Cristian Borchi

Cristian Borchi, the chef at L’Antica Porta di Levante, uses his dishes to express himself, his local area and his philosophy, based on finding an equilibrium between tradition and innovation. Since 2001 he has been on a constant quest to seek out quality ingredients from the local area, respecting seasonality and the producers, without ruling out going beyond Italy for some particular specialties. His idea of cooking, and of life, is simple: “You can’t think well, sleep well or love well if you haven’t eaten well.”

Two-colored fresh pasta and coffee bottoni stuffed with Mugello and Tarese mountain potatoes, bardiccio sausage and Mora Romagnola coppa sauce, and strong coffee-flavored Certaldo onion

Following the criteria requested, I have developed this recipe, which also happens to reflect my own idea of cooking.

It includes all the concepts I express in the food I cook every day in the Mugello district of Tuscany: seasonality (though, to tell the truth, aside from the Certaldo onion and the calamint, a wild herb, available only in certain periods of the year, the ingredients may be found virtually all year round), the pursuit and rediscovery of tradition, and the use of traditional ingredients in non-stereotypical ways. The choice of ingredients reiterates the local culture of never wasting anything at any time of year and preserving some foodstuffs with a view to the harder times. Hence a selection of some that have always been part of the area’s biodiversity (calamint, salt, pork, grain) and others that have adapted to the place and the climate (the potato), and others still that, albeit originating elsewhere in the world, have simply become part our our tradition (coffee).

For the bottoni and filling

eggs
flour
organic extra virgin olive oil
Cervia salt
free-trade coffee
Pietramala highland potatoes
Tarese del Valdarno pancetta
garlic
rosemary
parsley

Make two pasta doughs, the first classic with eggs, flour, oil and salt, the second with the addition of coffee powder.

Leave the two doughs to rest and roll out.

Boil potatoes. While they are boiling, dice pancetta and mince rosemary with a little garlic and parsley.

Brown the minced herbs and add the pancetta.

Peel and mash boiled potatoes.

Mix the browned mixture of herbs and pancetta with potatoes and season with Cervia salt and freshly ground pepper.

Using a sac à poche, squeeze small mounds of filling onto one of the strips of rolled out pasta.

Cover with the other strip so that each side of bottoni is a different color. Using a pastry cutter, seal bottoni and round off the edges with a slightly larger cutter. Cook in boiling salted water.

For the sauce

Certaldo onion
bardiccio sausage, casing removed
Mora Romagnola pork coppa, diced
organic extra virgin olive oil
fair-trade coffee
Cervia salt
calamint

Julienne onion and soften in extra virgin olive oil.

Add coppa and bardiccio sausage (the two meats will melt in their own fat).

Soften with strong coffee and finish cooking. The resulting sauce should be thick and chocolate-colored, the juices reduced to a pleasantly sticky texture.

To plate

Cook bottoni in salted boiling water, drain and transfer to a bowl of extra virgin olive oil.

Spoon the piping hot sauce into a dish and arrange bottoni on top. Finish with the rest of the sauce and garnish with fresh calamint leaves and a few drops of extra virgin olive oil.