Articolo disponibile anche in: Italian
This is a great time for Chianti cuisine: many restaurants are coming up with bright new ideas and projects that masterfully combine past tradition and innovation. And there are many rising stars amongst the chefs.
Riccardo Vivarelli, from the Chianti region, took his first steps at the restaurant-pizzeria Lo Spela in Ferrone, and then started his career in top-quality restaurants . He has taken internships and worked in 1 and 2 Michelin-star restaurants all around Tuscany.
The chef who has influenced me the most? “For his charisma and professionalism,” replied Riccardo “I need to thank Raffaele Vitale of Casa del Nonno 13. Thanks to his experience, he has directed me and supported me. Without him, I would hardly have been able to get to where I am today.”.
Alessio Mori, from San Mauro a Signa, started working in the kitchen when he was 16, during the school holidays. He then started a journey that, like Riccardo, brought him to the kitchens (often Michelin starred) of Tuscany and Europe.
“Chef Stefano Santo, at the Hotel Villa Vedetta in Florence, taught me his values and his style of cooking – Alessio explains – With him I learned the technique, the importance of cleanliness and discipline, which are all essential elements when cooking”.
Their similar experiences have merged in the kitchen of the Vitique Wine & Food Boutique in Greti (Greve in Chianti).
The first calls himself “expansive, generous, proactive”; the second says “I’m ambitious, rational but with a great creative spirit”.
They are the heart of Vitique. “A lot of research goes into each dish,” remarks Riccardo. “Great attention to the seasonality of raw ingredients, creativity and commitment that mix the traditional and the contemporary. Flavours are never ordinary and always balanced”.
“Our cuisine?”. Alessio replies: “We offer an alternative in the Chianti area, but with traditional influences. Despite the complexity of our cuisine, you can rediscover the flavours of classic Tuscan dishes such as ‘bollito’ (boiled beef meat) or the ‘baccalà alla Livornese’ (Leghorn-style salt cod)”.
“Another key point – he concludes – is the use of excellent products from our territory, such as Fabbri pasta or De Magi cheeses”.
Many creations, innovations, and ideas developed throughout the years: Riccardo is fond of lampredotto ravioli with shrimp and tomato water; Alessio favours the tongue, foie gras, almond and rocket salsa verde.
But, as always happens in these cases, they’re always on the move. Discovering new suggestions, traditions and products. And it is really pleasant to cross paths at the table. In Greti.
Riccardo’s recipe: Pumpkin risotto, with rigatino and hazelnuts
Cut a pumpkin into six pieces and put it in the oven with garlic and rosemary; once it has been cooked, blend it and add oil and salt.
Toast the rice with butter in a pan; Pour some white wine and simmer it until reduced, then add some chicken broth and cook it for 13/15 minutes. Leave it for 1 minute, and then add the pumpkin, parmesan cheese and butter.
Slice the rigatino in small cubes, fry them in a non-stick frying pan until it’s a nice golden brown. Dry with some paper. Take the peeled hazelnuts, put them over a baking tray, add salt and bake for 8 minutes at 180 degrees, let them cool and grind them very finely.
Put the risotto on a flat plate; place the rigatino in the centre and the ground hazelnuts around it.
Ingredients: 100 grams of chickpea flour; water; 1 litre of milk, 2 large potatoes, 400 grams of baccalà (salt cod), 80 grams of tagliasche olives, 2 slices of bread, some black kale, 1 onion, oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.
Method: to make the cecina (Cecina is a Tuscan style flatbread made with chickpea flour) heat up the water with salt, pepper, some olive oil, add the chickpea flour and bring it to the boil; let it cook for 5 minutes and finally pour the mixture over a baking tray using some baking paper.
Cook the cecina in the oven for 30 minutes at 150 ° C, let it cool and cut it into uniform circles with a pasta cutter.
For the cod: boil the cod and potatoes in milk . Once cooked, remove the milk and whisk the cod and potatoes with a whip, season with salt, oil and pepper.
For the olive tapenade: parboil the black kale, blend the olives with breadcrumbs, one fresh onion and the black kale. Season with oil, salt, pepper and a bit of vinegar. The texture of the tapenade must be the same as a potato puree.
How to serve this dish: heat the cecina discs in the oven, make the base with one disc, with the help of a pastry bag place the warm cod over the disc, close the cecina sandwich with another disc and finally garnish it with a tablespoon of tapenade.