Our Pasta Programme
Every season, we shine a spotlight on a series of traditional pasta shapes fabricated using traditional methods and their culinary anthropology—from the moments in history that led to them, to the regional influences that shape them from past to present.
From the North to the South, and into the Islands: feast on Tortellini like the nobility of Emilia-Romagna. Humble your palate to Struncatura borne out of ‘cucina povera’ in Reggio Calabria. Bite into the pure bliss of hand-formed Orecchiette, Bari’s pride and joy. You’ll be surprised how these little parcels, strands and sheets of joy can paint a vivid picture of Italy’s astounding regional diversity.
Busiate con Pesto alla Trapanese
Origins: Trapani, Western Sicily (Islands)
Long, helical-shaped pasta with a datterini tomato and almond pesto
Busiate belongs to the Fusilli family; its name derived from ancient use of a fibrous grass stem known as ‘busa’—to which a thin length of dough is coiled diagonally down the length and then pressed into tubular shapes before being extracted with a slip of the hand. At Forma, it is handmade one at a time with a ‘ferro’ or thin rod. We serve this with a pesto of datterini tomatoes, basil, almond and Pecorino Romano DOP—typical of the Province of Trapani in Western Sicily. This dish was introduced in ancient times by Genovese ships coming from the East and stopping at the port of Trapani, which brought the tradition of agliata—a sort of pesto sauce based on garlic and walnuts. This was then developed by Trapani sailors with the products of their land, notably tomato and almonds.
Tortellini in Brodo
Origins: Bologna, Emilia-Romagna (North)
Pork-filled egg pasta in a clear, slow-simmered chicken brodo
Tortellini are tiny meat-filled pasta encased in sfoglia. Fresh egg pasta sheets are rolled out manually with a rolling pin and each tortellino sealed by hand. It is considered by many as the “king of pasta” and rightly so, given the ingredients, time and specialist skills necessary in making it in accordance to Emilia-Romagna’s almost religious standards. As chef patron Massimo Bottura once famously quipped: “if you don’t believe in God, believe in tortellini”. The size, weight and composition of each tortellino is in accordance with parameters of the registered recipe. They are 100% handmade, produced with traditional methods without the “taint” of modern machinery. It is believed that the tortellini were invented by an innkeeper in Castelfranco Emilia and modeled after the navel of Venus, the goddess of love.
Pappardelle e Coda alla Vaccinara
Origins: Rome, Lazio (Central)
Wide, flat egg pasta with a braised oxtail ragu
Pappardelle are long, wide and flat ribbons that pair well with ragu as the broad shape has more surface area to hold sauces and condiments. Hand-rolled from sfoglia, no two bite feels the same. every We pair it with a braised oxtail ragu of tomato, Pecorino Romano DOP and red wine—an iconic dish borne out of ‘cucina povera’ in Rome, Lazio. Its history lies in the ‘vaccinari’, the lowest social classes in Regola, the 7th rione in the heart of the eternal city. This dish, along with many other popular offal offerings in modern-day Rome are all categorized as the ‘quinto quarto’ or fifth quarter of the bovine—essentially parts that nobility never had to endure like spleen, intestines, tripe and brains. The least appreciated cuts were left to the class of the proletariat such as your butchers, tanners, leather workers and the ilk that were connected to slaughterhouses and tanneries, said to have populated the east of the Tiber. La coda alla vaccinara is not only a typical dish of Rome but a representation of cucina povera, prized for economy and versatility. While primarily enjoyed as a secondo, its leftover sauce can be “stretched” to dress pasta.
Spaghetti alla Nerano
Origins: Naples, Campania (South)
Bronze extruded long pasta with zucchini, basil and Provolone del Monaco DOP
Pasta and zucchini pairings are a dime a dozen across Italy, but only one can lay claim to Stanley Tucci dubbing it as one of the best things he’d ever eaten. Like many other dishes, this pasta dish carries the namesake of the village where it originated. Invented in the village of Nerano in the 1950s on the Sorrento peninsula, specific ingredients were used to set it apart from the rest. In the kitchen of one Maria Grazia, Provolone del Monaco DOP, a very regional semi-aged cheese made from the milk of the Agerolese cow, along with the clever use of basil were added to elevate an otherwise ordinary number with layers of sweet and slightly spicy notes. Today, it is prepared daily, both in the homes across Naples and in Campania restaurants with slight variations from the famed version. We use Spaghetti, a long, thin cylindrical pasta that needs no introduction but deserves a special mention. Given its tendency for starch to be better released to aid in the ‘mantecatura’ of the components—cohesively binding condiment and noodles—matched with the rugged profile of its bronze-drawn nature, the cling factor to an incredible sauce is doubled.
Origins: Reggio Calabria, Calabria (South)
Bronze-extruded long rye pasta with anchovies, taggiasca olives, chilli and breadcrumbs
Struncatura is a long bronze-extruded pasta that resembles a thick trenette that was once the ancient cucina povera speciality of Reggio Calabria. Translated from the Calabrese dialect, struncatura means “scraps” or “crumblings” or “sawdust” and, in this case, refers to the floor sweepings of wheat milling operations in the past, where by-products of the process would carpet the mill flour which would either be swept from the floor, destined to be animal feed, or used to produce a very cheap, dark coloured pasta product, peddled to only the most destitute. Often known as a ‘poor man’s dish’ because it was prepared with low cost ingredients, it has since emerged from notoriety and earned its cult status in Lucanian gastronomy. We true to its humble origins with Mediterranean flavours of anchovies, taggiasca olives, chilli and Mollica di Pane—sauteed breadcrumbs that were considered ‘cheese of the poor’.
Orecchiette al Sugo d’Agnello
Origins: Bari, Puglia (South)
Ear-shaped short pasta in a braised lamb shank sugo
Formed one at a time by hand and a butter knife, each Orecchietta sports a pronounced dome shape with a rough exterior colloquially known as “rugosa”, and all the better to catch and complement our braised lamb shank sugo simmered with crushed tomatoes, anchovies, white wine and Pecorino Romano DOP. In Bari’s Old Quarter, the last bastion of Orecchiette makers that line the cobbled ‘Strada Delle Orecchiette’ producing Orecchiette the traditional way, are the custodians of this beautiful shape. The highly skilled movements approximating mechanical precision and speed is a sight to behold and the iconic cultural identity of Bari and largely, of Puglia.
Linguine al Limone
Origin: Salerno, Campania (South)
Bronze-extruded linguine with a light and bright sauce made using Amalfi lemons and Provolone del Monaco DOP.
This is a dish that has ambiguous roots in the deep south—or Mezzogiorno—notably in the area of the Amalfi coast and the Sorrento peninsula charaterised by its staggering cliffs, meandering coastal roads and famous beaches. The cuisine is also underlined by fresh and zesty flavours, with the lemons of Sorrento prized for its aroma and sweetness coming off the top of the list of regional produce. With its large size, thick, uneven rinds and a sugar content that verges on a slight sweetness, it is precisely these qualities that are crucial in producing the world famous Limoncello with Sorrento as the Limoncello capital of Italy. Despite its strong ties to the south, the technicality of this underrated dish bears stark resemblance to one of Rome’s most famous pasta dishes with the emulsification of cheese and water as the backbone of its execution style, but with a brighter note from the lemon’s zest and its juice. We use a long, bronze-extruded linguine that is well suited for holding light, delicate sauces. Its porous and increased surface area is the perfect utility for the emulsified sauce made using Amalfi lemons and Provolone del Monaco DOP.
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