Sour butter and rancid fat. When the kitchen defies common sense – Italian Cuisine

The chefs play with ancestral tastes and forgotten products, challenging our foreclosures and looking for new flavors. Good to eat, but not to think about? Change your mind with a (sexy) recipe

Acid, rancid, bitter, burnt … are not exactly words that make you hungry, on the contrary. And yet they are increasingly common on restaurant menus today. The chefs are looking for new flavors and with often ancestral procedures they recall forgotten preparations such as fermentations. But it's true, they also try to amaze us and capture our attention, challenging us to order dishes that sound like disturbing. But that I'm not at all.

"Rancid"It is said of a fat altered by contact with oxygen and evokes tastes such as that of old oil, of forgotten dried fruit who knows where and when the butter has now turned yellow, acid and with a bitter aftertaste: a disgust. We reject the idea of ​​rancid like that of bitter or acid, from the bottom because our body recognizes it instinctively as a danger. Rancid means spoiled, but rancidity is also a necessary process for obtaining spicy cheeses or blue cheeses, it is part of ancient products that are found in every tradition, in the north and south of the world (storage before the refrigerator generated foods such as smen Moroccan or Slovenian fermented cottage cheese). In the absence of a necessity, the rancidity masterfully governed has become a way to develop new tastes, and the chefs juggle us with increasing pleasure.

Moroccan smen.

Strong ricotta and rancid fat, from chef

Large pots of fermented ricotta are stored in the Hiša Franko cellar, Ana Roš and Valter Kramar's restaurant in Kaporid, Slovenia. It is eaten for breakfast on bread and is often found in the dishes on its menu, combined with the flavors of the forest, smoked eel or beetroot. Its iconic dish, not surprisingly, is Potato cooked in hay with fermented ricotta, a gourmet version of a grandmother's recipe.

Pasta, garlic, rancid fat and chili pepper is one of the (excellent) dishes that are eaten at Bros, a Michelin star restaurant in Lecce by chefs Isabella Potì and Floriano Pellegrino. In this recipe, spaghetti is cooked and then creamed in fat obtained by boiling the waste of Salento ham fat, and then seasoned with garlic and sweet and spicy pepper powder. But just from Bros one of the signature dishes is the Ricotta forte and ricci, in which they use a typical ancient Apulian product with an intense, spicy and slightly bitter taste.

The fat of the Iberian ham

Rancid is the flavor that the Spaniards pursue in the extreme seasonings of raw ham, which year after year sees the fat transform to a golden color and an aromatic flavor with notes of wild herbs, mushrooms, truffles … cheese. Joselito Iberian ham, undoubtedly the most famous in the world, is also aged for ten years, served at room temperature, dark and deliberately unctuous, and the flavor is unforgettable.

Marchesi's sour butter

Sour butter, on the other hand, is nothing new. The father of the kitchen Gualtiero Marchesi used sour butter to whisk the risotto, necessary to impart acidity and therefore balance to the dish. In France, sour butter has a more elegant name, beurre blanc, and sees the addition of sour cream. To make it Italian, Marchesi eliminated the crème fraîche and studied a different procedure: lightly fry the butter with chopped onion and white wine, let it simmer slowly and then filter. Add more butter, mix and put back in the refrigerator until ready for use.

The recipe for sour spaghetti

At the pastry-restaurant Venom of Brescia, the chef Maurizio Amato uses the same technique to prepare acid spaghetti, with butter and beetroot. To amaze, and to break our prejudice towards words, flavors and memories, and to conquer: the name of the recipe is Visceral Love and these Spaghettoni sour butter and beetroot offers them for Valentine's Day.


Ingredients for 2 people

1 golden onion
50 g of white wine vinegar
110 g of white wine (Pinot bianco)
120 g of butter
2 red turnips
120 g of Felicetti Spaghettone


Blend the turnips, sift to obtain the juice. In a saucepan over low heat, put the onion cut into thin slices. Add vinegar and wine until the onion takes on a transparent appearance and the alcohol has evaporated. Remove from the heat and gradually melt the cold butter. Sift all the mixture. Cool and refrigerate. Cook the pasta in salted water, drain and stir in the cold sour butter and beetroot juice.

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