by: Corrado Dipietro
Corrado Dipietro, Head Chef and creative director of the Pupi Bistrò. Corrado is a young chef from Pachino in Sicily, who studied and worked in Modica. His project is called “Sicilian Experience” as it promotes only Sicilian products, with the objective of giving value to the gourmet version of his land. His passion for gourmet food is born from the refined and delicate qualities of the dish. The young and audacious chef is the heart and mind of this project. Originality and creativity, and doing everything by hand in the kitchen, where tradition is revisited, and the dining room, where the wholly Sicilian experience is lived, are the core elements of the project.
Brown bread with sesame seeds, saffron mayonnaise, lettuce, fresh champignon mushrooms, potato and Ragusano DOP fondue cheese patties.
The idea of the recipe of The Saracen was born to offer an original vegetarian option for panino lovers, that was also rather tasty. The objective is to add value to typical, local products, with the new potato from Syracuse as the hero. It is here that the tasty 200g pattie is born and is no less delightful than the other Gourmet Burgers on the menu. All the other ingredients are married with the Ragusano DOP fondue cheese, which acts as an armour, helping to live the true “Sicilian Experience” (cit. Corrado Dipietro). “Each of the Gourmet Burgers on the menu was assigned the name of a Sicilian puppet.” (cit. Corrado Dipietro). The puppets are characteristic marionettes from the working-class Sicilian culture, that probably came from Don Chisciotte’s Spain, halfway through the 1800s, which operated in Sicily, where it received the height of its popularity. The Opera of the Sicilian Puppets, also known as “Opra”, is a very characteristic theatrical production in which the marionettes, animated by puppeteers, represent the more important accomplishments of the great, medieval heroes who fought for Christianity against the ‘Saraceni’. The ‘Saraceno’, also known as a Moor or dark-skinned person, refers to the Muslim warriors. The most important themes of the “Opra” was the encounter between the protectors of Charlemagne and the Muslim warriors who occupied the Spanish Peninsula, and represented a real threat to the French Kingdom and for the whole of Christian Europe.
After preparing the bread according to the recipe of I Pupi Bistrò, begin to prepare the mayonnaise by adding the saffron pistils; this will be the base of the panino. Place the lettuce on top of the mayonnaise along with the freshly cut mushrooms with evo oil drizzled on top. For the preparation of the patties: cook the Syracuse new potatoes in salted water. Once they are cooked, drain them, mash them with a potato masher and put them in a bowl. Add the egg, parsley, salt and black pepper. Mix the ingredients with a fork. Add the grated caciocavallo cheese and the soft inside of the bread and then mix the ingredients together. Make a pattie and flatten it in the centre, cover the pattie in grated breadcrumbs and fry it in a large amount of sunflower seed oil for around 2 to 3 minutes.
The caciocavallo cheese was born from the Ragusa Latte Società Cooperativa (Ragusa Milk Cooperative).
The Cooperative was founded in 1993 by a small group of farmers, 18 years later and today there are 300 members and, with 50 million litres of milk produced annually by their members, contributes 40% to the entire production of Sicilian milk.
The milk produced in this area of Sicily conserves the scents and tastes of natural food products derived from the grazing land of the animals, which is rich in forage that is spontaneous and typical of the area.
The milk is collected in the member companies and sold in the form of crude milk, cheese and fresh, pasteurised milk.
Ragusa Latte invested in modern cheese-making machinery that allows for the production of the typical iblea ricotta as well as typical cheeses such as cacetti, provole and mozzarella, which are Denominazione di Origine Protetta il Ragusano (Protected Designation of Origin of Ragusa).
In addition to the cheese production from milk, particular attention was given the production of freshly pasteurized milk, that allows Ragusa Latte to be present in the larger distribution chains, and we categorised it in the following way: Latte Fresco Pastorizzato di Alta Qualità (High Quality, Fresh, pastorised milk) and Parzialmente Scremato (semi-skimmed).
With high quality production, Ragusa Latte is certified and quality control checked by the local health authorities, as well as undergoing daily analytical exams in our laboratories.
For this reason, since 2008, Ragusa Latte decided to certify its quality production process the certifications: UNI EN ISO 9001:2008 and UNI EN ISO 22000:2005.
To reinforce the connection with the territory, the supply chain is in place to benefit the consumers, with a guarantee of transparency and traceability of the origin of the milk, the milk from the stalls to the machines is guaranteed by the brand ITALIA ALLEVA, or the Association of Italian Farmers.
Recently, Ragusa Latte became co-founder of the Sicilian Milk Consortium , which will sell around 85 million litres of raw cow’s milk, the equivalent of around 50% of the entire milk production of Sicily.
The potatoes and the iceber lettuce chosen for the pattie are produced by the Giardina Brothers farm in Syracuse.
The farm was founded in 1939 after Sebastiano Giardina decided to promote quality fruit and vegetables. Following in his footsteps came sons Salvatore and Silvio Giardina, bringing new skills that transformed the farm and amplified production.
The company directly controls all the phases of their production process: planting, replanting, cultivation processes, harvesting, storage, packaging and sales. Each phase of the production process is completed under the direct control of the highly trained technical and sales staff. They operate in the territory surrounding Syracuse, ideal for the cultivation of citrus fruit, in particular oranges, lemons and vegetables such as potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, watermelon, baby watermelon and iceberg lettuce.
The eggs used are from Uovopiù, or rather Avicole Modica of Iozzia C&C snc (Ragusa) Farms.
