Italian masters Joe Vargetto, Federica Andrisani, Matteo Fulchiati, Andreas Papadakis and Andrea Vignali on how to improve your pasta
So what does a chef who makes pasta all day, every day, come home from work eat? More pasta, of course! Well, that’s at least true for these four Melbourne chefs, who can’t get enough of the Italian staple.
Her favorite pasta at home
Cavatelli with sugo. When he was a child, Vargetto’s mother made cavatelli for special occasions. âI’ve always associated cavatelli with happy times,â he says. âIt was a family affair. Once we had made all the pasta, it would be on a tablecloth, so everyone would take a corner and bring the pasta to the guest room and put it on the bed to dry. “
His confinement hit
The chef has concocted many exciting dishes since the start of the pandemic, from pani ca meusa with fried lasagna. Her mother-in-law inspired the latter. He reproduced his recipe (which includes ham and eggs), before crumbling and frying squares of lasagna. At Mister Bianco, he sold hundreds of servings in less than an hour.
When making fresh pasta, make extra portions and freeze them for next time. âIf you want to gain half a kilo, do two,â he said.
Favorite pasta around the house: Andrisani, who grew up in Naples before moving to Tasmania, no longer eats pasta as often as before. âMy sister has celiac disease, but my parents didn’t know she was older. She didn’t like pasta when she was little, but my mom always told her that pasta was good for her and that she had to finish eating her pasta. I was angry for my sister so I ate my food and her food. I think I’ve done too much, “she explains. But when summer comes, she can’t resist a thick crayfish spaghetti with lemon zest and lots of parsley.
The pasta dish she loves to make at Fico: A tortellone stuffed with mashed mushrooms and a runny quail egg yolk. It is served on a bÃ©chamel grilled with a blowtorch and covered with fried leeks.
His advice (s): âWhen you cook pasta, some people don’t salt the water, I don’t know why! Salt it heavily. And always cook pasta a minute or two less than it’s supposed to be, to make sure it’s al dente. And always finish cooking the pasta in the pan with the sauce and a little water so that the pasta can suck the flavor of the sauce, âshe recommends.
Its essential pasta
When at home, Papadakis tends to seek out dry pasta. âLast week I probably cooked the same pasta for myself four times: garlic, chili, anchovies and broccolini. Very simple and easy. Most of the time, I come home very late, I forget to eat at work and I’m starving, âhe says.
“Once we had all the pasta made, it would be on a tablecloth, so everyone would take a corner and bring the pasta to the guest room and put it on the bed to dry.”
A signature dish
The casarecce with sausage and radicchio has been on and off the menu at Tipo 00 for six years. The pork and fennel sausage is homemade and pan-fried with garlic, chili and radicchio. âIt’s a very comforting dish, a lot of our hospo friends come asking for it,â he says.
Quality ingredients are a must, keep it simple and cook your pasta properly (i.e. al dente). âI use a lot of anchovies, I love them. They give pasta an incredible flavor, âhe says. âUsing three or four ingredients is the key to keeping your sauce tasty and not overwhelming it. “
Her favorite pasta at home
âI really enjoy making pasta, even on my day off. This is my passion. My favorite at home is the lasagna. Where I come from [Parma, in northern Italy], there is the highest standard of lasagna with green pasta sheets. The dough is made with spinach, which changes the texture of the pasta. It’s even tastier than normal dishes, âhe says.
A classic from its region
Fulchiati is originally from Parma, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. This province is the homeland of tortellini, but in the hometown of Fulchiati they are called cappelletti, which translates to little hats. âIt is very popular now in Parma in the winter to sell cups of cappelletti in brodo to take away so that you can walk the streets while eating your cappelletti.â
âKeep it simple. A good ragÃ¹ is always the way to go, especially if you have some spare time. Or cacio e pepe. My wife and I always make cacio e pepe when we are hungry and we don’t have any. a lot of ingredients at home. It requires very few ingredients, but with the right technique, it is very good.”
The pasta that put it on the menu
Tortellini with a garnish of cacio e pepe, which he started making at the start of the pandemic, after being dismissed from his post. He started selling it as part of his pasta delivery service, and the popularity of this dish (and others) led him to open a restaurant and deli. Al Dente Enoteca earlier this year with Davide Bonadiman.
Her favorite pasta at home
âI haven’t spent a lot of time at home since the restaurant opened. The restaurant is my home, I’m here for seven days, âhe says. But when he does manage to take the day off sooner or later, he’s a fan of stuffed pasta, “lobster or something tasty.”
âYou don’t have to stick to a recipe. If you want to make pasta with filling at home, have fun with the filling. You can mix a little cheese with seasonal vegetables and have a good vegetarian paste or a lobster with a light cheese like ricotta to keep the flavor of the fish. Or a good roast beef in white or red wine.
These four chiefs were supposed to participate in the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival‘s The Big Spaghetti event, a big pasta party at Queen Victoria Market. The winter edition of the festival has been canceled due to the pandemic, but fingers crossed that The Big Spaghetti can take place in 2022 as part of the festival 30th anniversary.