There are plenty of wine and food events in Campania. And it seems that one occasion naturally…casually rolls into another. So it was refreshing when Tommaso Esposito invited me to a little get together last week. His idea was simple…simple and intriguing. He wanted to talk about pasta. Talk about pasta with fellow food and wine journalists, bloggers, and photographers. Try different pasta shapes, sizes, textures. Compare, contrast, analyze. Discuss, explore, discover. Have fun.
The scene…a familiar place, Dolce & Salato in Maddaloni (Ce). Chef Giuseppe Daddio and his team was ready. The water was boiling. The tomato sauce simmering on the stove. Bring it on...
A delicious sugo al pomodoro made with San Marzano tomatoes paired with 6 different pastas from 3 different pasta companies, Pastificio Leonessa (Cercola, Na), Dei Campi (Gragnano, Na) and Le Gemme del Vesuvio (Castello di Cisterna, Na). Our ‘job’ was figure out which pasta worked well...and why. Six plates…six assaggini…six servings of pasta al sugo. Riccioli, paccheri, spaghetti. Rigatoni, calle, pappardelle. One topic naturally...casually led to another. The history of pasta, in Naples of course…The tomato sauce…the tomatoes. The cooking times, the cooking techniques. Grated cheese on top or not. There were those who preferred the spaghetti…others the rigatoni. There were those hooked on the paccheri. Then there were who were just hooked.
|riccioli al pomodoro-pastificio leonessa|
|paccheri al pomodoro-dei campi|
|spaghetti al pomodoro-le gemme del vesuvio|
|rigatoni al pomodoro-pastificio leonessa|
|calle al pomodoro-dei campi|
|pappadelle al pomodoro-le gemme del vesuvio|
But the game was not over. Esposito and Daddio had other dishes on the menu. Another six plates …six assaggini…six different sauces. The kitchen came to life…Nodini with cannellini beans, Malfadine with lonzardo, San Marzano tomatoes, and ricotta, Bucatini cacio and pepe (pepper). Fusillo Napoletano with cod and ‘finta’ carbonara, spaghetti with garlic, olive oil , and hot pepper, Fresine with pork ragu’ and conciato Romano cheese. It was exciting to watch Daddio’s team in action. I left my seat on numerous occasions to get a closer look as each dish was being prepared…I asked one question which naturally…casually led to another.
|nodini con i fagiolini-pastificio leonessa|
|malfadine con lonzardo, filetto di pomodoro, e ricotta-dei campi|
|bucatini cacio e pepe-le gemme del vesuvio|
|fusilli napoletano con guance di baccalà e finta carbonara-pastificio leonessa|
|spaghetti aglio olio e peperoncino-dei campi|
|fresine con ragu' di maialino e conciato romano-le gemme del vesuvio|
Our ‘job’ here? I thought about it over dessert. I thought about the 12 dishes of pasta I had tried over our nearly two hour lunch. Twelve plates…twelve assaggini. Pasta paired with wines such as Pallagrello nero and Pallagrello bianco and a refreshing cerasuolo rosé.
Our ‘job’ here? To talk about pasta with fellow food and wine journalists, bloggers, and photographers. Try different pasta shapes, sizes, textures. Compare, contrast, analyze. Discuss, explore, discover.
Our ‘job’ here? To have fun. It’s a dirty job, but somebody’s gotta do it…
And maybe go back and do it again...