If there is something that unifies Italy, well, that is food. With all the national/regional/local differences which Italy is completely cut through by, still all Italians agree that
food is something essential that defines our culture.
It’s part of the way we live, see things and celebrate our lifestyle.
More than a hundred years ago, a gifted food amateur named Pellegrino Artusi wrote a book and paid from his own pocket to see it published. The name of the book is The Science of Cooking and the Art of Eating Well. Today this manual is regarded as one of the most ancient and compelling cooking book ever written and Artusi, the “Dean of Italian cuisine”, is not just a food celebrity but a man whose work is still published nowadays in several countries. Whether he was conscious or not of what he was doing, he actually gave Italian cuisine a name and an identity, allowing us to see , cook and work on recipes which were mostly orally transmitted, unifying a the culinary culture of a country (sort of) just a few years after the unification of the nation under one flag.
Browsing through the book, we realised that all these recipes that belong to our culinary past and are major part of our modern cuisine, were in fact a little different from the way Italians have got to know them afterwards.
This is the reason why we decided to start the Artusi series: taking off from one Italian recipe dated 100 years ago or so we try and imagine Italy by that time, working a bit on either new or traditional recipes, as usual, and we come up with a menu which goes around one iconic Artusi’s recipe.
For our first date, we are going to propose a menu without tomato.
Quite a while after the discovery of America by Colombo, produces such as corn, potato and tomato were introduced to the Mediterrean diet. What did we find on the Artusi’s manual?
Bolognese sauce existed before tomato was brought to Italy. What does this mean?
The original Bolognese recipe (even if not the official one) collected by Artusi was made from no tomato at all.
So why not to offer that recipe, strictly following all the passages and procedures, and create a BackDoor menu around it, imagining traditional Italian recipes as if tomatoes were never brought to Italy.
Next event on Sunday 20th of January sees “A peninsula without tomatoes” struggling with its modern culinary roots and try and adapt.
| COMPLIMENTARY GLASS OF BELLINI COCKTAIL |
| BRUSCHETTA | traditionally made in Latium and Tuscany from basil leaves, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and fresh tomatoes, what this quick delicious starter could be like without its main redingredient? A peace of bread with the random leaves on it or a new tasty Italian alternative?
| ACQUA PAZZA | In Naples fishermen used to make a super quick broth to add extra flavor to their white fish. Hot olive oil, garlic, fresh tomatoes and water: that’s all. They called it Acqua Pazza “crazy water” and it became one of the most popular and elegant style of cooking fish in Italy. And if tomatoes were not to land in Naples at all ?;
| PARMIGIANA DI MELANZANE | In Emilia-Romagna this is one of the kings of their regional cuisine: deep fried aubergine layered with mozzarella cheese, tomato sauce, fresh basil and parmesan cheese. We take off the tomato sauce and play a bit with the recipe so to enjoy a brand new white Parmigiana!;
| TAGLIATELLE ALLA BOLOGNESE| Before tomato arrived to the Bel Paese, that’s what Bolognese was all about: a super tasty meat white sugo to add to homemade tagliatelle pasta. We’ll just follow the 100 and something else years old recipe regarded by Culinary Dean Pellegrino Artusi;
| POLPETTE AL SUGO | What is the Italian stereotype without meatballs floating in a sea of tomato sauce? Well I guess you’ll have to find out yourselves. White sauce veal and pork meatballs are coming!;
| DESSERT | (Chef reavealed the name of the our first dessert of the year: the Discovery of Tomato!)
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