_Nino Mosca is an Napolitan chef and maitre de maison of Relais & Chateaux Il Bottaccio in the heart of Tuscany, Italy. _
This recipe for Tagliolini in Salsa di Pomodoro Ciliegino was inspired by my first meeting with American singer and actress Barbra Streisand, and by the “perfect bite” as described in a scene of her movie “The Mirror Has Two Faces”. It had to be simple, balanced and harmonious: a complete bite that comprehended a dish's essential taste. I harmonised the simple dish, removing all that was unnecessary. It is a fresh, clean, and tasty tomato sauce.
Tagliolini in Salsa di Pomodoro Ciliegino
Cooking time: 40 minutes.
2 Plum Tomatoes (200 grams) for the tomato concasée
2 cups of cherry tomato (about 400 grams)
½ Garlic glove, finely chopped
1 Basil spring
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
160 grams of good quality Tagliolini or Spaghetti
Set a large pot with salted water and let it boil.
Wash your plum tomatoes, grab a cutting board, take a knife and carefully slice crosses into the skins. Once the water is boiling, throw them in the pot for less than a minute. Take them out and put them immediately in a bowl of iced water.
Thanks to the quick boiling, the skin can be removed easily now. Do this, but save the skins for later. Now cut your peeled tomatoes in halves, then in quarters. This is your tomato concasse.
Set your immersion blender and mix the tomato peels remainings, together with the washed cherry tomatoes until you have a purée. If you want to go the extra mile, once you have your purée, strain it through a sieve to avoid even the smallest seeds and peel remains.
Heat a frying pan to medium heat with two spoons of extra-virgin olive oil, add the finely chopped clove of garlic and let it slightly sizzle. Now pour in the fresh tomato purée, adjusting salt and pepper. Let it cook for about two minutes and then add the tomato concasse and the finely chopped basil.
Cook the pasta. Add the fresh Tagliolini (or Spaghetti) to the pot with boiling water and cook until al dente, following package instructions. Drain the pasta and add it directly into the sauce, stir to combine. That’s it. A tasty, and harmonious plate of pasta with tomato sauce. The dish was highly appreciated by Barbara and James.
Wine pairing: “Five Roses” Salento IGT - Leone de Castris
This was the first Italian Rosato to be bottled and commercialised in Italy. The wine dates back to 1943, when General Charles Poletti, commissary for the supplies of the allied forces in Apulia (Puglia), asked for a large supply of the wine but requesting it to have an English name. It is a blend of Negroamaro and Malvasia Nera which, year after year, continues to garner interesting scores in Italian and foreign wine guides. Fruity aromas open to a fresh and mineral taste.
How Barbra Streisand inspired my Tagliolini in Salsa di Pomodoro Ciliegino
Being bound to the Relais & Chateaux Hotel and Restaurants chain, we have become accustomed to high-quality tourism. This involves very demanding clients who have totally different habits.
There was one guest that was particularly special.
Their initial request to stay with us was quite ordinary, but after series of phone calls, faxes and e-mails, it became unusual. Each exchange arrived with a different requirement: from the kind of tea the room needed to have, and how many bathroom mats were on the floor, to the number and kind of pillows. We were curious.
A few days before the due date, breaking news hit. We would expect no less than Barbra Streisand and her husband James Brolin, who had chosen Italy for their holidays.
They arrived in a black Mercedes during the afternoon of a hot summer day. And from the very beginning, James’ big smile and Barbra’s immediate familiarity created the basis of a nice and cordial relationship.
One night at the restaurant, Barbra requested a simple dish, a “perfect bite," she said. It had to be simple, balanced and harmonious: a complete bite that comprehended a dish's essential taste. It inspired me. I suggested the Tagliolini in Salsa di Pomodoro Ciliegino.
While I cooked, I was committed to harmonising the simple dish, removing all that was unnecessary, looking for the simple “perfect bite”.
Two years later, while they were travelling again around Italy (this time by boat), I was very proud of their return to the restaurant. They were passing by and wanted to have again "the famous Tagliolini of the perfect bite.” I organized a docking in a nearby harbour, acted as their personal driver and cook.
I accompanied Barbra on her shopping spree in the nearby Forte dei Marmi, and organised a meeting with Andrea Bocelli.
This was the best present Barbra and James ever gave me. I asked for nothing in return and was satisfied to have been the host of my new friends.
On the day of their departure, Barbra asked us to do a set of photographs together with Kristin, my wife, and James. She placed the camera, pressed the auto timer, called us together and the camera took the photo.
Only a short while later, a parcel from Los Angeles arrived. It contained a very beautiful root wooden frame with the photo of the four of us and dedication from Barbra and James.