Massimo Bottura: we are family

The tenth lesson from the Modenese chef in New York is a journey across many projects and new dishes from his establishments

27-09-2019
The Bottura team, the protagonists on the second d

The Bottura team, the protagonists on the second day at Identità New York. Left to right, Francesco VincenziKarime LopezMassimo BotturaTakahiko KondoJessica Rosval (photo Brambilla/Serrani)

Evolution or revolution? A journey through the dishes of Osteria Francescana, Casa Maria Luigia and Franceschetta 58. This is the title of the tenth lesson (out of 10 editions, see the others at the bottom) from Massimo Bottura at Identità New York, which on this occasion was held on the rooftop of Eataly Flatiron, in the Serra with the open roof and a nice natural light seeping through the autumn trees.

The terrace is packed with people. «I’m so excited I had to take notes this time», the chef from Modena says, waving the piece of paper with the draft of his speech. «This year I wanted to bring with me the chefs who have been working in our team for a long time». Behind him, Takahiko Kondo, sous chef at Osteria Francescana (with Davide Di Fabio); Karime Lopez, cook at Osteria Gucci in Florence, Francesco Vincenzi of Franceschetta 58 and Jessica Rosval of Casa Maria Luigia appear.

«I wanted to have them here because teams are a key point in every job, not just in restaurants. Staying together one year after the other is not something you can give for granted. We are family». They serve the prologue of the three dishes that will be the focus of the lesson. It’s a Smoked fig with Balsamic vinegar and Cheese, a happy finger-food improvisation. «More than anything, we want to nourish with emotions».

Sbrisolona, cotechino, zabaglione, balsamic vinegar. Casa Maria Luigia

Sbrisolona, cotechino, zabaglione, balsamic vinegar. Casa Maria Luigia

DISH NUMBER ONE. Sbrisolona, cotechino, zabaglione, balsamic vinegar. «At Casa Maria Luigia we have people coming from all around the world. My wife Lara and I have a wish: we want them to feel at home, even when they’re far away from home. This is why we make a special breakfast, with the best mortadella in the world and ricotta which we get fresh each day. Then we turn on the oven and we quickly toast a circle of sbrisolona. On top we place some cotechino cooked sous vid, it’s the most delicious sausage ever, finishing it in ash, to give it a smoky nuance». The zabaglione on top is light, airy, made in the classic way: «It’s a dish that travels across the Renaissance and arrives to our days». An unusual wine pairing: Brunello di Montalcino served cold. Dominga, from Famiglia Cotarella explains the virtues of Le Macioche 2011.

In the residence opened by the Botturas, sharing creates special occasions: «We asked designer Alessandro Mendini to create a table for 8 for our Refettori. We have one at Casa Maria Luigia as well. One day, at the same time we had 2 super-liberals from Boston, 2 Republicans from Texas and 4 junkies from Colorado. We were afraid it would turn into a mess. At the end of the stay, all 8 of them booked for the same days, in 2020. It’s the power of sharing, the democratic and levelling power of dining».


Trout with cacciatora chicken, Franceschetta 58

Trout with cacciatora chicken, Franceschetta 58

DISH NUMER TWOTrout with chicken cacciatora. «It’s now in the menu at Franceschetta 58, our gastro-bistro. The initial input is Chicken cacciatora, a very popular dish in the hills of Modena, with a typical very slow cooking used with chicken cut in pieces. The best part of the recipe, however, is not the meat but the sauce. We have worked on this, and after lots of experiments we made some water from a long extraction of the sauce; we dehydrated it and then made a pesto, which we put inside the trout filet, quickly cooked in a pan. We finish with a powder and a broth of chicken cacciatora».

Is it evolution or revolution? «Evolution, for sure. Because cooking is like art: anything has its story, and we must respect that story, you have to take it seriously. Evolving, however, is also about creating new opportunities, generating current ideas. Evolution is always respectful of what came first». Wine match: Famiglia Cotarella Lazio Merlot Montiano 2015.


Defending nature, Osteria Francescana

Defending nature, Osteria Francescana

DISH NUMBER THREEIn difesa della natura [In defence of nature] Once again, the reference in the heuristics of Bottura is to 20th century German philosopher/performer/artist Joseph Beuys: «He planted oaks in Chelsea, in Minneapolis. He planted ideas. He made the invisible visible. He created a fantastic motto: we should never stop planting. He put a lemon and a light bulb together because he did not give in to the grey duties of everyday life; he always tried to keep a space for poetry and for dreaming. I’m so grateful to him that I asked Taka to design a dessert based on these concepts».

The result is a delicious dessert, which is currently served at the end of the menu at Osteria Francescana. A delicate origami of fox grapes («It took us one week to make 100 of these, damn you Kondo», he jokes) is the friable top of a mix of rosemary gelato with extra virgin olive oil, juice of oak, bay leaves. Wine pairing: Famiglia Cotarella Lazio Ferentano 2015.

The location of the lesson: the Serra d'Autunno, 14th floor at Eataly Flatiron

The location of the lesson: the Serra d'Autunno, 14th floor at Eataly Flatiron

With Francesca Lavazza

With Francesca Lavazza

FINAL CURTAIN.What with an anecdote and the other, we arrive smoothly to the last moments of a speech that lasted one hour and a half. «I’m on this stage for the tenth year in a row. Let me thank Identità Golose: they gave all of us the opportunity to improve, to create a link with this magnificent city, to cook beside the best chefs in the world. We have built a community, and without this we could have not developed the projects we have developed». Last tribute: «Thanks to all the guys at Eataly: in these years you have had the world taste the best products of our country. You’re a cathedral from the 21st century».

7 lessons from Bottura in New York
2018: Culture, contamination, goodness: Massimo Bottura’s 9th time at Identità New York
2017: The entire Bottura-philosophy in just one dish
2016: First: do not waste
2015: White and Bottura: the value of bread
2014: Bottura-Humm: tradition in evolution
2013: Bouloud, quell’uovo è il massimo
2012: l’asse Bottura-Ducasse


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