Scialatielli (pronounced shah-lah-TEE’EHL-lee) are a fat, hand cut pasta made famous by an Amalfi chef in the 1960s. Prior, they were made only by the home cooks of Amalfi and Atrani. Thicker and more chewy than regular pasta, they pair gorgeously with seafood. Almost impossible to find outside of Southern Italy, you can enjoy scialatielli at Brigantessa in Philadelphia where chef Joe Cicala's kitchen is a gallery for the best of la cucina meridionale.
On April 18th Christian and I teamed up with the Brigantessa team for a wine dinner to celebrate our upcoming Food & Wine in Campania tour. We used the cardinal rule of"what grows together goes together" to pair five food courses with Campanian wines. Joined by 40 guests at a communal table, we have rarely eaten so well outside of Italy.
White wines from Irpinia, the mountainous region east of Naples, can transport you to Italy in one sniff. A slight hint of sulfur is a relic of Campania's ancient volcanic soil. The first course, a grilled lemon leaf-wrapped mozzarella di bufala was paired with a Fiano de Avellino 2012 by Feudi di San Gregorio with hints of chamomile and yellow peaches. One of our favorite vineyards to visit in the region, Feudi is known for melding tradition and innovation. Even the labels bring together an ancient mosaic with the graphic design of Massimo Vignelli.
For the scialatielli we enjoyed a Greco di Tufo from Terredora di Paolo Greco, 2014. Soft, full-bodied and with just the perfect amount of acidity, this Greco was the perfect accompaniment for the rich seafood sauce.
Scialatielli are among the easiest pastas to make at home. Some recipes like Arthur Schwartz's from the cookbook "Naples at Table" include whole milk and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese in the dough. Chef Cical'as dough requires only flour and eggs. Scialiatelli can be enjoyed with seafood, zucchini or even just a simple tomato sauce. The magic of this pasta is the chewy bite that places it somewhere between spaghetti and gnocchi. Here's the recipe:
2 cups 00 flour
Using a wooden pasta board, make a well with the flour and break the eggs in the center. Use a fork to begin to combine the eggs and flour. Once they begin to integrate, use your hands to work the ingredients until they hold together. Continue to knead the dough until you can form one smooth ball.
Tear off a piece of dough from the ball about the size of the palm of your hand. Put it through the thickest setting of a pasta machine. (Hand crank or Kitchen-Aid.) After it passes once through the rollers, fold it in thirds and pass it through again. When the edges are no longer ragged, the pasta has been sufficiently kneaded. Expect to run each piece through 1-3 times.
Lay the strips of dough on a cutting board. With a sharp knife cut 1/4 inch wide pieces until all the dough has been used. Don't worry about the noodles being evenly shaped. This is a rustic pasta.
To cook the scialatielli, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and then add the pasta. After about 2 minutes, the pasta will rise to the top. Drain and add them to your pasta sauce.