Uovopiù is from the tablelands of Ragusa, famous for excellence in agricultural products. It has been operating for 45 years and is always innovating: In 1994 it was the first farm in Southern Italy to print the expiry date on the eggshell.
The production line is all in Sicily and is in one, particular area, including the animal feed, which is also produced internally in the animal feed factory.
Experience, quality, innovation: these are the main points of success of Uovopiù, that distributes their products in area Nielsen 4, or rather in Sicily, Calabria, Basilicata, Puglia, Campania, Abruzzo, Molise and beyond.
The sunflower seed oil chosen is produced by Unigrà srl (Conselice).
Unigrà operates in the sector of the production and sale of food oils and fats, margarines and semifinished products that are destined to be used in other food products, in particular desserts.
Founded in 1972 by Luciano Martini, the company developed a mission to create raw materials, semifinished products and finished products, all of high quality and destined for many areas of industry: industrial, artisan, retail and Ho.Re.Ca.
The success of Unigrà rests on clear and winning ideas: a constant search for the best, high quality, raw materials, continual investments in the more advanced, production technology, careful attention towards the needs of the market and the clients, determination in reaching ever more ambitious results.
Today Unigrà is an international company that has reached a revenue of almost 600 million Euros, exporting around 40% of its business thanks to 14 international members, 2 branches and a large network of distributors and importers in more that 100 countries around the world.
The management of Unigrà is still guided today by the founder Luciano Martini – President of The Board of Directors and his son, Gian Maria Martini – the General Manager, who ensures continuity in the deep, founding, values of the company.
The mushrooms used in the Saracen panino are from the VL di Verzi Libero C. da Scalilli Farm (Paternò).
The Verzì Liberto Farm has operated in the industry of the production and processing of mushrooms and various other vegetables from 1989.
It uses an advanced system of farming, built using the best technology available on the market today, thus standardising the production systems. Furthermore, it has a factory for the production of the product that boasts one of the most innovative lines of processing and packaging known, that is able to guarantee traceability through all the phases of production.
Saffron is what gives character to the mayonnaise in the Saracen panino, and it is from the Oro dei Magi (Pachino) company.
“The passion, the respect for the nature and beauty of saffron represent the motivation that gave life to this project”: in 2013, the Fronte Ornella farm, which is found in Pachino (SR) in via Magenta n. 102, began to experiment with this unique crop. Today it produces saffron in pistils, which is called "L'Oro Dei Magi" (The Magician’s Gold).
The homemade bread with sesame seeds and the grated breadcrumbs is made with flour from the Amoruso S.R.L. (Cerignola) Brothers’ Mill.
In 1958, three brothers, Leonardo, Nicola, and Vincenzo use all their physical and financial resources to make a mill for soft wheat flour. In fact, everything that has been built today is due to them, their dream and their desire for what we define as “The scent of bread” which, in the collective memory of the local community, is intimately connected to a genuine product, to warmth and family. There is no food more antique, and simple, there is no food that can compete with bread.
Since then their company has taken a road that has continued for over three generations, and continues to search for new flavours that are simple and loved by all: those connected to the union of ‘Franciscan’ ingredients, such as flour, water and fire.
The Fonduta di Ragusano DOP of the “Mmira Sapore Siculo” Company, is presented in an easy to use gourmet glass jar, that can be used for many recipes. It is a product that is infallible, guaranteed by the experience of Mmiria Sapore Siculo, and thoughtfully considered in a practical and versatile way, in order to meet the needs of the consumer. The most important point for us, and the origin, is the milk.
The Cheese Factory follows a production protocol that is not common, from the milking to the transfer into the laboratory for the production of the milk produced only by our cows. This allows us to respect and follow certain nutritional principles, ensuring the quality of the milk. The cows are fed with hay from our land, made with organic compost that is only from our own stables. The grazing follows, with a natural cycle allowing the forage sources to regrow, not wanting to take too much advantage of the lush food and instead deciding to follow the natural rhythm of the plant. We don’t use processed feed, only raw feed from original food sources (corn flour, roots, etc…) that the animals eat from a feeding trough, nourishing themselves freely throughout the day.
What is unique about our company is the attention we place on how we feed our cows: we almost exclusively feed grain and hay, that is mixed with what the cows eat whilst grazing and often some added cereals.
The limit of this type of feeding programme is that productivity cannot be pushed to a maximum level: the cows, in fact, do not produce more than 15 – 18 litres of milk a day on average. This conscious choice is born from the desire to keep a diet for the cows, that is rich vegetable derivatives, which is ideal for their physical needs. It is only in this way that the milk of such high quality is produced, just like it used to be, which is much different to the methods many other milk producers use. It is with this diet that the cows produce high quality, organically sound milk, through a higher content of polyunsaturated fats (Omega 3) and Vitamin A (beta-carotene).
For grazing, a rotation method is used in order to preserve the deterioration of the plants and protect the natural cycle and processes of the plants. Throughout springtime, and towards summer, the main source of nutrition is through grazing. Whilst in the wintertime, the cows nourish themselves with hay, entirely produced in the company, including cereals and fresh chards.
The breed of cow is the Frisona, a breed that typically has a high milk production, but that we, by choice, do not take advantage of, choosing to maintain the qualitative aspects of the milk produced, with the intent of retaining the nutritional characteristics that are of benefit to our consumers’ health.
For the animals’ wellbeing, we wanted open cattle sheds with berths. Medicinal care using antibiotics and cortisone are almost completely absent, an indication of longevity. These cows usually reach 13-14 years of age. Breeding also takes place in a natural way, with the bull in the cattle shed.