An Italian summer lunch with chef Luca Marinelli from Osteria Marzia
Osteria Marzia serves the best of coastal Italian cuisine, celebrating diverse maritime flavors from across the country. To develop gourmet seasonal menus, chef Luca Marinelli draws inspiration from his personal and professional background, fresh ingredients and the eclectic culinary traditions of Italy.
Hailing from a small town in Lombardy, Marinelli spent her childhood cooking with her mother. Here, he tells us about the summer memories that helped shape the DNA of Osteria Marzia and shares a fresh and simple recipe to replicate at home.
A summer lunch with Luca Marinelli from Osteria Marzia
What are your memories of Italian summer lunches at home?
Whenever I think of summer lunches at home, the first thing that comes to mind is that we would definitely eat something light and fresh. Whether it’s a crunchy salad with seasonal fruits or a very delicate seafood with a little lemon and olive oil to add a little sparkle. Most of the summers I remember are the ones I spent traveling around Europe, working in different restaurants like Savini in Milan and several Michelin star establishments including Quattro Mori, Circeo and Cenador de Amos, Santander, Spain.
Have you started cooking at home?
My passion for food grew in the family kitchen working and improving my skills alongside my mother. She used to prepare these extravagant meals for entertaining friends and family, using recipes passed down from generation to generation for years. The earliest childhood memory I have is of spending time with her in the kitchen baking cookies, cakes and other traditional Italian desserts just for fun on Sundays.
How did you integrate them into the menu at Osteria Marzia?
My mother used to make this lovely Pastiera Napoletana, a traditional dessert found throughout southern Italy. I have such fond memories of tasting this dessert when we were vacationing in southern Italy. On the Osteria Marzia menu, the Pastiera Napoletana is inspired by its recipe and served with ricotta and orange blossom.
Which dishes are you most personally attached to?
There are a lot of dishes on the menu that I love, it’s a cuisine close to my heart and a lot of the dishes are the result of my deep passion for Italy. I’m also passionate about the amazing local and fresh seafood we can get here in Hong Kong and use internally to tell our story. From the use of traditional preparations like baked salt or Sicilian on the market day catch to handmade pasta. I like Spaghetti Bronte. Not only is it a delicious dish, but it’s also a very simple yet amazing recipe that resonates with me. It shows what you can do when you focus on the best ingredients to really bring out their depth of flavor. One of my other all-time favorites is the Vongole Pastaour classic homemade pasta with clams, a timeless classic across Italy.
Can you tell us about a typical lunch you would eat in your hometown?
In the summer, our table at home was full of fresh cheeses like mozzarella, stracchino and others that are very popular all over Italy and near my hometown of Varese, just outside Milan. They were served with a fresh cantaloupe spread, Parma ham (which pairs deliciously with fruit), freshly cut figs, then finished with a simple tomato, olive oil and basil pasta . It’s my ideal summer lunch when I think back home and, of course, a few glasses of fantastic Italian wine!
Risotto Alle Erbe by Luca Marinelli
Risotto with grass
For 4 people
- 250g Carnaroli rice
- 3l hot vegetable broth
- 150 g butter, cut into cubes and stored in the refrigerator
- 100g extra virgin olive oil
- 120 g grated parmesan
- 60g finely chopped shallots
- 15g Fresh herbs – finely chopped parsley, wild fennel and chervil
- 300ml White wine
- Melt a cube of butter in a skillet. Add the chopped shallots and cook over low heat until golden.
- Over medium heat, add the rice and toast it quickly. Touch it to make sure it heats up but doesn’t burn.
- Pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated.
- Stir in the hot vegetable broth 1 cup at a time and simmer until the liquid from each addition is absorbed. Repeat this step and cook the risotto for 14 minutes.
- Lower the heat, finely chop the fresh herbs. Add the chopped fresh herbs, butter cubes and cheese to the risotto and mix with the hot vegetable broth to make the “all’onda” risotto – undulating like waves while retaining the creaminess. Drizzle with cold extra virgin olive oil.
Osteria Marzia, The Fleming, 41 Fleming Rd, Wan Chai; +852 3607 2253