Italian Food Secret: Lombardia - UNICO Restaurant
Presently, the Charming Italian Chef Fabio Baldassarre, who was awarded a star by the 2005 Michelin Guide, lives and works in Milan, but he grew amongst the culinary tradition of Abruzzo and worked in Rome, Salzburg and in the Oxfordshire.
Get to know more about him through his words.
Italian Food Secret: Lombardia - Fabio Baldassarre
What made you decide you would become a professional chef? How did you get started?
Since I was a child, I'm keen on cooking. Both my mother and my grandmother used to prepare rich breakfasts and tasty lunches with ingredients from our garden, simple and natural. My kitchen philosophy was born by watching them, every day I am looking for local products and my work is the result of family and friendship values.
My fate was decided when I prepared my first pasta dish, a kind of recipe which Italians usually prepare for a dinner with friends: spaghetti with garlic, oil and chilli. It's not up to me to judge, but the spaghetti was delicious! This apparently trivial event has determined my career as a chef. It is an amazing profession that allows me to meet a lot of people who come from all over the world and share the pleasures of the palate.
Who or which place, event have been the biggest inspirations for your career?
For me, every day is a special day, full of new emotions that release my creative energy.
What does being an Italian Chef mean to you? What is your opinion about “not Italian food”?
The “kitchen” is my career and the result of my experiences and studies. Being an Italian Chef means curiosity and discovery without changing the natural taste and smell of traditional recipes. Furthermore, a kitchen can become a melting pot: it's amazing how is easy to communicate each other, even if each chef has his own style. It is a truly universal language...
Can you tell us one of the most important episodes in your career? And something funny that happened in your restaurant?
I was working in the German embassy in Rome during the fall of the Berlin wall and also in the kitchen we felt the importance of that historical moment, a moment of great freedom and the strong point for a new Europe.
A more recent episode happened when I bought the new kitchen of my UNICO Restaurant which arrived from Spain: the kitchen had to be brought up to the 20th floor! It was hard and it was necessary a huge crane and you could see kitchen pieces flutter in the air. It was a crazy and hilarious show and I started laughing… I thought to myself if all these pieces would never become my kitchen!
Now, the main question: If you usually offer a regional recipe revisited, can you give us the recipe?
Frascatelli pasta of durum wheat pasta with asparagus, tomato and red snapper carpaccio
Frascatelli of durum wheat flour ingredients:
1 kg of 00 flour
150 - 200 g water
Mix all ingredients, stir and knead to form homogeneous dough. Put it in a vacuum bag and let in the fridge for at least two hours. Then, using a slotted spoon, spatula or even your fingers, gently turn the flour onto itself, forming dumplings. Put them in a tray with durum wheat flour. Remove the durum before boil them in salt water for 5 minutes.
Juice of tomatoes ingredients:
300 g datterino/cherry tomatoes
30 cl olive oil
Salt, sugar, thyme
Dress the tomatoes with olive oil, salt, sugar and thyme, place them in a baking tray and put in the oven at 210 ° C for about 20 minutes. Once ready, when cooked, filter the tomatoes juice.
Pasta sauce ingredients:
200 g asparagus
100 g grated pecorino cheese
50 g grated Parmesan cheese
30 g basil leaves
30 g chopped parsley
Extra virgin olive oil
Blanch the asparagus in boiling water. Heat the oil in a pan and add the asparagus and sprinkle with the tomatoes juice.
Once cooked, dress the Frascatelli with salt, white pepper, parmesan and pecorino cheese, basil, parsley and white wine. Let stand two or three minutes before serving.
Dish presentation ingredients:
200 g snapper carpaccio
1 grated lemon peel
Extra virgin olive oil
Fillet the snapper and cut into thin slices. Put the frascatelli into a dish and above them the snapper carpaccio. Decorate with the tomatoes juice, salt, grated lemon peel and extra virgin olive oil.
Italian Food Secret: UNICO Restaurant, Milan
A special thanks to
Fabio Baldassarre and UNICO Restaurant
Live a true culinary Italian experience at home, try the recipe and wait for the 9th issue ;)
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