Tagliatelle with Sculpit
Sculpit or Stridolo is a treasured Italian green herb that is almost completely unknown here in America, which is a shame, gastronomically speaking. Its’ flavors have been compared to a blend of Chicory, Arugula and Tarragon, but milder and with its’ own unique flavor. A fast-growing annual, it is traditionally found on the edge of fields, forests and mountain pastures and is harvested in Spring before the first blooms appear. The leaves are the part used in cooking, most famously flavoring risotto, along with pasta, soups, salads and main courses including meat.
It really reminds me of Ramps- or more properly- Rampions in the East where there are huge multi-acre patches growing in forests and alongside old, established agricultural fields. They have a cult-like following, and are now becoming so popular that some of the native patches are being over harvested, causing a decline in recovery and a decreasing size of the patches.
Back to Sculpit, though. They are extremely popular in the Emilia-Romagna region in Northern Italy, with Bologna as its’ capital. So popular, in fact, that they have their own festival at the end of April in the little mountain village of Galeata, in the Southeast of Emilia-Romagna.
Here is a classic Italian Sculpit recipe with Tagliatelle noodle pasta- as always, the fresher the ingredients, the better the flavors!
Tagliatelle agli Stridoli
2 Mild Italian sausages, sliced 1/8″ thick
2 slices of pancetta
4 ripe tomatoes- Italian Plum such as Principe Borghese or the San Marzano tomatoes.
5 oz Sculpit, coarsely chopped
7 oz Tagliatelle pasta
Extra virgin olive oil
Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste
Heat pasta water in a large pot on high heat with salt added to water. Once the water just starts boiling, start cooking. Start the pasta cooking right after adding the pancetta to the pan.
Cook the sausages in a heavy pan on medium heat with a little oil for 3-5 minutes, then add the diced pancetta. Cook until light golden, then add fresh tomatoes and sculpit, reduce heat slightly to a simmer.
Cook the pasta in boiling salted water, drain it, and place the pasta in the pan with the sauce, frying it for a few seconds. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper and serve immediately with fresh bread. Optionally, add a very light sprinkle of grated hard Italian cheese- don’t drown out the fresh flavors with the cheese, though.
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