Tipo Cibo Vino (Legacy of Letters 2022)—Part 11: Letterpress Workshop Day 6 and Cooking Day
July 18, 2022 | Day 6 of the Project
Peter Kruty, Sayre Gaydos, Patricia Childers, and Khoa Nguyen arrived at the Tipoteca early in the morning to work on the final elements of the pasta book. They were aided by Leonardo Facchin and Daniele Facchin. The cover still needed to be printed, sheets required trimming, type had to be redistributed, and the studio had to be cleaned up. I looked in on their progress periodically, but my principal task was to oversee and document the details of Cooking Day.
July 18, 2022 | Cooking Day
Cooking Day was the last day of the tour since it was the only available Monday. This was the second time that a cooking day was part of Legacy of Letters. As with the previous event, the day was held at Le Corderie (the restaurant located across the street from the Tipoteca) and led by its owners, Mauro Drago and Cristina Colle, his wife and chef.
Since the theme of the letterpress project was pasta, I had asked Cristina to show us how to make a filled pasta and an appropriate sauce to go with it. She chose to demonstrate three versions of pasta ripieno di zucca (pasta filled with squash), all of which are often served with a simple butter and sage sauce (burro e salvia). Along with that, she suggested sarde in saor (a Venetian specialty), and panna cotta alle pesche (panna cotta with peaches) as two other dishes that would be easy to explain. I readily agreed.
Cristina insisted that the squash for the ravioli filling would not be the butternut squash commonly used in the United States, but would instead be zucca violina, which is similar in color and shape but is deeply ridged. She says the flavor and texture is much better than that of butternut squash. I don’t know if it is available in the United States. Cristina crumbled some biscotti di amaretto into the pureed zucca violina. I don’t recall what else she added besides the obvious salt and pepper (and perhaps a pinch of nutmeg.
I was focused principally on recording the steps in making the pasta. From a single dough ball Cristina created three related forms of pasta, each of which could be filled with the squash mixture: agnolotti, ravioli, and tortelli. Agnolotti is from Piemonte, ravioli from Lombardia, and tortelli from Emilia-Romagna, but today all three can be found throughout Italy. For the sauce, Cristina kept it simple and used burro e salvia (butter sage sauce), a traditional choice.
I missed the beverage session that opened the day since I was over at the Tipoteca. But Mauro Drago repeated what he had done for us in 2019: first explaining how to make espresso, cappuccino, and iced coffee; and then later showing how to make an Ugo, an Americano, and a Negroni.
The Ugo (Italian for Hugo) is a very refreshing cocktail for a hot day like those we had in Emilia-Romagna during the tour. It consists of elderflower syrup, prosecco, soda water and mint and lime as a garnish. Mauro uses Fiori di Sambuca sciroppo (syrup) from Horvat for the elderflower syrup (or cordial). For the Negroni he combined Roku Gin (which he likes for its neutral flavor) and Martini Rosso for the sweet vermouth. Campari is of course Campari. There is no substitute for a classic Negroni. The Americano is a Negroni without the gin, but with some soda water.
In 2019 the cooking day demonstration’s took place in Le Corderie’s compact kitchen. Although there was a sense of getting behind-the-scenes secrets, the space was too crowded for a group of 15 people plus Cristina, a translator, and all of the kitchen utensils and equipment. So this year, Cristina arranged for portable stoves to be brought out into the dining area along with her ingredients and tools. She set up her temporary kitchen at the far end of the room. This arrangement allowed us to sit on chairs and banquettes and comfortably watch her without any obstructions.
Cristina’s daughter Imelda was the translator this year. She was excellent, though there were a few occasions where I stepped in to clarify her British-influenced English translations for Americans.
I took several hundred photographs, trying to document every ingredient and step of each dish. Far fewer than that are included here. There are enough photographs I hope to recreate the flavor of the day.
Sarde in saor
Preparing the pasta dough
Pasta shapes: Agnolotti, ravioli, and tortelli.
Making panna cotta alle pesche (panna cotta with peaches)
Lunch at Le Corderie
As in 2019, the various dishes that Cristina demonstrated were part of the lunch. So, sarde in saor was the antipasto; ravioli was the primo piatto; and the panna cotta alle pesche was the dolci (dessert). For the secondo piatto we ordered from the usual lunch menu.
The end of the day
It was late in the afternoon when we finished lunch. After everyone had their post-meal espresso, we returned to the Villa Bolzonello to rest. The remainder of the day will be covered in a separate post.