Le Strade della Mozzarella event will celebrate a truly Italian trio: 8 chefs will express their philosophy using pasta, tomato and mozzarella. Here’s how.

“Pasta, Mozzarella e Pummarola” (Pasta, mozzarella and tomato): the simplest, most delicious and widely imitated, but also the most Italian of all culinary trios is the theme of the latest edition of Le Strade della Mozzarella (literally Mozzarella Roads) a yearly event held each year at Paestum in Campania to celebrate the local Buffalo Mozzarella, a PDO product. Next 13 and 14 April, eight chefs will be called on to express their culinary philosophy using these three ingredients: we have been talking to some of them to learn how to combine their different textures and tastes.

Cristina Bowerman, chef of the Glass Hostaria and Romeo restaurant in Roma, waxes enthusiastic. “I have decided to transform the pasta element into a container. The linguine pasta in the fresine shape produced by Pastificio dei Campi used in one of my dishes is going to become a crunchy cannolo, a sort of sfogliatella to be filled with buffalo ricotta cheese and cherry tomatoes. I am particularly enthusiastic, however, about the mozzarella seitan I am going to use as a ragout after putting it through a meat grinder. Bowerman draws our attention to the temperature factor and advises us to store mozzarella according to the texture we prefer. “The fresher it is, the tougher it tends to be. The more you keep it, the softer it gets. So long as you don’t exaggerate, of course”. She ends the conversation by making an appeal: “If we all know that mozzarella should be eaten at room temperature, why does Italian legislation oblige us to keep it in the fridge?”.

Brothers Manuel and Christian Costardi from the Hotel Cinzia, have set out from Vercelli in Piedmont where rice is an authentic “vocation”. Hence their preamble: “As we see it, rice is love and pasta is fun”, which leads to the question. “Who said pasta has to be a first course?” The answer lies in two recipes: one is sweet and the other savoury. Sotto la Bufala la Pasta Canta (Under the buffalo, the pasta sings, to paraphrase a popular nursery rhyme) sets out from the brilliant idea of using 30% of the mozzarella’s own liquid to cook the pasta, which is first brought to the boil and then removed from the heat to “infuse”, as practised in today’s haute cuisine. The final touch consists in a cream of mozzarella, a drop of pesto sauce and cherry tomatoes. The second dish transforms pasta into an ice-cream made to order, and served with a cream of buffalo mozzarella and a sweet tomato sauce.
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Fine Dining Lovers – 31 marzo 2015