Spaghetti with broccoli and whitebait
Images courtesy of Luca Ridolfi and Germaine Stafford
Brothers Luca and Fabio Ridolfi have a modern, expansive philosophy and look for innovative ways to involve and engage their clients. Whether it’s a monthly newsletter to keep people up to date with news or the offer of week-long sessions for individual clients in the restaurant’s kitchens under Fabio’s encouraging eye, their passion for their work is palpable.
With their new initiative A Casa Tua, they will even come to your home and cook and serve dinner for you and a group of friends, complete with wines from Lo Scudiero’scellar.
For a tour of the kitchen, I am handed over to chef Luca who promptly introduces me to an exquisitely ugly 6-kilo monkﬁsh, still alive and kicking in the restaurant’s refrigerator, which is probably about as fresh as ﬁsh can get.
Fabio is keen to point out that although Pesaro is right on the Adriatic coast, he also loves cooking the inland specialties of lamb, pork, pigeon and, during the winter months, the precious white trufﬂes from Acqualagna.
Bianchetti are tiny baby ﬁsh like very small whitebait but if you prefer, you can substitute them with sliced baby calamari or some strips of white-ﬂeshed ﬁsh like monkﬁsh or bass.
(serves four people)
200 g broccoli; 4 tomatoes;
50 ml extra virgin olive oil; 1 clove garlic, finely chopped;
1 tbsp finely chopped parsley; 1 glass dry white wine;
350 g spaghetti; 100 g very fresh whitebait;
Salt and pepper.
Blanche the broccoli in boiling salted water and remove with a slotted spoon. Cut into small pieces. Plunge the tomatoes into the hot broccoli water for 30 seconds then remove. This process should make it easy to peel them. Once peeled, chop tomatoes into small pieces.
In a frying pan heat the olive oil, add the garlic, the parsley, the broccoli and the tomatoes. Sauté for 5 minutes then add the white wine and cook over a high heat until wine has evaporated. Salt to taste.
Cook the spaghetti in abundant salted water until almost cooked. Drain and add to the frying pan. Add half the whitebait and toss the contents of the pan together until well mixed.
To serve, arrange the spaghetti in nests in the centre of the plate and place a spoonful of the remaining uncooked whitebait on top. Finish with some freshly ground black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
(N.B. If you substitute the whitebait with calamari or other ﬁsh, or simply want the whitebait cooked rather than raw, add them earlier in the cooking process when you’re sautéing the broccoli and tomatoes. Then continue as above).