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April 19, 2016

Pasta for Champions


BY SAMUEL LEVIE – Every city has it’s hidden gems when it comes to food. I always make sure to ask the locals where I can find the best traditional meals, the best pizza and the best pasta. Actually the best pizza I ever ate was in Tokyo. However a good pasta is often hard to find if you are not in Rome, Florence, or Naples.

Everyone knows the best pasta is made by the an Italian Nonne. Whether you visit a small agriturismo, an osteria or an Italian home… It’s often the elderly ladies who call the shots in the kitchen. With their weathered hands they work the pasta dough and the way they manoeuvre through their kitchen shows that it’s their territory and no one else’s. Although in posh restaurants it’s often the male chefs who are in charge, the nonne are the real guardians and rock stars of the classic Italian cuisine. Patiently passing on their knowledge to the next generations. Producing fantastic flavours. For them cooking for their families or new comer’s brings them the greatest joy, it’s their passion.


I think it’s the love and attention that defines the taste of good Italian food. For years I wanted to work with the Italian godmothers, just to learn some of their culinary secrets. So I called my friend Dario Cecchini in Panzano, the most famous butcher in Italy, and asked for his help. Less than two weeks later I stood in a Panzano grocery store with Giullia and Simonetta. While they were chatting away, they were filling their baskets. Their message was very simple: if you want to cook a good Italian meal, you need the best ingredients. If you buy small zucchinis there is hardly something to ruin and a great tomato can be smelled from afar. These ingredients just need a little olive oil and salt and you’ll have a dish for champions.


But although a good plate of pasta sounds so incredibly simple, it is actually not that easy to find. So if you are looking for a mouth-watering plate of ravioli, tortellini, linguine or spaghetti? These are some places I can recommend:

Toscanini – best pasta in town
Lindengracht 75
1015 KD Amsterdam
Eddy Spaghetti – nice place, great people and good pasta
Krugerplein 23
1092 KA Amsterdam
Fa. Pekelharing – across the Amstel a nice stroll from Volkshotel
van Woustraat 127-129
1074AH Amsterdam


About Samuel Levie
Samuel Levie (32) cares about food, in every possible way. This Oxford-born Amsterdammer is the founder of Youth Food Movement, owns the creative agency Food Cabinet, initiated Damn Food Waste and produces sausages under the name Brandt & Levie. Next to that, he writes about food for local newspaper Parool and Jamie Oliver Magazine.


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