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Pasta with fish never disappoints: two recipes direct from Pompei!

If he has to think of a work of art to epitomize his cooking, chef Paolo Gramaglia has no doubts. His choice goes to ‘The Cassata di Oplontis’, a ‘delicious’ fresco uncovered on one of the walls of the Villa of Poppea in Pompei, partly destroyed by the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD.

His Michelin-starred restaurant, President, is situated in modern Pompei, under the looming silhouette of the volcano, a few meters from the archaeological site itself. Enthusiasm, creativity and elegance are the words that sum up Paolo in the kitchen and the style he has chosen to present his region at the table. Just reading his menu is enough to make your mouth water: Polpo verace all’ombra del Vesuvio (octopus in the shadow of Vesuvius) is slow-cooked octopus served with a porridge of tarallucci di Agerola (friable ring-shaped biscuits), pomodorini piennolo (cherry tomatoes) with lemon, agretto di pomodorini del piennolo, fresh basket-molded ricotta and powdered coffee, while Da Paestum a Cetara Km 34, consists of hand-chopped raw buffalo meat with peppercorns served with salted anchovies, their colatura, or extract, misticanza (mixed leaves) and cherry vinegar: dipping the meat in the various condiments you can enjoy all the different flavors. The dish Paolo is fondest of, however, is Astice ubriacata in bellavista, which ‘describes my journeys and my family.’ It consists of ‘soused’ lobster in aspic with vegetables and pickles with arom30_08_Paolo Gramaglia11as of wine, caviar sauce, guacamole, heart of palm and citrus fruits. It was with this stylish menu that he won his much coveted Michelin star in 2014. ‘It was a dream—the desire of every moment of my life as a chef—come true. It’s the joy I felt that day that drives my kitchen and the whole of the President to always work better and better.’

The secrets of successful cooking? ‘Tradition. As long as you interpret it without nostalgia.’ Bread baked according to the recipes of ancient Pompeii, a homage to the land of his birth, is never lacking at Paolo Gramaglia’s table. Like pasta, his favorite ingredient. ‘I’m Neapolitan and I was weaned on the stuff!’ He’s almost taken aback when we ask him how important ingredients are. ‘They aren’t important, they are absolutely decisive,’ he says, getting excited.

Now that we’ve got to know him a little, we can see why, at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto, he has decided to delight us with two excellent dishes that are a veritable celebration of his region of origin. He’ll be preparing them for you in person at the workshop entitled Paolo Gramaglia: A Basket of Products from Campania, but if you want to have a shot yourself, put on your apron and follow the recipes below. The secrets of pasta with fish won’t be a secret any more?

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Bronze-extruded paccheri served with clams and a sauce of broccoli rabe sprouts, raw shrimp and lemon

Serves four

350 gr bronze-extruded paccheri


400 gr broccoli rabe sprouts and flowers


4 leaves Neapolitan broccoli rabe


400 gr clams


12 basket-caught white shrimp


2 Sorrentine Peninsula lemons


2 cloves garlic


6 tbsps extra virgin olive oil (preferable from the Salerno hills)




salt and pepper, to taste

Blanche the broccoli rabe sprouts by plunging them first in boiling water, then refreshing them in iced water. Transfer to a skillet and stir in the oil, garlic and a piece of chili. Using a hand mixer, blend to a velouté.

Dry the broccoli rabe leaves in a nonstick skillet.

Peel the shrimp, cut into pieces and dress with the extra virgin olive oil and grated lemon zest.

Sauté the clams, shell and reserve in their juice.

In a large skillet, lightly fry a clove of garlic. Add the broccoli rabe velouté and the clams with their juice. Season with salt and pepper to taste and the grated zest of half a lemon.

Cook the paccheri al dente and finish for a further two minutes in the sauce.

To serve, take a sparkling white plate and arrange the paccheri in a pyramid (as in the photo). Add the shrimp and garnish with the crisp broccoli rabe leaves.

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Bronze-extruded fusilloni with green peppers, potatoes and mussels

Serves four

350 gr bronze-extruded fusilloni


 400 gr green peppers


 400 gr mussels


 400 gr potatoes


 3 cloves garlic


 10 tbsps extra virgin olive oils (preferably from the Salerno hills)


 300 gr Provolone del Monaco cheese, finely grated




 salt and pepper to taste

For the green pepper sauce:

Cut the peppers lengthwise, deseed and chop finely. Blanche for a few seconds and refresh in iced water. Using a hand mixer, blend the peppers, adding extra virgin olive oil in a trickle and a drop of cooking water. Put the sauce through a sieve, then pour into a dosage bottle.

Cook the potatoes in a generous amount of salted water, peel and mash.

Open the mussels in a skillet with the oil, garlic and chili. Shell and reserve in their cooking liquid.

In a large skillet, lightly fry a clove of garlic, then discard. Add the mashed potatoes, the mussels with their cooking liquid and the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the fusilloni al dente and finish for two minutes in the sauce.

To serve, take a sparkling white plate and arrange the fusilloni in parallel rows. Garnish with thin stripes of the green pepper sauce and the mussels.

Francesca Monticone

An Event by
 Città di Torino
 Slow Food
 Regione Piemonte
In collaboration with
With the contribution of
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Terra Madre Salone del Gusto
Slow Food Promozione P.Iva 02220020040
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