This Italian Chef Says You’re Doing Pasta Wrong

We visit straight-talking Antonio Verruto, owner of Mr Hyde’s go-to Italian spot Pizzeria Malletti, for a lecture

So You Think You Can Pasta? 1
So You Think You Can Pasta?

Game Recognise Game

“The difference between good pasta and bad is like comparing the bum of a 50-year-old and a 21-year-old. Totally different. Even the day after cooking, good pasta has an exceptional texture and bite. It’s not easy to tell the difference with the eye but there is a trick. If you’re comparing two packets, the one with the higher protein percentage will have been made with stronger, better flour. Go for that one."

So You Think You Can Pasta? 1

Ease Up With The Cheese, Bro

“Cheese. People here put fucking cheese on everything, even on their genitalia if they could. It’s shit. If you have a main course of seabass or halibut, what wine would you choose? White. Because it’s fresh, light, and won’t overpower the taste of the fish. Cheese kills flavour. Kills it. It’s like pouring a glass of Remy Martin cognac and topping it up with Coke."

So You Think You Can Pasta? 2

To Hell With Paccheri!

“I’ll tell you one thing: this [pulls out a packet of paccheri, which looks like macaroni on steroids] is the most overrated pasta shape in Italy. It’s so thick that by the time you cook it, it flattens and becomes even thicker and doesn’t trap any sauce. It’s shit. For filled pasta, Rana is the best. It’s a little more pricey, but really, if you see it, buy it."

So You Think You Can Pasta? 3

Stock Up Or Shut Up

“The main ingredients in my kitchen are onions, garlic, oil and chilli. I always have a nice tin of anchovy fillets in the fridge too. As for dried pasta – all that cheap shit that you find in the supermarket really is awful. Iceland is shit. All that ‘Taste The Difference’ stuff, it’s shit too. Lidl? Lidl is good for pasta. But the best is Waitrose. They’ve got Giuseppe Cocco and Rummo. They’re the brands you want to put into your basket.”

So You Think You Can Pasta? 4

Sauce Matters

"Dolmio? It is just shit. I’m not just saying that because I’m a chef. Just buy some quality oil, quality tomatoes, good onions, a bit of French garlic, and suddenly you find you can make a decent sauce. With onion, always chop it small. Big chunks won’t melt down in the oil, and you’ll get an invasive taste in your sauce.”

Interview by Chris Sayer