The Way to Magnificence
This month, Cookware Couture teamed up with master chef Alessandro Gargani, owner of the Florentine-famous Garga, where his kitchen became more like a test lab showcasing his Tuscan with a twist cuisine. Comparison dishes of his crafted cooking were on offer -- one dish prepared using a fabulous Cookware Couture piece versus the same recipe cooked in aluminium or steel. At the end of the evening, the gastronomic tour left no trace of doubt – silver is superior.
In fact, Gargani has been using Cookware Couture for some time now, perfecting Garga’s most renowned pasta dish Tagliatelle del Magnifico, a recipe which was invented by his late father in the 1990s and has since featured in countless articles, cooking shows and more recently on the Food Network. Gargani always gives his friends, family and serious customers the option of cooking Il Magnifico in either the silver cookware which he refers to as the “updated mode” or in a regular pot. “Of course, the beauty of serving the food at the table in the silver [cookware] is incredible. The guests love it,” Gargani affirms happily.
“I am a crash tester!” Gargani exclaims. “I love trying new dishes in the silver [cookware] to see what the taste will bring when cooking with this pure material.“ This is retro modernist cuisine in its pure form as Gargani implements the age-old practice of cooking with silver to prepare his modern dishes of today. “Since I have been using the [Cookware Couture] pots, I discovered a whole new world of cooking. For me the most interesting aspect of cooking with silver is the flavour of the food.”
Kitchen creations with Cookware Couture are sensory analysis in the making as flavour, taste, appearance and aroma are preserved. This comprises a vital part of the alchemy of cooking. “The most important characteristic of silver is that it doesn’t release or absorb flavours,” Gargani explains. “And I can achieve ten times more flavours.” As is common knowledge, cooking with aluminium and stainless-steel leaches metal, alters the flavours and as a result, the taste changes. “Cookware Couture silver doesn’t do that,” he explains. “It is neutral. In this way, the food can still retain the same flavour as in its raw state.”
Today’s consumers are spending increased amounts on healthy food. It is rapidly becoming a lifestyle choice. Last year alone, the US expenditure on organic food rose 8.5% and European markets are seeing double digit percentage increases. “If you are buying healthy fresh organic produce then why wouldn’t you cook it in the healthiest equipment you can use?” Gargani reasons. “For home chefs, you spend money to buy the best organic food. Why would you go and [forfeit] the taste by cooking in a bad pot? Cookware Couture has made such a beautiful line.” Using Cookware Couture in the kitchen is all about lifestyle cooking especially as it embraces the healthy benefits of cooking with silver. “The more I cook with silver, the more I feel dishonest about cooking with other metal pots knowing how much better the food will taste in [Cookware Couture] silver,” he admits.
For chefs of any level, the tools of trade are a vital part of their cooking which is becoming increasingly more so as modernist cuisine takes hold. For Gargani, the Cookware Couture Risottiera holds special status. “There are different pots for different dishes, however the Risottiera is my favourite silver cookware to use for many dishes. It feels good in the hand.” When he uses it to make a risotto, he explains that the rice retains the flavour of every ingredient included. He also uses it to also make many other dishes in addition to the renowned Tagliatelle del Magnifico. “It is so versatile -- you can make sauces, jams, soups, pastas, veal scallopini, rice, or vegetables.”
Quick-fire recipes are perfect for the silver [cookware],” he continues. Because of the conductivity of the Cookware Couture creations, the food is cooked evenly and the silver maintains the exact temperature throughout. “Keeping a constant temperature in the pan is extremely important, especially when you are searing fish and meats,” Gargani explains. “The sizzle is important because the food reacts perfectly.”
When it comes to durability, Gargani couldn’t be more satisfied with the Cookware Couture collection, its guarantee and ensuing maintenance -- especially as his equipment takes its fair share of beating in an industrial kitchen. “Everyday I use the silver Risottiera to cook. I have used the Cookware Couture pots at least 1000 times,” he remarks. Silver being a soft metal, the cookware needs an underlying structure of durability. Every Cookware Couture creation has a body of copper and then is completely covered in silver. “I have used the pots every day for two years in the restaurant. I have been hard on them,” he confesses.
“The lifetime guarantee of Cookware Couture is really a good thing,” Gargani smiles. As most cooks know, the shelf-life of an aluminium or steel pot varies in quality and usage, but a majority will need to be discarded within a few years. Recently, Gargani had his Risottiera sent to the factory to be re-silvered for the first time: “It was returned almost like new within a few days. It came back perfectly polished,” he explains in a satisfied manner while turning the cookware in his hand, showing where the scratches were polished out, its sliver gleaming like new. A few of the dents remain from its demanding usage, lending character and history to the cookware, remnants of the delicious recipes created and now pristinely awaiting new creations to come.
“Tagliatelle del Magnifico”
- 1 cup heavy cream (250ml)
- 5 cl (2 tablespoons) brandy or cognac
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 large navel orange, zested
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
- 10 leaves mint, torn
- 400 grams (1 lb) tagliatelle, cooked to al dente
- 100 grams (1/2 cup) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
In a skillet over medium low heat, heat cream. Add brandy or cognac, lemon and orange zest and salt. Simmer sauce 7 to 10 minutes. Add mint to the sauce. After the pasta is cooked, toss hot, drained pasta with sauce and grated cheese. Transfer to serving dish or dinner plates. Serves 4.