Pasta and side dish? The true Mediterranean diet – Italian Cuisine

No meat, but cereals, legumes, vegetables and extra virgin olive oil. From the Apulian tradition to a starred version, a mix to bring to the table every day; and the dream of a vegetarian tavern

Vegetables; pasta, bread or rice; fruit: the main meals in the Mediterranean diet they are based on a few basic ingredients, enriched with vegetable fats and dairy products. In fact, a balanced diet consists of 50% complex carbohydrates, more than 20% fat and 10-12% protein. Practically what the whole world envies us is a diet based on first courses and side dishes; even though it may seem strange today, get used to the veal slice or the vegan burger. The recipes for a healthy daily diet are more like orecchiette with turnip greens or pasta with lentils rather than high-protein and avocado-based dishes. And they are not two random examples, because Puglia is in fact one of those regions where this mix has always occurred, and to which one can look to today to rethink one's daily diet.

Land of agriculture and "sopratavola"

Puglia is a land of flourishing agriculture, the national vegetable garden from which more than 30% of the oil, tomatoes, artichokes, cabbage and salad we eat in Italy come. But it is also a region with enormous biodiversity in terms of vegetables and which produces vegetables unknown elsewhere such as sponzali, barattieri, purple carrots and other varieties that are the protagonists of the local food and wine tradition. In addition to the most well-known and already mentioned typical dishes, just think of the eggplant parmigiana and the so-called "sopratavola", ie the use of serving raw vegetables to munch on before or after a meal, such as a pinzimonio or crudité, to put it in French. Carousel, celery, chicory, radishes were brought to the table to end a meal and linger chatting and munching on something or, as happens everywhere today, together with olives and chips for an aperitif. Healthy.

Pasta and side dish

Domingo Schingaro, starred chef of the restaurant I Due Camini in Borgo Egnazia, is one of the singers of Apulian biodiversity and puts vegetables at the center of his dishes, even without necessarily combining them with a component of fish or meat, a deeply trendy choice today and at the same time absolutely Apulian. On the stage of Identity of Pasta annex2021 edition of the Identità Golose congress so he presented a plate of tubettini with a side of green beans. Or vice versa: depending on your point of view. «In the dinner tasting menu we serve courses that include several saucers, and we always try to propose the right amount of carbohydrates also according to the daily cycle of necessary nutrients. Consuming fiber along with a pasta improves digestion and the proper absorption of carbohydrates. This concept of well-being is linked to a tradition: a raw vegetable such as "uaccie" celery has always been served on an Apulian table together with an important course such as Orecchiette con le brasciole. barattiero watermelon, Polignano carrot, celery, radishes .

Spaghetti with green beans and tubes with mussel water

Three preparations that are served in a single course: «The carbohydrates of the tube, the green bean which has the shape of spaghetti which provides fiber and minerals, the mussels and the cacioricotta the proteins. Spaghetti is replaced by the "pinto" green bean, a typical Apulian long croissant that can be kept dried until winter. She cooks them in an essence of seaweed and mussels and then serves them by placing a conserve of Gargano tomatoes and aglione on top. To finish the dish, a sprinkling of cacioricotta, also from the Gargano. On the side, a second dish with tubes cooked in risotto in the same broth of seaweed and mussels, served over a cream of bran and parsley, and then a few drops of a cream of mussels, tomato peel powder and crusco pepper. Everything is cooked without salt, replaced by the flavor of algae and mussels, and by the concentration of flavors obtained from the various drying processes. To drink, an infusion of dried fig leaves which, he explains, "helps to decrease the glycemic part of the pasta", and therefore promotes its digestibility. The name is Mediterranean Breeze, because the Mediterranean breeze in Puglia helps the preservation and drying of food, which "stops time" and allows us to enjoy these products even when the season is over.

Green beans that look like spaghetti.

The vegetable precedence: the prize

A recurring theme in the most anticipated chef's congress in Italy, the vegetable has also become the prize Best Green Ideas, assigned to Diego Rossi of the Trippa restaurant in Milan. During the award ceremony Katia Piazzi of Koppert Cress thus motivated the award to a tavern that made the fifth quarter its flag: "We at Identità are pleased to see how finally many realize that one must not be partisans of a choice, but to experience cooking in an omnivorous way, without considering vegetables as side dishes to which you do not pay the right attention. Diego Rossi succeeds with gusto because he himself loves vegetables . His dream? A vegetable tavern with a side of meat.

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