Like mama used to make

By Zhao Dan Source:Global Times Published: 2011-11-4 8:42:00

Vincenzo Spinosi and his guest chef Paolo Antinori. Photo: Courtesy of St Regis Hotel

Vincenzo Spinosi's suitcase is always stocked up with fresh eggs, flour, salt, extra virgin olive oil, a pastry board, rolling pin, and an immaculate apron. The world-recognized "king of pasta," is traveling the world doing demonstrations of how to prepare his signature pasta, known as Spinosi. His family have been creating this unique pasta since 1933.

Family business

Spinosi spoke to the Global Times while he was visiting the Italian restaurant Danieli's at the St Regis Hotel in Pudong New Area. "Pasta means to Italians what rice means to Chinese," he said.

His most popular Spinosi pasta is called Spinosini 2000, a typical egg-based pasta from the Marche Region of Italy.

The Spinosini are different to other egg pastas because of its inclusion of healthy omega 3 nutrients in the recipe. The fresh eggs are enriched by providing the Leghorn hens with a diet integrated with vegetable oils, which is a natural source of omega 3s. "If you touch every thread of the Spinosi, you will feel that the surface is rough, and that is good because it means the pasta can absorb the cooking source and it also makes the pasta more  aromatic," said Spinosi.

Spinosini pasta with lemon and raw ham. Photo: Courtesy of St Regis Hotel

Labeling pastas

Apart from Spinosini, he also produces SpinoBelli, a thicker version of Spinosi. "It's not only about different names for the same pasta, it's about different ingredients in each of these pastas," Spinosi explained. "If you look at a bottle of wine, you can see its strength, its provenance, and the type of grapes. It's all on the label. But pasta in Italy doesn't have this, and I'm trying to change this."

One of the reasons Spinosi is in Shanghai is to work alongside guest chef Paolo Antinori. The pair are offering a week-long service of Spinosi dishes and desserts at Danieli's until November 8. A five-course menu prepared with Spinosini dishes paired with Italian wines will cost 788 yuan ($124) per person.

Add: 889 Dongfang Road 东方路889号

Tel: 5050-4567 ext 6370

Home cooking

Spinosi shared with the Global Times a recipe of for Spinosi pasta cooked with prosciutto.

Ingredients to serve 4:

250 grams Spinosini

80 grams prosciutto (3 slices)

70 grams extra-virgin olive oil

40 grams grated Parmesan cheese

15 grams parsley, finely chopped

4 grams grated lemon zest

2 ladles cooking water


Cut the prosciutto into small strips and heat gently with the oil in a frying pan without browning.

Cook the Spinosini in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes. Drain and add to the frying pan with 2 ladleful of cooking water.

Cook for about one minute and the pasta will absorb the cooking water and sauce. Remove the pan from the heat before grating in the lemon zest followed by the Parmesan cheese.

Mix gently and adding the chopped parsley and, if necessary, more cooking water or a drop of oil.

Faster pasta

And if you're looking for something with a more down-to-earth budget, there are Italian eateries around the city offering less specialized, but still mouth-watering pasta dishes.

Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore

Pasta Fresca Da Salvatore serves Shanghai customers with fresh pastas, sauces and ingredients made directly in the restaurant's own factory in Singapore. They also boast a lot of products imported from Italy including wine, coffee beans, tomato  purée and olive oil. This is an ideal place for an authentic Italian experience. And the Italian chefs are more than happy to pop out of the kitchen to say hello and recommend a mix-and-match pasta dish.

Add: Room 14, 2/F, The Thumb Plaza, 185 Fangdian Road 芳甸路185号大拇指广场2楼14室

Tel: 5033-9001

M&J ltalian Pasta House

Located in Xintiandi, the two-story eatery is hard to spot among all the surrounding luxury shop windows. But this small eatery offers excellent pastas and homemade pizzas. There are 30 kinds of pastas available. Try enjoying a meal in the outdoor seating area in the enclosed arcade walkway. 

Add: No.2, Lane 156 Xingye Road 兴业路156弄2号锦麟天地内

Tel: 6385-3700

Pasta Inn

This cozy restaurant is located on Maoming Road South near bustling Huaihai Road Middle. With wooden chairs, bookshelves and  photos featuring Italian landmarks, the eatery has a homely environment and serves a wide range of pastas. The afternoon tea set menu costs only 19 yuan.  

Add: 132 Maoming Road South 茂名南路132号

Tel: 5465-9816

Posted in: Food, Metro Shanghai

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