AN INGREDIENT CAN MAKE YOUR HEART BEAT FASTER. MAKE PEOPLE HAPPY.

There are perfumes and flavours that are part of our lives. They are inside us and we take them everywhere with us, they await us as we return home, they can make places that are not home feel like home.

For a Chef, ingredients are indispensable, for one from Campania, they are everything: family, memories, love. The ones I’m showing you here are the basics of my cooking, I hope they will bring you a hunger for life itself.

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Lemon

One of the mainstays of my cooking is certainly the lemon, because in Campania tradition, it really is everything: aroma, dessert, medicine, refreshment.

The best? Why, the ones that come from the Amalfi coast. They are sweet and juicy with an unmistakable scent.

A pastry cream without lemon is like Milan without its cathedral

Tomato

Even if it comes from America, tomato is the king ingredient in Italian cooking. Its colour and perfume speak of warm sunshine and good earth.

In the south of Italy, I have favourite kinds.
San Marzano, vine tomatoes, Pachino, ox heart or beefsteak, date, cherry and queen.

I love ox heart or beefsteak tomatoes, if I’m eating them raw, not too ripe, with a little crunch.

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Meat

For me, meat is Piedmont, Fassona is a guarantee.
I like the so-called poorer cuts, like cheek, head and offal. Others like the fillet and “scamona” are ideal for tartare.

Never trust a butcher who always has the same cuts on display, it means he is buying from suppliers to the large scale retail trade.

You will often find both land and sea in my dishes. I put meat tartare with oyster sauce, fabulous!

Oil

The ideal oil will accompany you in the preparation of a dish from start to finish, from its cooking to its presentation. I love oils with balance and fragrance where the scent of the hand-picked olives stimulates the palate without covering flavours.

Golden highlights, a slightly bitter, piquant sensation, a touch of aromatic herbs. A great wine? No, the perfect oil.

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Salt

Use salt from Cervia to cook with, it should be harvested in the traditional manner, not refined. It is sea salt par excellence.

To finish off a dish, I use Maldon salt, being little shavings it is crunchy and elegant on the palate.

Sea salt is the Mediterranean in crystals. Everything is in it: iodine, zinc, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium and potassium.

Pasta

I was born in Vico Equense, near Gragnano, the peerless kingdom of dried pasta.
Authentic pasta will not go soft and should be porous to ensure the sauce coats it well and stays on.

There are no excuses or different schools of thought.
It’s got to be served al dente, got it?

Pasta is the most democratic dish in the world, everyone agrees around a plate of pasta!

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Fish

I have a passion for molluscs, crustaceans and oily fish. They remind me of going underwater fishing with my father when I was a little kid. I try to do as little as possible to them so as not to alter their true nature.

I use only water in cooking as using wine would take the taste of the sea away from them.

Mussels are my favourite, they have a marvellous scent and flavour that both potatoes and pasta enhance.