Ahead of its new opening in Manchester, Hannah Twiggs tries out three recipes from Italian restaurant Salvi’s menu
Manchester isn’t known for its sunny weather, but that doesn’t mean you can’t at least pretend like you’re dining on an Italian piazza in the blistering heat.
Inspired by his mum, his nonna and his family’s cooking back in Naples, Maurizio Cecco and his wife Claire have been bringing high-quality, authentic Italian produce to central Manchester since 2011. What started as a deli in the Corn Exchange a decade ago quickly turned into a mozzarella bar and restaurant downstairs (yes, you read that correctly, a mozzarella bar...), and then the Salvi brand was born. They even run Manchester’s Festa Italiana in then cathedral gardens, a city-wide celebration of Italian cuisine.
After 10 years, the duo are now looking forward to opening their flagship site south of the city centre. Expect authentic ingredients brought in fresh from Italy and recipes that have been handed down through the generations of the family.
“We use traditional preparation methods (making our pasta and much of our bread by hand every morning for instance) to get the very best from our ingredients,” Maurizio tells me. “A lot of the recipes come from my mother’s kitchen – she comes over regularly to check up on things! They’re traditional, Neapolitan dishes where the very best ingredients are allowed to shine within simple but beautiful recipes. Some of this may include things you’ve not heard of before.”
If you can’t get to Manchester any time soon – or Naples, for that matter – you can test drive the menu from the comfort of your home with these recipes, straight from the Salvi kitchen.
A staple on the menu at Salvi’s is the Pasta Nonna Teresa, named after the woman herself, and rightly so as it’s her own recipe, consisting of pancetta, pistachio pesto and parmesan.
100g of fresh homemade pistachio pesto (or shop-bought)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
120g of dry pasta (Caserecce shape is recommended but any is fine)
20g of crushed pistachio to garnish
For the fresh pistachio pesto
100ml olive oil
Pistachio nuts handful without shells (finely chopped/crushed)
Blend the ingredients for the pesto or use a pestle and mortar until it becomes a liquid.
Place pasta water on to boil. Add 4 pinches of salt, bring to the boil and add pasta.
Heat a large dash of olive oil in a frying pan. Cut your pancetta into small pieces and fry until lightly browned.
Add some starchy water from the pasta at this point, and mix it together for approximately 2 minutes.
Drain the pasta and add to the sauce, stir and add salt and pepper.
Remove the pan from heat and then add the pesto and stir (you remove the pan from the heat so as not to let the sauce overcook)
Add parmesan, sprinkle with pistachio crumbs and serve.
New to the menu is the Pasta Polipo ‘Nduja, made up of octopus, ’nduja, parsley, garlic, tomato sauce and cherry tomatoes.
150g cooked octopus sliced into small pieces
Salt and pepper
1 clove of garlic
200g of fresh torpedino tomato (or cherry tomatoes)
Extra-virgin olive oil
70g fresh ’nduja
Handful of fresh parsley finely chopped
120g dry pasta (Paccheri preferred)
Put your pasta on to cook with a pinch of salt.
Add a large dash of olive oil to a frying pan and allow it to heat up. Once hot, add a clove of garlic chopped in half. Let that fry and take it off the heat when it’s brown.
Place the cooked octopus in the oil and slowly fry. Add the fresh tomato and let it simmer on medium heat. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and most of the chopped parsley.
Add 2 large spoonfuls of starchy water from the pasta and mix altogether. Add ’nduja and stir until melted.
Once the pasta is cooked al dente, add it to the sauce in the frying pan and mix together. Serve with a sprinkle of parsley.
The best-loved cocktail on Salvi’s menu is the Limoncello Spritz, a real taste of Italian summer created by a blend of prosecco, limoncello, soda water and ice.
Dash of soda water
Fill a large glass to the top with ice. Add the limoncello, then the prosecco.
After that add a dash of soda water, and a slice of lemon to garnish.