Scialatielli: history of Amalfi pasta that conquered Campania

by Federico Quagliuolo

What sensation brings us closer to happiness than a nice plate of Scialatielli pasta with sea food from the parts of a viewpoint of the Amalfi Coast on a sweet spring day?

It is an image that has almost entered the cliche tourist, but it never tires the residents either. Yet we must know that we have a very young recipe on our plate, if compared with the ancient Neapolitan traditions: the scialatiello was in fact invented in 1978 from the extraordinary genius of an Amalfi chef, Enrico Cosentino, which in its curriculum counts extraordinary boast: it is Grand Master of Italian Cuisine and it was chef of the best restaurants on Capri and the Amalfi Coast.

A gift to the local culinary tradition

The ability of the scialatielli of conquer the palate is truly unique: being one fresh pasta, it voraciously absorbs the flavors of the sauces in which it is found. At the same time in the mouth it is consistent and dal flavor much more present and decisive compared to that of linguine, the pasta that historically pairs best with seafood.

The invention of the master Cosentino earned him the Entremetier prize of the 1978 International Cooking Competition. Their name comes from the crasis between "scialare" and "tiella" (pot).
Scialare is a very fascinating word: in southern dialects it means "to have fun“,“ Enjoy it ”. According to some comes from the Arabic "mashallah", or "a thing appreciated by God“, A term used to indicate all good things.

scialatielli freschi
Fresh pasta

How to make scialatielli

The ingredients are simple:
400g of flour 00
170ml of milk
3 basil leaves
3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
An egg

Pour the flour into a bowl, then add a beaten egg. Mix with a fork and, in the meantime, add the pecorino and milk. Then the dough must be started by hand.

Pour the oil into the dough and knead until a soft and compact-looking dough is obtained. Let's put it in the refrigerator for about half an hour and then, once it has cooled, roll it out on a floured board and roll out the dough with a rolling pin until it is about half a centimeter high.

We roll up the two ends of the dough making two cylinders at the height of the center of the dough disc and begin to cut it with a knife: many "rolls" will come out which, once unfolded, will be our scialatielli

We can cook them in salted water for about 5 minutes before seasoning them.

Scialatielli al Pomodoro
Scialatielli with sauce, photograph by Alleria Vegan House

Scialatielli all'Amalfitana: the original recipe

Homemade scialatielli
300g of clams
300g of Bacoli mussels
150g of shrimp
250g cuttlefish
205g piennolo cherry tomatoes
Green olives and capers
2 cloves of garlic
extra virgin olive oil

Once our scialatielli (not cooked!) Are ready, we need to make a sauce made up of various seafood, with Piennolo cherry tomatoes.

After cleaning all the seafood, with particular attention to the mussels, we begin to brown the garlic in a pan with a drizzle of oil. We pour mussels and clams, then add cuttlefish cut into strips, shrimps and finally the tomatoes. When they open the seafood will be ready.

In the meantime, pour the scialatielli into boiling water and cook them for 5 minutes. Drain them, pour them into the pan and finish preparing the seafood.

The advice is to serve them with abundant fresh parsley!

In short, if it often happens to complain about the little inventiveness of modern times and we think that the traditions are something very ancient and immutable, perhaps linked to the tables of some kings of past centuries, the chef Cosentino and his scialatielli tell us that you don't need to be an artist, you just need the right inventiveness to give birth to the traditions of the future, just like Scaturchio did with the Danube a hundred years ago.

There Campania Region has in fact recognized the scialatielli how "traditional food products, effectively making them enter the same sacred book as the historical recipes of the regional tradition, between one sfogliatella, a Baba it's a Pizza.

-Federico Quagliuolo

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