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Recycling cuisine: the recipe for stuffed tortelli by chef Simone Maddaleni, eating with taste and saving money

The chef of the restaurant-bistro Madeleine in times of food crisis and high expenses offers a recipe in which dry bread, potato skins and onion skins are used but with great flavor

Newspapers, radio, television have been launching for some time alarming information about the difficulties that Italians (not only us, but also abroad) will have to face to reach the end of the month of the coming year. The first monetary storm, the crisis in the cost of raw materials, which increased after the invasion of Ukraine, the drought that hit our countryside last summer, significantly affecting crops, yes they will add heavily to the average family’s shopping basket. It’s no longer the time for easy consumption and food waste. World food organizations have estimated that in these reckless times of plenty, a third of all food produced for human consumption is wasted. A phenomenon that mainly affects rich countries where a large part of the still good food is wasted directly by consumers. And another large portion of food has been wasted throughout the food production process, from agricultural production to food processing, sale and storage.

The difficult times we are going through and especially the dark clouds that are looming on the horizon have brought back an old popular saying of peasant wisdom: “Nothing goes into the kitchen”. Many chefs have started to feel the times changing and have adapted their gastronomic philosophy by devoting themselves to a culture of preserving and valuing food resources, and a culture of waste in the name of sustainability. The innovative use of the less noble parts of ingredients, from potato peelings to carrot peelings, from the tougher leaves and bracts of the artichoke to the skin of fishfrom the reuse of parmesan skins, bread or stale meat to the non-throw of vegetable stalks from the meat seems to have become a staple of “haute cuisine” which bears the signature of great chefs such as Bottura, Corelli, Perdomo.

Simone Maddaleni chef of the Madeleine restaurant, a bistro with French elegance inspired by end-of-the-century Paris but with an all-Italian heart, located via Montesanto 64, in the Prati district, adopts this ethic dedicated to “zero waste” in its culinary philosophy. Savings begin with purchases: the first precaution is to be very careful in the choice of raw materials and to favor small businesses and local suppliers. Knowing and respecting the seasonality of products is not only a health benefit, but a great help in terms of savings in the kitchen, guaranteeing greater convenience during the purchasing phase. This is how fruits, vegetables, local fish are selected (especially blue, such as anchovies, mackerel and hake, which have a low cost, especially if purchased in markets and at fishmongers, rather than supermarkets) and meat which are always traceable. Then there are a number of tricks that can help breathe new life into products that would otherwise end up in the trash. “Let’s think for example of bread” explains the chef “one of the foods that we naturally tend to waste and which has undergone the greatest increases”. Stale bread, in fact, allows us to create many delicious dishes, from panzanella – like the classic with tomato, basil and onion, to be enjoyed also as an accompaniment to fish, or a more creative version to use, for example, as a filling for a tasty homemade tortello – with tomato soup. “For me, it is unacceptable to throw away old bread, because it is a symbol of work and effort; it’s not by chance that they say “earn the bread”, so rather than throwing it away, I prefer to give it a new life”, concludes Simone. And here is his anti-crisis saving recipe

Chef Roberto Maddaleni’s stuffed tortello recipe

Ingredients for 4 persons

For the egg pasta

300g flour

3 whole eggs

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon oil

For the stuffing

150g old bread

200g mixed ripe tomatoes

4g salt

5g basil

2 ground pepper

1 red onion

15g white vinegar

30g extra virgin olive oil

For the sauce

100g celery leaves and stalks

100 g carrots with skin

100g onion with skin

600g mixed tomatoes

Evo oil to taste.


For the egg pasta:

Knead the ingredients by hand or in a mixer and let the mixture rest for at least 40 minutes before using it.

Roll it out to 2mm with a rolling pin or to number 3, if you have a rolling pin. So choose the tortelli mold (square, round, etc.) and give them the shape you prefer

For the stuffing:

Proceed with the preparation of the filling by mixing all the ingredients using an immersion blender or a food processor, until you obtain a nice compact filling but not too smooth.

For the sauce:

Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and brown, leave to dry over low heat for 1 hour

Roll and strain to obtain an orange tomato sauce that will be very tasty thanks to the smells used and without having discarded the skin and leaves

Stir and season the tortelli with the resulting sauce, finally adding a grated lemon and plenty of basil

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