One may be familiar with the different forms of pastas—the twisted fussily or the cylindrical penne. But there certainly seems more to the staple Italian dish, going by the ‘Festa Della Pasta’ at Prego, Taj Coromandel. Specialty chef Luca D’Amora talks about the line-up of pastas from the cencioni, tagliolini, pappardelle and lasagna in five different colours, laced with eight different varieties of sauces.
Talking to CE, chef D’Amora says that colours stand for the different flavours --- saffron for yellow pasta and parsley for the green ones. The chef has used organic ingredients like organic tomatoes that were specially procured for this menu.
“The different colours of pasta are derived from ingredients that act as the main flavouring agent. This ranges from spices such as saffron for yellow pasta and herbs such as parsley for the green, to ingredients such as tomato and chocolate. Therefore the main difference would lie in the delicate flavour they impart to the pastas,” he says.
So, if you are really wondering if there is anything else one can do with pasta, here’s what Chef D’Amora pulls out of his long white hat. Pastas can be given a different twist with the use of special sauces. Flavoured with particular ingredients such as basil and then paired with a pasta sauce that would complement the flavour and the shape of the pasta, the sauces have a history to them. They are classics originating from various regions of Italy from the North to the South.
The dishes include sauces such as All’Amatriciana, a pancetta and Allo Scoglio; a seafood sauce served alongside squid ink-flavoured cencioni.
After understanding the nuances of colour and sauces and the role they play in the taste, decoding its shape is another task, but an interesting one. The sauces include Italian classics such as Pesto alla Genovese which is a basil sauce with pine nut and olive oil and regional specialities such as Salsiccia e Funghi, hailing from North Italy. Other sauces include Mari e Monti, a seafood sauce and Alla Pepperonata, a sweet pepper sauce.
Chef D’Amora says that there are some basic dynamics that one has to understand while deciding the sauce. “The main difference in flavour lies in the sauces they are paired with. Robust pastas such as cencioni are paired with chunky sauces; allowing the pieces to cling to the pasta. On the other hand, delicate pastas like tagliolini are best paired with silkier sauces such as pesto. Of course the flavouring used in the pasta dough makes a difference, especially when a strong tasting ingredient, for example chocolate, is used,” he says.
(Festa Della Pasta is on at Prego, Taj Coromandel till July 19.
For further information: call +91 44 66002827)
Cencioni Verdi alla Pepperonata
- Durum Wheat – 50 grams
- Water- 30 grams
- Olive Oil- 2 grams
- Parsley, cleaned- 10 grams
- Blanch the parsley in boiling water and immediately refresh in an ice bath
- Drain the parsley and squeeze off the excess water. Blend the blanched parsley to a fine puree and strain
- Mix durum wheat, parsley puree, water and olive oil together. Then knead it into a dough. Allow to rest for 20 minutes
- Roll out the dough into a long cylinder and pinch out small, even pieces. Use a palette knife to press and curl the cencioni. Keep aside chilled until required
- Red Pepper, peeled and deseeded - 70 grams
- Yellow Pepper, peeled and deseeded - 70 grams
- Kalamata Olive- 10 grams
- Thyme- 4 grams
- Olive oil – 60 grams
- Garlic, crushed- 6 grams
- Salt- to taste
- Red Chilli, deseeded- 2 nos.
- Dice the peppers and keep aside. Also chop the chillies and olives
- Heat olive oil and garlic in a pan and cook over low heat
- Once the colour changes to a brown, add peppers, olives, chilli and thyme and cook over a low heat till completely cooked through and mashable in consistency
- Pour the sauce into a blender along with a couple of ice cubes and blend to a puree. Season with salt to taste
- Ricotta Cheese- 15 grams
- Kalamata Olive, chopped- 5 grams
- Shallot, chopped- 5 grams
- Olive oil- 2 grams
- Salt- to taste
- Hang ricotta to drain off the excess liquid. Sauté the shallot in olive oil till soft and translucent. Mix into the drained ricotta along with chopped olive. Season with salt
- Heat a pot of boiling salted water and blanch the cencioni till they float on the surface on the water. Strain off the pasta and toss with pepper sauce, checking seasoning a final time.
- Serve the pasta with a quenelle of the ricotta olive mixture