When it comes to Italian cuisine abroad, authenticity – of flavors, recipes, and procedures – is an essential and increasingly rare characteristic to find. This may be for various reasons: origins of raw materials, the deviation from the original recipes, and the tendency to take into consideration local tastes. However, there are some iconic dishes that, when carefully prepared, conserve a fundamental evocative power.
When Three Michelin star chef Niko Romito opened his first restaurant in Beijing in partnership with Bulgari, he reflected on the great classics of the Italian cuisine, intercepting the basic concepts to be used in a compilation of traditional and representative dishes. As a result, the five pillars of the Italian cuisine that Romito indicated to Gambero Rosso turned out to be:
1. BREAD – It represents the Italian culture, history, simplicity, tradition. It is a preparation made with utterly simple ingredients, but if you have no experience handed down to you, you cannot make proper Italian bread.
2. SPAGHETTI AL POMODORO – Probably the most representative dish of Italian cuisine. Therefore, the one that requires the most care in order to replicate its most authentic nature with properly cooked spaghetti and sour tomato sauce.
3. TORTELLINI IN BRODO – This peculiar dish encompasses two great aspects of the Italian cuisine: the one of filled pasta, and the one of broth.
4. ARROSTO DI VITELLO – It represents the traditional Sunday family lunch. The authentic veal roast highlights the importance of the gravy, which must be the result of cooking the veal, rather than of a separate preparation.
5. BABÀ – It has become a national dessert. Well known abroad, it is however rarely offered because its preparation requires experience, professionalism, leavening techniques.
Delia Lo Calzo