To make sügeli, a contemporary shell-formed pasta, chef Patrick Teisseire very first normally takes a little round of dough, rolls it in flour, and with his thumb, presses it flat and slides it together a massive round wood board. Following pressing together the ridged board, a smooth, contoured shell with 7 fine pleats emerges. It is a finely-honed strategy that Teisseire described as the “ability of sügeli”. He repeats the system right until his dough has disappeared, replaced by neat rows of pasta shells ready to be fed into a deep saucepan of boiling drinking water.
Composed of flour, h2o, salt and olive oil, sügeli is a person of the principal dishes of cucina bianca (white delicacies), the food stuff of the pastoral transalpine communities in the superior valleys of Piedmont, Liguria and the Alpes-Maritimes in what is today south-eastern France and north-western Italy. Named for the “colourless” character of staple components, this sort of as flour, potatoes, leeks, turnips, dairy items and legumes, it’s a cuisine that shares minor resemblance to the dazzling reds, greens and yellows of the tomato, pepper and courgette-infused dishes of the coastal Mediterranean cuisine normally associated with the region. “An absence of colour doesn’t necessarily mean an absence of style, nonetheless,” Teisseire was eager to emphasise as he expertly manipulated more sügeli shells from a new batch of dough in entrance of me.
A small time later, acquiring swapped his modest basement workspace for the eating area above it, I was all set to exam his idea. Served together with a succulent osso bucco-style veal shank and drizzled with the cooking juices of the meat, I scooped up a forkful of sügeli. Very similar in size and form to southern Italy’s orecchiette pasta, but with the texture and style of a dumpling, the shells ended up the suitable condition to mop up the salty, flavoursome broth-like sauce.
Inscribed on the list of France’s patrimoine culturel immatériel (intangible cultural heritage) due to the fact 2009, sügeli is cucina bianca’s most celebrated dish. Other “extra elaborate” recipes, as Teisseire described them, consist of environmentally friendly, lasagne-like strips known as lausagne manufactured from wild spinach, eggs, flour, salt and smaller portions of potato and olive oil and tantiflusa, a tart crammed with potatoes, leeks and squash. Of program, cheese from area sheep figures prominently, as well: alongside the really hard tomme-type selection, brousse, a pungent cream cheese built from whey is a speciality of the regional Brigasque breed and is generally melted down into a sauce to accompany sügeli.