AS Italian-born Federico Michieletto flips through the pages of his mnemonic cookbook, he enjoys a thousand memories of his mother.

His childhood spent in Venice, Italy was one of cool treats like a simple combination of sweet watermelon and salty cheese to refresh small bodies in hot summer months, small round doughnuts called castagnoles, dusted in powdered sugar and eaten during Carnivale – “It is not Carnivale if we do not have these!” he says – and many, many simple, moreish pasta dishes. These have been the stepping stones of his epicurean life, and have formed part of his transformative journey towards becoming the chef he is today.

It’s timely then that Federico opened his cookbook to share recipes inspired by his mum, what with Mother’s Day just round the corner.

His plating is much more contemporary than the traditional dishes of his childhood though, and his penchant for luxury ingredients like truffles – scattered generously over a pasta, you don’t need much more! – and fine, freshly-picked crabmeat take his youthful meals up a notch! The dishes he shares are a lovely homage to his mother, but recreated and reinterpreted.

“Like the Tuscan panzanella salad, it’s a common bread salad. My version just serves it up in a more modern way, with all its flavours intact.”

1. Spaghettini Alla Bottarga (top pic)
Sometimes keeping things simple is best. This recipe combines the versatile pasta with the flavourful bottarga.

Spaghettini Alla Bottarga.

2. Pan-Seared Scallops with Celeriac Puree

While this fancy dish may seem intimidating, the cooking process is a lot easier than it seems.

Pan-Seared Scallops with Celeriac Puree.

3. Panzanella Alla Toscana

This salad is popular during the summer in Italy because of it’s light and refreshing flavours.

Panzanella Alla Toscana.

4. Mushroom Soup

The addition of truffles in this recipe elevates the flavour in of the soup.

Mushroom Soup.

5. Pappardelle with Truffles

Dress up this pasta dish with delicious truffle shavings.

Pappardelle with Truffles.

6. Tagliolini with Crabmeat and Cream

Remember to use real crabmeat when whipping up this recipe for the best flavour.

Tagliolini with Crabmeat and Cream.

7. Castagnole

These adorable Italian mini-doughnuts are easy to make and perfect for tea time.


8. Watermelon with Feta Cheese

Who would’ve thought that fruits and cheese go together so well? The sweet and refreshing flavours of this dessert will delight mum for sure.

Watermelon with Feta Cheese.

This article was first published in Flavours magazine.

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