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Spaghetti/ Zucchini and Provolone del Monaco D.O.P.

Busiate/ Red Sicilian pesto

 

Tortellini Bolognesi/ Parmigiano Reggiano D.O.P. and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena D.O.P.


Reginette/ Meat sauce of 'Nduja and sausage

Su Filindeu/ Clarified lamb broth



        ADDITIONS

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Bistecca Fiorentina

Australian Black Angus 1KG Porterhouse/ Tbone cooked traditionally over hardwood charcoal. Serves 4-6 persons.



Spaghetti alla Nerano

 Like many other dishes, this pasta dish carries the namesake of the village where it originated. Invented in the village of Nerano in the 1950s on the Sorrento peninsula, specific ingredients were used to set it apart from the standard pasta and zucchini prepared across Italy. In the kitchen of Maria Grazia, Provolone del Monaco (D.O.P.), a very regional semi-aged cheese made from the milk of the Agerolese cow, along with the clever use of basil were added to elevate an otherwise ordinary number with layers of sweet and slightly spicy notes. The local breed of cattle, called "mucca agerolese", was originally used in the production of milk, a symbol of Agerola, known for milk-producing livestock that grazed the high altitudes of the Lattari mountains. Provolone del Monaco (D.O.P.) is produced exclusively in the area of the Lattari which must include no less than 20% of the milk from the ancient breed.
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In the old days, the cheesemakers in Agerola (a Neapolitan hamlet known for its beautiful mountain landscape) dressed in large cloaks made from sack cloth to protect them from the cold humidity, which incidentally made them look like monks. The same provolone cheese peddled by these cheesemakers soon became known as the monk's cheese - 'Monaco' means monk. 

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Spaghetti—easily underappreciated especially in its purest form and use—is the perfect vehicle in this case given the tendency for starch to be better released to aid in the cohesive binding of condiment and pasta. With the rugged profile of bronze-drawn spaghetti, the cling factor is doubled.

 

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Busiate con pesto alla Trapanese

The busiata is a shape made with the ferretto, which is a wire or iron rod (the word "ferro" refers) that ingenious cooks of the past would use to flatten out the thicker pasta shapes to eliminate that thick centre and make a tubular form to faciliate even (and quicker) cooking. Skilled pasta makers are known to use this particular tool, displaying extreme dexterity with their hands, shaping delicate fusilli, fileja, busiate, minchiareddhi along with many other similar versions of the tubular pasta of the south. It would not be uncommon to pass on a ferretto through the generations earning it a place on the pedestal of family heirlooms.
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In Trapani, Sicily, Busiate is like a fusilli in its helical guise but almost as long as spaghetti. It adopted the name with reference to the Sicilian term "buso" or a local reed/ grass with which pasta makers would coil diagonally down the length of the reed to fabricate the pasta. Traditionally served alongside a seasoning of 'pesto alla trapanese' made from tomatoes, almonds, basil and garlic; a non-cook condiment as with the pesto genoese of the north. It is a poor dish, included among the traditional Sicilian agri-food products recognized by the Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, on the proposal of the Sicilian Region. 

