Osteria Marzia serves the best of coastal Italian food, celebrating diverse maritime flavors from across the country. To craft the indulgent seasonal menus, head chef Luca Marinelli takes inspiration from his personal and professional journey, fresh ingredients and Italy’s eclectic culinary traditions.
Originally from a small town in Lombardy, Marinelli spent his childhood cooking with his mother. Here, he talks us through the summer memories that helped him shape Osteria Marzia’s DNA and shares a fresh, simple recipe to replicate at home.
A summer lunch with Luca Marinelli of Osteria Marzia
What are your memories of Italian summer lunches at home?
Whenever I think of summer lunches back home, the first thing that comes to mind is that we would definitely eat something light and fresh. Whether it’s crisp salad with seasonal fruits or a very delicate seafood with a bit lemon and olive oil to bring a bit of brightness. Most of the summers I remember are the ones that I spent journeying throughout Europe, working in different restaurant like Milan’s Savini and several Michelin-starred venues including Quattro Mori, Circeo, and Cenador de Amos, in Santander, Spain.
Did you start cooking at home?
My passion for food developed in the home kitchen working and improving my skills alongside my mother. She used to prepare these extravagant meals to host friends and family, using recipes that have for years been passed down through generations. The earliest childhood memory I have is spending time with her in the kitchen making cookies, cakes and other traditional Italian desserts just for fun on Sundays.
How did you incorporate them into the menu at Osteria Marzia?
My mother used to make this beautiful Pastiera Napoletana, a traditional dessert found all across Southern Italy. I have such strong memories of enjoying this dessert when we were spending our holidays in Southern Italy. On the menu at Osteria Marzia, the Pastiera Napoletana is inspired by her recipe and served with ricotta and orange blossom.
What dishes are you most personally attached to?
There are many dishes on the menu that I love, this is a cuisine that is very close to my heart and many of the dishes are the results of my deep passion for Italy. I am also passionate about the amazing, local and fresh seafood that we can get here in Hong Kong and that we use in-house to tell our story. From using traditional preparations like salt-baked or Siciliana on fresh market catch of the day to hand-made pastas. I love the Bronte Spaghetti. Not only it’s delicious dish, but it is also just a very simple yet stunning recipe that resonates with me. It showcases what you can do when you focus on the best ingredients to really highlight their depth of flavor. One of my other all-time favorites is the Pasta alla vongoleour classic house-made pasta with clams, a timeless classic across Italy.
Can you talk to us through a typical lunch that you’d eat in your hometown?
On summer, our table at home was full of fresh cheeses like mozzarella, stracchino and others that are very popular across Italy and near my hometown of Varese, just outside of Milan. They were served alongside a spread of fresh cantaloupe, some Parma ham (which pairs deliciously with fruits), freshly cut figs and then finished up with a beautifully simple pasta with tomato, olive oil and basil. This is my ideal summer lunch when I think of home, and, of course, a few glasses of fantastic Italian wine!
Luca Marinelli’s Risotto Alle Erbe
Risotto all erbe
- 250g Carnaroli rice
- 3l Hot vegetable stock
- 150g Butter, cut into cubes and kept refrigerated
- 100g Extra virgin olive oil
- 120g Parmesan cheese, grated
- 60g Shallots, finely chopped
- 15g Fresh herbs – parsley, wild fennel and chervil, finely chopped
- 300ml White wine
- Melt a cube of butter in a pan. Add the chopped shallots and cook on low heat until golden.
- With the heat on medium, add the rice and toast it quickly. Touch it to make sure it gets hot but doesn’t burn.
- Pour in the wine and cook until it has evaporated.
- Stir in the hot vegetable stock 1 cup at a time and simmer until the liquid of each addition is absorbed. Repeat this step and cook the risotto for 14 minutes.
- Turn down the fire, chop the fresh herbs finely. Add the chopped fresh herbs, the cubes of butter and the cheese to the risotto and mix them with the hot vegetable stock to make the risotto “all’onda” – ripple like waves yet maintain the creaminess. Drizzle with cold extra virgin olive oil.
Osteria Marzia, The Fleming, 41 Fleming Rd, Wan Chai; +852 3607 2253