Dry pasta and haute cuisine: chefs like the amarcord of Penne and Fusilli

Dry pasta and haute cuisine: chefs like the amarcord of Penne and Fusilli

The haute cuisine often disdains dry pasta, and penne and fusilli are left behind: not for long, thanks to these chefs.

The haute cuisine often disdains dry pasta . Tagliatelle, tagliolini, ravioli and tortellini, rich in egg yolks, are usually the kings and queens of the table. In the first courses section, semolina pasta, especially short, rarely appears.penne and fusilli are back in vogue thanks to the chefsSpaghetti and spaghettoni, in fact, are now well accepted, cooked and served in a clean way , as well as rigatoni and half sleeves. Their most essential structure satisfies the canons of fine dining . But  often not even the shadow of penne and fusilli : their handles, folds, points are too baroque and artificial. Perhaps because they recall elementary lunches at the canteen or perhaps because they are difficult to reinvent and re-elaborate, fusilli (or propellers) and penne, smooth and striped, are pasta shapes that have fallen into oblivion. On the other hand, a small circle of chefs started experimenting and presenting them in an alternative way, young and dynamic.


  1. Penne all’arrabbiata spicy – y-bomb . Francesco Apreda , chef of the starred Imàgo at the Hotel Hassler in Rome, proposes a reinterpretation of the famous penne all’arrabbiata. The pens are always there, the twisted ones from Pastificio Felicetti; the thick red saucealso, but tastes aim towards the East. The sauce is prepared from the water that red peppers release when roasted. Then add piennolo tomatoes, garlic, chilli, sugar and vinegar. It is in this sauce that the pasta is cooked. Left al dente, it is served warm on a yogurt base – to dilute the spicy notes – and again, as if it were a fruit salad, cubes of cucumber, mango, papaya and black garlic. It all ended with a secret blend of spices that Apreda himself renamed Spicy – Bomba-y .
  2. Penne alla Puttanesca . In the new menu of the starred restaurant Tordomatto dedicated to Rome and its neighborhoods , chef Adriano Baldassarre has decided to include Penne alla puttanesca. In the name of his progressive Roman cuisine, Adriano has decided to pay homage to the Suburra, an area rich in the first tolerance houses, with this great classic known all over the world. The bitter, sweet and sour note of the sauce is emphasized to the maximum by the technique: the pasta is cooked al dente in an extract of black Gaeta olives and tomato and served with a powder of capers, anchovies and oregano. The result is an aggressive first course with great character. Note of merit for the use of penne rigate which best absorb the olive juice.
  3. Pennoni alla genovese from Pannicolo . In the heart of Rome, in via Giulia, the young Pierluigi Gallo dares to create a cuisine that unites the whole of Italy. Originally from Campania, from Abruzzo by training and Roman by adoption, the chef blends together the traditions of Italy in a transversal way. An example is the smooth Pennoni of Pastificio Gentile combined with a Genoese pannicolo, the equivalent of the human diaphragm. The pannicolo was historically used by Roman housewives to prepare the classic rolls of the past or the slices of pizzaiola. It is a very ferrous cut of meat that Pierluigi has decided to overcook with onions as per the Campania tradition. Add buffalo yogurt to the dough to give acidity and balance the sweetness of the sauce, and a cream of roasted carrots.
  4. Penne with blueberry and black garlic, parmesan and Mexican tarragon . Davide Caranchini , chef and co-owner of the newly starred Materia in Cernobbio, dares to season the penne with an intense purple extract of blueberries, sweet and sour at the same time. The influences of his teacher, Renè Redzepi, are perceived in the technique and in the combinations. With blueberry, Davide associates the balsamic note of fermented black garlic and Mexican tarragon, while a light fondue of 36 months aged Parmigiano Reggiano takes care of giving body and vigor. The result strikes the eye and the palate. The short pasta here is necessary to dose every single element of the dish to the milligram.
  5. Fusilli with mussels . A minimalist but very tasteful first course for Federico Delmonte , chef and patron of the Acciuga restaurant in Rome. Federico, originally from Fano but residing in Rome for the past 6 years, first in the kitchen of Settembrini and then in that of Chinappi, is a lover and expert of fish that he offers in a clean way. Three, four are the ingredients per dish as in the case of fusilli with mussels. The savory and brackish water of the mussels is the real protagonist of the dish: it easily slips into the pasta shape and gives it firmness and creaminess. Parsley and lemon zest close the circle of this masterfully prepared classic.
  6. Fusillone, pepper caramel, stracciatella and oregano . In Barga, on the Lucca hills, Francesco Piacentini of the Locanda di Mezzo evolves the cuisine of the Garfagnana. Tradition and contemporaneity are the key words of each of his dishes. As a short semolina pasta, it offers fusilli in several variations. If in the previous menu these were paired with smoked butter, bay leaf powder and tomato peels, now they are refreshed by the sweet and ruffiano pepper caramel, stracciatella and oregano powder. There are therefore few ingredients, reworked in a different form with contemporary techniques.
  7. Fusilloro mussels, squid carpaccio, parsley and cuttlefish ink (photo on the cover). In the Seta two-star menu of the Mandarin Oriental in Milan, Antonio Guida proposes a piacione first course , rich in textures , aromas and different temperatures. The gold-drawn fusilli pasta from Pastificio Verrigni is whipped with a savory and creamy mussel sauce. Freshly seared baby squids are callused and increase chewability. The sauces with parsley and cuttlefish ink make this first a picture, hidden at times by veils of squid treated as if it were a carpaccio.
  8. Fusillone and Ciabattone with lard and octopus powder . This year it won its third Michelin star. He is the chef of the moment and his restaurant, Uliassi , in Senigallia, has become the hub of Italian gastronomy. The energetic and compulsive study of Mauro Uliassileads to the creation of unparalleled dishes. This first one provides an example of this, which blends two dry pastas, fusilli and ciabattoni together. Chewing is also livened up by the presence of octopus in two consistencies. This is first left for 2 days in the leavening chamber at 33 ° C to dry, then it is roasted and finally frozen. At this point the skin is caramelized in a pan, dried and then blended, while the meat is cut very thinly as if it were lard. Rosemary pollinated by lavender completes the dish.

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