Food is a way to express one’s own culture and it’s part of the history of every country in each single step of its creation:it teaches us how it was produced, how it is created, prepared, transformed, consumed and even when it’s chosen. People create and shape food according to their own territory; we can say for sure that food is culture even in the way we cook it, because people transform food into a cultural product; so food becomes culture even when it’s eaten, because people shape it with certain criteria that are not only linked to the nutritional dimension, but also to other essential values: humans are the only animal in nature that eats food by cooking it and transforming it according to their needs, preferences and identity.
In a place where we talk about cooking, I’m interested in addressing topics that revolve around everything that deals with cooking and not just recipes that, however, constitute the soul of a well-made cuisine.
More than talking about typical regional cuisine, then, it would probably be more accurate to talk about cuisine that is typical of a territory, which is the basis from which Italian cuisine has developed. The Italian regions as we know them today, however, are a much more recent acquisition of our history.
Ingredients for 4 people
Peas 1 kg
Fresh buffalo’s milk cream 100 g
Vegetable broth 600 g
White onions 80 g
Roman tanned cheese* 80 g
Extra virgin olive oil 60 g
5 g fresh basil Salt Pepper
To cook our peas cream we must first prepare a vegetable broth by boiling a few vegetables of our choice and a pinch of salt. Then finely chop the onion and stir it in a pan with olive oil. Add your peas, salt, pepper and cook for about 5 minutes, then cover them with 400g of vegetable broth and cook for 10 to 15 minutes. When thoroughly cooked, take a hand blender, add the buffalo cream and basil and blend everything together ‘till you get a smooth cream, helping yourself by adding more and more broth to your choice. Sift the cream with the help of a sifter and heat the cream for a few minutes before serving it with grated tanned cheese and a drizzle of olive oil. You can pair it with toasted bread croutons or use the cream to season pasta.
*The Roman tanned cheese called conciato romano, contrary to common belief, is not linked to the Roman territory but it’s a typical cheese of Campania which was born in Castel di Sasso, in the northern area of Caserta, where it’s also called caso conzato. One of the main features that make this cheese unique is its maturing phase that takes place in terracotta amphorae. This suggests that its origin can be traced back to the pre-Roman age, in the territory where Caserta now develops that once was the ancient Sannio. The terracotta amphorae, in fact, in ancient times were used as a form of refrigeration thanks to the anaerobic refermentation
Mixed pasta 300 g
Mussels 1,5 kg
Potatoes 500 g
Tomato sauce 60 g
Fresh chili 1
Garlic clove 1
Extra virgin olive oil 5 tablespoons
To cook your potatoes and mussels pasta, start by cleaning the mussels and washing them with fresh water. Finely chop the parsley and keep it aside; peel a clove of garlic and chop it together with chili pepper. Pour the garlic, chili and oil in a saucepan and brown them with low heat, then simply add the mussels with a bit of water and let them open. Once the valves are open, sprinkle with chopped parsley. Filter the water from the mussels and keep them aside. Separate the mussels from the shells and keep them in a small bowl. Take the celery and cut it into small pieces Add the diced potatoes and cover them with the water from the previously filtered mussels. Clean the leek, divide it in half and chop it finely. Take the celery and cut it into small pieces. Take a large pot, pour the oil and sauté the chopped leek and celery for a couple minutes. Add the diced potatoes and cover them with the water from the previously filtered mussels. Cook for 10 minutes. After this time, drain two ladles of diced potatoes and transfer them on a plate and with the help of a fork mash them all. Pour the mashed potatoes again into the pot with their cooking water and then add the tomato sauce and let it boil for a couple of minutes. Pour the pasta into the pan, cook by adding water from time to time until the pasta is cooked, at this point add the mussels, season with salt and pepper if necessary, and serve your pasta.