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Tortellini alla panna

 
The tortellino is the symbol and pride of Emilian gastronomy, along with Lasagne and 
Tagliatelle which forms the trifecta defining Bolognese cooking in the eyes of the world. In 
1974, the Accademia Italiana della Cucina (a prestigious association that protects Italian 
cultural and food traditions) along with La Dotta Confraternita del Tortellino (the Consortium that 
safeguards the authenticity of the product), registered with the Chamber of 
Commerce of Bologna under notary, the composition in materials and profile of the true tortellino. It is considered by many as the “king of pasta” and rightly so given the ingredients, time and 
specialist skills necessary in its processing. As chef patron Massimo Bottura famously quipped: “if you don’t believe in God, believe in tortellini”. The size, weight and composition of each tortellino served is in accordance with parameters of the registered recipe. They are 100% handmade, produced with traditional methods without the “taint” of modern machinery.
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The condiment that carries this magnificent product is passionately and indisputably sworn into all forms of traditional culinary literature and recipes - a broth made from various cuts of meat, usually capon. The classic 'Tortellini in brodo' is religion and therefore the use of any other alternative vehicles are vehemently protested by the Bolognesi. Cesarina Masi was a well known cook from post-war years that created her beloved version of Tortellini alla panna or Tortellini in cream. Purists believed this to be undesirable as the heaviness of the condiment masks the delicate flavours of the traditional filling. However, there remains a few in the "underbelly" of Emilian gastronomy today that applies this very condiment to dress the filled pasta.  The one I encountered in a town outside the city of Bologna is a historic trattoria in San Giovanni in Persiceto. Antica Trattoria del Mirasole serves up handmade tortellini in panna obtained from the thin layer of cream surfacing from the evening milking of cows used for the production of Parmigiano Reggiano - a tradition that can be traced through the restaurant's very own family of cheese-makers since the 1800s. 



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Reginette con ragu Calabrese 

The makers of extruded pasta in Gragnano, Campania are known for the best kind of bronze cut pasta, attributing its worldwide acclaim to its strategic position in the Gulf of Naples - the coast, sheltered by the Apennines from dry air of the north and the natural sea breeze ushering in humidity from the Tyrrhenian provides the perfect conditions for drying Pasta di Gragnano.  Other than the use of high quality durum wheat and exclusive access to water low in minerals from Monti Lattari, the use of bronze dies to fabricate the IGP-accorded pasta are integral to creating the perfect porosity for a well rounded, hard-to-beat product. The use of bronze moulds in the case of reginette (flat ribbons with knurled edges), further enhances its "sauce-grabbing" game, thanks to its highly functional shape to begin with. 
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Reginette (Italian term 'Regina' or queen) 

 or Mafaldine ('little Mafaldas') were given the name by the Italian government in remembrance of Princess Mafalda of Savoy, as a reminder of the tragic events in WWII that led to her untimely demise.  
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Su Filindeu

Su Filindeu (or Fili di dio in standard Italian), literally meaning the threads of God, is a variety of Italian pasta prepared exclusively in the Sardinian province of Nuoro. It is the world’s rarest and most endangered pasta variety - allegedly, only a handful of women are in possession of the knowledge and skill today to produce it. It is this reason that Su Filindeu is listed as some of the most endangered foods at risk of extinction - the Ark of Taste initiated by the Slow Food Foundation has listed Su Filindeu among its ranks of endangered traditional foods.
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Although the dough is made with very basic ingredients: durum wheat semolina and water, the tactile gestures are highly nuanced and the recipe, non-existent. Su Filindeu is extremely time-consuming and hard to prepare that for the past 200 years it used to be a sacred dish, served only to those who complete a 33km pilgrimage from Nuoro to the village of Lula for the biannual Feast of San Francesco (St. Francis). Upon arrival at Santuario di San Francesco, the pilgrims are awarded with a bowl of Su Filindeu, cooked and served in a rich sheep broth with a generous portion of local sheep’s milk cheese.
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I was fortunate enough to meet Claudia Casu three years ago, a pasta maker and my mentor from Sassari in Sardinia, who is an expert where Sardinian cuisine (and Su Filindeu) is concerned—she is the only Sardinian woman outside of Sardinia that is able to produce this ancient pasta. It was through her that my once naive ambition of accomplishing the extremely difficult Filindeu-making technique became a reality.  
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The Su Filindeu pasta on the menu is produced using only 100% durum wheat, water, salt and most traditionally, with my hands. It is a dish authentically enjoyed in sheep's broth, but a close version is offered instead - a shard of Su Filindeu served over welsh lamb in a clarified lamb broth it was poached in. A drizzle of garlic and rosemary oil to finish.
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