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22 April 2016


I am Thinking

Among the things I think about most these days, there is one worth mentioning. Recently, I was invited to participate in an architecture show and cook a recipe which represents our work. Behind the conjunction of the relativity of the topic in the times we live in, between the reality show and the decadence, I am imposed by certain circumstances to give an answer.

How could a dish represent me? How to find an analogy between something we eat and the work of the architect, so long-standing, so complex, so intense?
At first, I almost felt like I have to invent a dish to make a sort of Dada manifesto, and then I decided this is indeed the Genevose. The Genovese means "coming from the genes" and is practically one of the most famous dishes of Naples.
It is the result of a true cultural depravity, œuvrée by the French;  a variation of the classic onion soup, prepared like a Neapolitan ragù, and mixed with pasta.
So, it's a hybrid, the fruit of a cultural exchange which resulted in a fantastic dish. Yes, because the Genovese is delicious. The process that gave birth to the Genovese is very contemporary, based on assimilation and resumption; it fits in a certain way to our own vision.
Moreover, the choice of the dish corresponds to our working methods, which is to take a look at the things around us, the familiar things we've looked at so many times, that at certain point forgot to see; those things (like the Genovese) which when observed closely become Pandora boxes, places of memory and of the future.
The ingredients for the dish are simple, as the process of cooking, but you have to take your time, it's about patience ... which is also true for architecture.

As I have to prepare the recipe tonight, I forward it to you as well:
Ingredients for 10 people:
- 1.5 kg chuck beef
- Extra virgin olive oil
- 1 celery rib, trimmed and roughly chopped
- 1 carrot
- 2 kg of onions
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 kg of paccheri
- finely  grated cheese

1. Place the meat in a terracotta pan with the olive oil and cook it over a medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes.
2. Add the carrot, the celery and the spices and pan them for a few minutes.
3. Cover the meat with finely chopped onions and add a little water and salt.
4. Cover and cook over a low heat, stirring occasionally, like stew.
5. Three hours later you have obtained a dense and homogeneous cream with a sweet and succulent flavor. But how sweet?  Add the spices, depending on your preferences.
6. Cut the meat into large slices: if it is dry and too firm, it means that you have done a good job, because all the taste is in the juice; if not continue cooking until it is healed.
7. Put the meat aside and pour the sauce into a large skillet, add the paccheri al dente, spices and fresh herbs, and cook over high heat for one or two minutes, stirring the sauce and the juice penetrates inside each Pacchero.
Taste for seasoning, then add salt and pepper, if necessary and serve. Add the grated cheese.
The meat is served separately.