Pasta Basta [!] ..G.Esposito **

IMG_6257Photo: fettuccine noodles homemade

The two star Michelin Gennaro Esposito’s regional cuisine is something to try. I was invited to try a blind pasta tasting with the chef/owner and a visiting chef from the kitchen of Alain Ducasse. It was interesting to learn about how pasta is made, the effect of grooves on the surface, or the smoothness and how the pasta varies from producer to producer.

The next discussion was to determine what is “al dente” and how to determine when a pasta is cooked, under or over. He pulls out a flat plexiglass hinged device, it is simple to use, you open it and press the cooked pasta between the two parts. It essentially squashes the pasta and you can use it like a window to see the interior of the pasta. If the pasta is under cooked it has a thin line, and if it is totally cooked no line appears. I wondered if the gluten problems in USA have anything to do with undercooked pasta, or over cooked pasta. I doubted it. We continued to debate the differences, I preferred the artisan made pasta, Gennaro and the visiting chef preferred Di ecco. Gennaro pointed to the pots of cooked water, we tasted the water of the cooked pasta and I still preferred my choice. Gennaro uses 5/10 grams of salt per kilo of water, coarse salt only.

After the tasting clients began to arrive, we met with owners of Al Porto a well known restaurant in Tokyo. People from all over filled the restaurant that seats forty people. It was jam packed, the kitchen staff work diligently, a brigade of more than 12 are all positioned around the molteni center console. The restaurant works with a total staff of 24, the ambience is chic, the details are all well done, it has a nice feel.

Arriving to Saracino is particular, a road just before a dark tunnel, it is nondescript, tucked away at the end of a dark street at the seaside. When we first arrived, we were surprised to see a pizzeria restaurant, obviously not Torre Del Saracino. It is confusing but as we walked opposite the pizzeria, there was a nice garden area, clearly it was the signs of a two star Michelin.

Pasta GEPhoto: a traditional regional pasta dish of various different pasta shapes mixed with seafood. All noodels cooked separately.

The restaurant’s cuisine is a mix between modern and classical, hints of micro picked ingredients, some powders but overall very classical using fresh local ingredients. The wine card is superb, it has an intensive selection of regional wines as well as international. The wines cellar worth a visit, situated under the ancient tower of Saracino. You walk into history, it has been neatly organized to accommodate Gennaro’s collection.

A feast was served, we tried numerous dishes of pasta this night, the chef was pretty sure to make use try all his dishes. When in the region, it is worthy of the travel.

The desert, a walk on the beach, a cleaver play on words, keifer is used to give this desert a splash of sour matched with sweetness. The seashell is a chocolate, you pick it up, a real surprise!