September 23, 2021
The history of Scialatielli
Italy, the land of pasta, boasts over 400 different varieties, all rooted in tradition and locality.
Scialatielli only entered the scene relatively recently in 1978, making waves as the prize-winning creation of Chef Enrico Cosentino. This unique pasta has since been honored with the title of Prodotto Agroalimentare Tradizionale, recognizing scialatielli as a traditional regional dish of Campania. The clever name comes from the local Neapolitan dialect words for enjoy ‘scialare’ and pan ‘tiella.’
Scialatielli is a fresh pasta made of egg and semolina flour, but where it diverges from many other recipes is the addition of whole milk, Pecorino Romano PDO, and fresh basil to the dough. It should measure 1 centimeter (<¼ inch) thick and 12-15 (4-6 inches) centimeters long. It can be topped with a variety of different sauces depending on the season, but seafood and tomatoes are an excellent representation of the coastal influence and prime tomato growing region of Campania.
Falerno del Massico Wine Pairing
An excellent wine to accompany Scialatielli with seafood is Falerno del Massico DOC. This pairing is the epitome of “whatever grows together, goes together,” in this case between the volcanos and the sea in Campania.
Falerno del Massico is a wine growing region with Denominazione di Origine Controllata (DOC) status. This EU distinction recognizes wines that represent the terroir of a distinct region that are produced using high-quality, traditional methods.
The Falerno del Massico DOC is located just north of Naples at the foot of the volcano Roccamonfina. The grape variety is 100% Falanghina, a favorite grape of the ancient Romans.
One sip of Falerno del Massico DOC leaves a silky, soothing nectar quality on the palate. Vibrant acidity with notes of peach are complemented by hints of citrus and tropical fruit, finished with a dash of minerality lended by the volcanic soil.
Read more about the fascinating history of Falerno del Massico DOC on Wine 365.
An Amalfi Coast Inspired Food & Wine Pairing: Scialatielli ai Frutti di Mare & Falerno del Massico DOC
For the pasta dough:
- 400 g about 3 ¼ cups semolina flour
- 1 egg
- 175 g about ¾ cup whole milk
- 30 g about 2 TBSP Pecorino Romano DOP, finely grated
- Minced basil to taste (around 2 TBSP)
- 10 g about 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
For the seafood & tomato sauce:
- 700 grams around 1 ½ pounds Clams
- 700 grams around 1 ½ pounds Mussels
- 200 grams around 1 cup Cherry or grape tomatoes
- 1-2 cloves of garlic
- Parsley to taste
- White wine
- Extra virgin olive oil as needed
To make the dough:
- Finely chop the basil.
- Lightly beat the egg, and add it to the semolina in a mixing bowl.
- Add the grated Pecorino Romano and minced basil.
- Drizzle in the milk and olive oil.
- Start kneading the dough together and once combined, transfer it to a large, flat surface.
- Knead by hand or in a stand mixer with the hook attachment 8 minutes until the pasta is smooth.
- Rub a dab of olive oil on the ball of dough and then cover with plastic wrap so that it doesn’t dry out.
- Allow the dough to rest for 30 minutes to allow the gluten to fully develop. The dough should spring back when touched.
- Divide the dough into quarters, keeping the remaining pieces of dough covered with plastic wrap.
- Sprinkle some semolina on and under the dough to prevent sticking
- Roll out the dough to 5mm (less than ¼ inch).
- Sprinkle the dough abundantly with semolina. Fold in both ends of the dough and slice the pasta into 1cm (.3 in) thick strips, 12-13 cm (~4.5 to 6 inches) long.
- Boil the pasta for 4-5 minutes.
- Click here to watch Chef Enrico Cosentino (the original creator) make scialatielli (in Italian).
To steam the clams and mussels:
- Make sure to use clams & mussels shortly after purchasing. Store clams & mussels until use in a wet paper towel (never in plastic so they can breathe). Before cooking, the shells should be closed, indicating that they are still alive (dead clams or mussels start to produce toxins and should be discarded). If the clam or mussel is slightly open, give it a tap to see if it closes. On the contrary, clams or mussels should open when cooked. Discard any that remain closed are broken.
- Scrub the shells if needed and rinse under cold water. De-beard the mussels if necessary. Be sure to ask the fish monger if there are any specific requirements for cleaning the clams or mussels (some come already prepped).
- Steam the mussels in a large pot with enough water to cover the bottom and a vegetable steamer (optional). Remove the clams or mussels as they open and discard any that do not. Conserve the water and pour it over a coffee filter to remove any impurities. Set aside to add to the sauce.
- Coat the bottom of a saucepan with extra virgin olive oil and fry the sliced garlic over medium low until fragrant. Slice the tomatoes in half and add them to the pan. Cook until soft. Add a dash of white wine (optional) over high heat to cook off the alcohol. Lower the flame and add the clams and mussels, some removed and some still in their shells.
- Add the scialatielli cooked al dente to the pan with the tomatoes, clams & mussels. Add the clam water and some pasta water to mantecare, Italian for allowing a few minutes for the sauce to slightly thicken in this case from the starch in the pasta water). Add more olive oil if necessary. Garnish with minced parsley. Serve with a glass of Falerno del Massico DOC. Buon appetito & cin cin!
I love serving my pasta dishes in these Italian phrase enamel pasta bowls fro q.b. cucina, an online shop for quality Italian pasta tools.
I selected the phrases “l’ingrediente segreto è l’amore” (the secret ingredient is love) and “l’amore passa, la fame no” (love fades, hunger doesn’t).