Car tires and classic Italian recipes: You may think the two have nothing in common but, my friends, you’d be wrong. Miles and Meals is a stylish new cookbook from Pirelli that beautifully illustrates the similarities between tire compounds and top quality ingredients, as well as highlighting the post-race specialties served up in the Pirelli motorhome.
Racing enthusiasts will relish the insider anecdotes about life on the F1 tour, while those with a fetish for locally-sourced produce will be relieved to know that the markets of Delhi are a surprisingly good place to find typical Tuscan ingredients. And if you pride yourself on your Instagram food-porn archive, then be prepared to step up your game after checking out the elaborate visual mashups of cars and food—agnolotti reformed in the shape of racing cars, and tires made out of tomatoes and pine nuts. Not so fancy with your XPro-II filter now, huh?
To celebrate the launch of Miles and Meals, Pirelli hosted a stuntastic dinner in Bel Air, where famed L.A. chef Gino Angelini (La Terza, Angelini Osteria) shared thoughts on speeding, simple Italian food, and the secrets to a really good risotto.
Interview by Phoebe Lovatt (@phoebelovatt)
What’s on the menu tonight?
There’s octopus, swordfish with burrata, tagliata, tiramisu…. They gave me the Pirelli book and invited me to build my menu around the recipes inside it, so I’m taking (Pirelli head chef) Fabrizio Tanfanai’s recipes and giving them my own touch.
How would you describe your cooking style?
My style is all about going back to the memory of being a young boy in my house with my grandma. We were a little poor family in the countryside in Rimini, and my grandmother and mother would be cooking all day. We have all the animals, we make homemade pasta, we make everything.
I was a very crazy young boy. My father and my brother, they went to military school. I went to cooking school. At the time, it was a little crazy. “This is the work for a woman”, they’d say in Italy. My food now is in the style of grandmother and mother: simple country cooking.
I like to drive and I like to drive fast. I used to get tickets all the time. When I first got here from Italy, I drove at 170 miles an hour.
What brought you to LA?
It was Mauro Vincenti, owner of (famed LA restaurant) the Rex. He came into the restaurant on the Adriatic Coast where I worked—very fancy, five star—and I was making very traditional Emilia Romagna food—bollito misto, tortellini, all this stuff. He said, “Why you don’t come and work in LA? In America?”
I love America. I cook for my region in many places—in Russia, in Venezuela, in many countries. But I fell in love with America. I got given a ticket for LA, leaving two days later. So that night I went home, talked with my children, and told them I’d be leaving for three or four months. That was 17 years ago!
Is there any common ground between Italian cuisine and Californian cuisine?
Both use great, fresh ingredients. In Miles and Meals, there’s a big emphasis on ingredients, and that’s what appealed to me. I like cooking with organic ingredients wherever possible and I use very good dried ingredients from Italy—rice, pasta, all that stuff.
Miles and Meals argues that, “Making a good tire is like making a good risotto.” What are the secrets to the latter?
Risotto you need to make à la minute. The problem is that people want it fast, but risotto takes twenty minutes, minimum. I use acquarello from Piedmonte—it’s organic rice. It’s very expensive and very good.
I love risotto. When I was growing up, we had homemade risotto and I never got tired of it. I used to say to my mother: ‘Make a risotto!’ They made different food for me. They spoiled me!
I’ve heard that you’re a big fan of motor racing…
I love! I’m from Emilia Romagna—we all love it. I like to drive and I like to drive fast. I used to get tickets all the time. When I first got here from Italy, I drove at 170 miles an hour. Then I get stopped on the 405 and have a gun held to my face, so I don’t do that anymore.