Klugmann, Wild Strawberries

At Le Strade della mozzarella, the chef takes on the infamous strawberry risotto. While Scabin...

21-04-2016

I’m always pleased to attend Le Strade della Mozzarella in Capaccio, Paestum, Campania; arriving from Naples, beyond Salerno and Battipaglia too. Edition number 9 for Albert Sapere and Barbara Guerra’s idea. Buffalo milk mozzarella is like gold to this territory (yet the absence after eight years of the Consorzio della Mozzarella di Bufala Campana stands out) and those invited to get on one of the two stages, in the blue and red rooms, must interpret it avoiding what’s already been done as much as possible, or else it wouldn’t make sense.

Two ideas, two recipes, yet not everyone has two recipes so some, after making a mozzarella-based recipe, prepare something different. As with Antonia Klugmann at the end of the first day on Monday 18th. From her Argine in Vencò, on the border between Friuli and Slovenia, after Mozzarella and citrus fruits, the third ingredient being camomile, Antonia moved to what everyone really hadn’t expected: Spaghetti with strawberries.

Surprise, the same Davide Scabin had when, after preparing a new interpretation of Caprese, last Saturday he found out that Gualtiero Marchesi had had the same idea, and it was also broadcasted on TV, two months ago. So the chef from piedmont put aside his tomato and mozzarella and debuted in Paestum with an evergreen like Zupizza. He said he should friendly tell Marchesi to get lost: «When facing a master, you need to step aside, but why must he be still inventing dishes? Gualtiero, why don’t you go play bowls and leave us to express ourselves? My Caprese was a good idea and well executed». Except he then presented at the end of the lesson (and the congress) a sweet caprese.

So Klugmann: «Spaghetti with strawberries to give new value to such a vituperated dish as Risotto with strawberries, and, to be clear, by matching strawberries and tomatoes, two fruits, I was simply inspired by one of Ferran Adrià’s most famous desserts. I invented nothing».

Antonia started from an extraction of strawberry juice at high temperature «so as to obtain a stable juice which, when in contact with heat, won’t separate. This will also give a sour note». The spaghetti, 240 grams for 4 people, that is to say 60 grams each, but we’re speaking of a restaurant portion, are boiled for 5 minutes that tossed into a pan with the strawberry juice to finish the cooking: «The secret to make everything perfectly combined, when tossing the content, is using a large pan».

In another pan she puts garlic and oil, and when they’re hot she pours strawberries and tomatoes, which must not be too sweet. Date tomatoes or san marzano, one fourth of the weight of the strawberries, more or less, respectively one hectogram and four. Another note: «An idea of red onion, just a quarter, cut into stripes. Pay lots of attention so that the onion doesn’t caramelise and acquire a flavour I don’t like. Then I will pass the fruit in a fine vegetable mill that Piergiorgio Parini introduced to me. It’s time to serve: in the spaghetti bowl, with the sauce on top, to which a drop of oil and a pinch of salt was added. Pasta gives the sour note and the sauce the sweet one. The final touch: wild garlic because tomato calls for garlic. I repeat: I’m not inventing anything, this dish is all about pasta».

I chose this recipe to sum up the two days at Le Strade della Mozzarella 2016. I’ll add Enrico Crippa’s tacos: after you taste them you forget all the other tacos you’ve ever had; the buffalo milk mozzarella used by Franco Pepe on his dishes «producers don’t push it because given the same weight of the classic mozzarella, its liquid content is at least 30% less»; the already mentioned Scabin and his fried mozzarella but also his new project for the dining room, which aims at creating a new role, a mix of cook and waiter; the Costardi brothers’ and Elisa Bellavia’s discussion on the dining room; Alexandre Gauthier and Oriol Castro; melon and mozzarella by Gert de Mangeleer


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Paolo Marchi

born in Milan in March 1955, at Il Giornale for 31 years dividing himself between sports and food, since 2004 he's the creator and curator of Identità Golose. twitter @oloapmarchi