My parents took us out to dinner at Da Marcello, an Italian restaurant within easy biking distance (in Krommenie) that’s been there for almost 7 years but that we had never eaten at. Since Krommenie isn’t exactly a big city, I wasn’t expecting much but I was wrong: the food at Marcello’s is very good. And so is the service, as well as the matching wines.Marcello is from a small town in Puglia, and has lived in the Netherlands for 30 years. He used to own a pizzeria in the same town, but in 2005 upgraded to a ristorante (his brother now runs the pizzeria). His wife is Dutch, but he is still very much an Italian and we chatted a bit in Italian. The menu was as it should be in an Italian restaurant (antipasto, primo, secondo, dolce) and served with good matching wines. Marcello uses fresh ingredients and doesn’t do too much to them, again like it should be in an Italian restaurant. He uses some local products but treats them in an Italian way.
Endive (andijvie) is a very Dutch vegetable that he used for our primo: tagliatelle with mortadella and endive. This is what it looked like at the restaurant. This is only a half portion as it was served as part of a four-course menu. I liked the combination and decided to try making my own version. I didn’t use parsley because it was raining way too hard when I was making this to go into the garden to pick some, I used parmigiano rather than pecorino, and I used fresh home-made tagliatelle rather than dried tagliatelle, but other than that it tasted just as good. It’s very easy to make, and cheap as well. If you can’t find endive, substitute with radicchio or another vegetable with bitter leaves.
For 2 servings
150 grams (1/3 pound) mortadella, thickly sliced (about 2 mm or 1/12 “) and cut into 2-3 cm (1”) squares
300 grams (2/3 pound) endive, washed, dried, and cut into strips
4 Tbsp sieved tomatoes (passata)
300 grams (2/3 pound) fresh home-made tagliatelle (made from 2 eggs and 200 grams semolina flour), or 150 grams (1/3 pound) dried tagliatelle
freshly grated parmigiano reggiano (or aged pecorino)
fresh flatleaf parsley (optional)
2 Tbsp olive oil
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If using dried tagliatelle, add salt and cook al dente according to package instructions. For fresh tagliatelle, only add the pasta to the boiling salted water when the sauce is ready because it will cook in 1-2 minutes.
Heat the oil in a frying pan. Sauté the mortadella for less than a minute.
Add sieved tomatoes.
Sauté briefly until the mortadella is coated with tomato, less than 1 minute.
Add endive and season with salt.
Sauté for a minute or so until the endive have wilted a bit (but not too much).
Cook the pasta al dente. Keep a bit of the pasta water when you drain.
Add drained pasta, grated parmigiano and a few tablespoons of the cooking water to the sauce.
Toss to mix.
Serve on warm plates, sprinkled with some more freshly grated parmigiano and freshly chopped flatleaf parsley (optional). You could also add some freshly ground black pepper if you like.
At the restaurant it was served with a pinot nero from Alto Adige, which was an excellent choice. At home I tried it with a Dolcetto di Dogliani, which was also great. So a light red without a lot of tannins is a good pairing for this.