The classic Neapolitan recipe calls for semolina and ricotta cheese, but in Bacoli - Chef Grande's hometown - they prepare it a little differently. I was curious, so the chef suggested I swing by La Bifora and get a sneak peak at his childhood migliaccio memories.
|Chef Michele Grande and Signora Maria Cristina|
So, there I was, a couple of weeks later, back in the kitchen, ready to watch, take notes and of course...taste. Chef Grande had already put the water on to cook the pasta. In Bacoli, he told me, they use very thin spaghetti, not semolina.
Cooked spaghetti was added to a bowl with sugna - lard. Grande stirred while his mom beat eggs to add to the mixture just as it cooled down.
Then? Eggs, a bit of sugar, anise liqueur, limoncello, and vanilla were added.
Amazing aromas wafted up as Grande continued to stir and stir and stir. Until finally he and his mom were satisfied. It was ready to be cooked. Signora Maria Cristina told me that some cook their migliaccio in the oven, but she prefers to fry it.
The procedure is similar to that of making a frittata. The mixture is poured into an oiled non stick pan.
This is where experience comes into play. Grande and his mom took turns checking to make sure they weren't cooking too quickly or that they weren't sticking to the pan,
Finally the migliaccio cakes were ready. As soon as they cooled down a bit, Grande added a bit of powdered sugar, cut me a slice, and handed me a fork.
As he did, I was sure I saw his eyes light up as they had done a couple of weeks earlier...
They were dancing.
And after a bite or two, I understood why.