Pino Cuttaia. The cuisine of memory

Nov 8 2019, 14:03 | by Gambero Rosso
Pino Cuttaia is one of the top chefs in Italy. He uses recipes of his childhood, which allow him to cook and reinvent, remembering past moments. Here's the story.

"I consider my cooking a "cuisine of memory": every dish comes from a memory of the past". Pino Cuttaia, chef and artisan, describes himself this way. He uses ingredients and recipes of his childhood for his dishes, which allow him to cook and reinvent, remembering past moments. With his dishes he narrates and brings to life a piece of Sicilian history, but he also manages to awaken personal memories in those who taste them. His imaginative and evocative creations are always made with great attention to seasonality and local ingredients.

Anchovy framework

"The sea in Licata for me is the place of long walks and solitary reflections. From the memories linked to the sea, dishes are born that evoke the aromas, but also the landscapes and stories. An example is the anchovy framework: the story of a night fishing expedition during which a fisherman particularly fascinated me. The dish recalls the moment when, hoisting the fishing net in the moonlight, the shimmer of the fish scales merged with the sea water".

Calamri ravioli filled with "Tinniruma di cucuzza", with anchovy sauce

«This is a dish that among its ingredients also includes illusion: like many other Sicilian cuisine preparations, originally designed to bring something to the table that was actually not there. Cooks would deceive the sense of smell or sight by imitating foods the one could not afford. Here I wanted to elevate simple peasant ingredients like zucchini leaves for the stuffing of my ravioli. Furthermore, since calamari are not always of equal size, in order to enhance their natural irregularity, I decided to create a ravioli where the calamari substitute the pasta outer shell, and not the filling».


«This deesert is born from the most classic, ancient and famous dessert of Sicilian pastry: cannoli filled with ricotta. I modified my favorite part, the candied orange peel, into a delicate cone-shaped shell, easier to eat and to enhance aesthetically. For the filling I chose pistachios and candied marmalade, thus obtaining a true cornucopia both in form and substance: a dessert that celebrates the richness and abundance of Sicilian Sunday tables».

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