. Another recipe will be my take on a classic Italian dish. An Italian dish, not necessarily with pasta, but re-interpreted as a pasta dish».

Semplicemente pasta, [Simply pasta] is the title of the lesson by Riccardo Camanini of restaurant Lido 84 in Gardone Riviera (at 12.50). «I chose it», says the shy chef from the province of Brescia, «because I’m not very fond of self-celebrations, of themes that try to give too importance to what we do». We’ll have «a Cacio e pepe, by all means, but with Felicetti rigatoni kamut cooked in the bladder of a pig and Felicetti egg tagliatelle prepared with mimosa flowers. My homage to the 8th of March».

Meno per più, uguale libertà [Minus times plus, equals freedom] The title of the lesson by Matias Perdomo (at 2.10 pm) of Contraste (Milan) is already special. What does the chef from Uruguay mean? «It means ‘Less volume times more desire = the freedom of appreciating dry pasta for what it truly is. It’s the evolution of 7-8 years of research on this food». He’ll present two techniques, with a surprise at the end.
Pasta and fine dining: one day later. Use and re-use of pasta. Cristina Bowerman of Glass Hostaria knows what she wants for her lesson (at 3 pm): «I will present my metamorphic version of pasta served the day after. And a non-immediate cooking of dry pasta, in a cold infusion for 24 hours».

Davide Scabin, here at Identità Expo with his second Giuseppe Rambaldi, colleague Domenico Della Salandra and Eleonora Cozzella, presenting Identità di Pasta in Milan in all seven editions. The chef from Rivoli will close the works on the 8th of March

Davide Scabin, here at Identità Expo with his second Giuseppe Rambaldi, colleague Domenico Della Salandra and Eleonora Cozzella, presenting Identità di Pasta in Milan in all seven editions. The chef from Rivoli will close the works on the 8th of March

After Camanini and Fossaceca, here comes another absolute debut at Identità (at 3.50 pm). It’s Peppe Guida of Antica Osteria Nonna Rosa in Vico Equense (Naples). Dish number one: «Spaghetto aglio e olio senza olio [Spaghetti with garlic and oil but without oil]. A totally vegetal dish and with no fat, to show you can have a great dish with two ingredients we all have at home». Second chapter: «Calle pasta with shallot, cheese and 'nduja, a rather unusual take on Genovese sauce».

The products from Ragusa will be the pillar for two dishes by Ciccio Sultano, chef at Duomo in Ibla, one made with dry pasta and one with fresh egg pasta. «There will be tomato», he says over the phone, «as well as a sauce made with sanapo, a wild mustard we use like almonds. For us Sicilians pasta is long. We see short formats as a reduction. Perhaps, in a Freudian way, we always feel we need be virile».

Last year, the day dedicated to pasta ended with Massimo Bottura. This year, the last to get on stage – moderated by journalist Eleonora Cozzella, who has presented all the 6 previous editions – will be Davide Scabin of Combal.zero, the pasta king (at 5.30). As usual, the content of his lesson is secret. We’re all waiting.