A winter’s recipe from Gurdulù

by Marco Gemelli, ph. Archivio Gurdulù, Luca Managlia


As a disciple of Gualtiero Marchesi, risotto could only be a passion. That is why the chef Stefano Cavallini – only recently in the kitchen of Gurdulù, in the heart of the Florentine Oltrarno – chose a risotto creamed with black truffles and scallops as his winter dish. The chef, coming from Lugo di Romagna became famous for being the first Italian chef to ever obtain a Michelin star beyond Italian borders, it was 1995 in London.  For his risotto he chose a Vialone nano rice and truffles from Umbria faithfully supplied by Carlo Caporicci, his historic trusted supplier. “We prepare the rice without an onion base,” explains Stefano Cavallini, “and toast it in white wine then we let it cook for about ten minutes in a fish broth or with the white part of the scallops. At the end, we cream it with acid butter, obtained from a reduction of vinegar and shallots. No parmesan must be added because it would clash with the carpaccio of scallops arrayed on the rice.” As mentioned, rice is heritage of his experience with the founding father of contemporary Italian cuisine: “If the truffles depend on the season, rice is always on the menu: I have always been a fan of this product,” confirms the chef who had conquered London precisely with rice – like many of Gualtiero Marchesi’s disciples who have handed down his intuition for serving rice spread on a shallow plate instead of a soup plate. “My favourite version of risotto is that with teal, mint and Porcini mushrooms,” he adds, “because it is an unusual but winning combination which I experimented when I worked in England, where, in the kitchen, we had teals which migrated from Russia.” Right, England: it was Gualtiero Marchesi, who had taken him to his kitchens in his Milanese restaurant at the time of the three stars, to have sent him to the Halkin Hotel in London. And it was right there that, notwithstanding the undisputed domain of French cuisine, Cavallini conquered his first Michelin star, the first for an Italian abroad.  And now, Gurdulù.  “A fulfilling challenge as far as ingredients and techniques: we are trying to propose bistro cuisine with a good quality price ratio, with classic Italian and French dishes plus a touch of modernity,” Stefano Cavallini concludes, “which however does not give rise to anything molecular: I am a gravy, broth and bisque kind of guy.”



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