As part of my Italian journey with Aromi Brighton, a few weeks ago I was lucky enough to take a trip to Campania.
If the pasta is anything to go by, this is truly a magical place, and it was a delicious delights having the opportunity to recreate just some of the traditional dishes that make Campania a ‘go to’ destination.
Lead by the master Salvatore Montella, we were taken back to his home town.
What is the best part of Campania?
Best part of Campania is – there are so many different parts.
I think Napoli is the most touristic and attractive city of Campania. Made famous from different culinary dishes like mozzarella, pasta, pizza and for the spectacular views.
On the sea but also on a bit of mountain.
Is on the hills so you can have a different view on different part of the city and is beautiful area to live, to see, and to holiday.
How long were you there for?
18 years of my life …
What is the true representation of food in Campania?
Campania is all about street food – pizza is the main star.
Tomatoes are really famous; there is this one particular tomato that is called Pomodorino Vesuviano, it’s a grape tomato grown in Naples, and is used for many of the traditional recipes.
It’s all about old tradition recipes and sticking to their roots from generation to generation.
It’s really magical, because there’s not too many places that keep tradition, we try to evolve. We evolving in terms of find better product but on keeping on tradition intact.
Where did you learn to cook?
I started cooking when I was eight years old, really young. Then my father wanted me to follow his path and work in the family tailoring business – but it wasn’t for me.
When decide to be a chef he sent me to one of the hardest restaurants in Naples.
So he said, ah, if is true. We going to see it. Because if you don’t like, is just a fantasy, I [inaudible] so you can change job. You have time when you grow up to change job.
But more I been in a busy and, ah, harder job, more I like it. I love– so that’s why I growing and I become a chef then.
How did we manage to bring Campania to Aromi?
So, we made 3 pastas that are true to Campania.
We made Cannelloni, which is a filled pasta with ricotta and spinach.
Then we made the Scialatelli, with a modern twist.
This recipe was only created in 1960 – using milk, Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil inside the dough.
And finally, we made Mafaldine, very traditional in Napolitano.
This is a very traditional pasta of Sunday lunch served with Ragù Napoletano. This Ragù is very different because it taken the longest time to cook – typically for 24-36 hours, and it’s a traditional Ragù Napoletano.
Are there different variations of Ragù?
Yes, there is plenty of ragù around Italy, each one is made in a different way.
What is typical of Ragù Napoletano is the time it takes to cook.
It’s all in the simmer, it helps the tomato reduce and leave that sweetness and the caramelization, it’s simple but a with so many flavors.
At home ragù is a piece of art, a piece of life that bring everyone together.
Which one is your favorite?
My favorite pasta is,the reginetta is because it reminds me of my grandma, it remind me of home and the smells I would wake up to in the mornings.
Describe Campania in three words?
Noisy, beautiful, home
When is the next class and what is the next destination in October?
The next class will be on the 6th of October and we will be heading to Emilia Romagna
Next Class …
Destination: Emilia Romagna
Date: 6th of October