Should the end of the world be somewhere it might as well be in Sant’Agata sui due Golfi, on the fork of the Sorrentine peninsula just as the land curves to form the rugged Amalfi Coast. 300 meters above sea level, despite its proximity to the waters, Sant’Agata enjoys sweeping breathtaking views of the Gulfs of Naples, Sorrento, Capri, and Positano.
Right at the end of this 3.000 inhabitants village’s main street, Corso Sant’Agata, Mimmo De Gregorio and his family, run Lo Stuzzichino, a former mom-and-pop rosticceria, fry shop. Transformed over the years in a table of elevated class, Lo Stuzzichino features today ingredients selected by Mimmo, also thanks to elderly locals who helped him tracking down small artisans and farmers in and around the Costiera. This is the case for the last two fishermen of the shrimp from Crapolla fjord—between Punta Campanella and Tre Galli—, the San Costanzo potato, the Sorrento walnut producers and the sour cherries from the hills of San Pietro.
Parapandoli aka the shrimp of the beautiful Fjord of Crapolla. Photo courtesy of Lo Stuzzichino.
Mimmo’s mother Filomena and his father Paolo—both over 70 and with some 50 years experience within the kitchens of the Amalfi Coast—are still at the helm of the family brigade. Loosen up with their pesce bandiera fish rolls stuffed with smoked provola cheese, their summer eggplant Parmigiana, or the chestnut soup made with cabbage, bay leaf, and fennel, and then plunge into an unbeatable set of pasta courses.
Paolo and Mimmo sharing the kitchen stoves. Photo courtesy of Lo Stuzzichino.
Within Paolo’s old recipes which become a family trademark—i.e. classics like Gnocchi alla Sorrentina, Ravioli al profumo di limone e vongole—Pasta e Patate with Provolone del Monaco cheese stands out from the pack. A smooth dish of calibrated perfection with its scant, humble ingredients—tubetti or mezze maniche, potatoes, Provolone, onion, and olive oil.
With Mimmo and his family, everything is about purest hospitality and their cuisine is nothing but a sincere welcoming desire. One that feels often innate in this part of Italy.
Pasta e patane with Provolone del Monaco cheese. Photo courtesy of Lo Stuzzichino.
Peperoni imbottiti alla Sorrentina
– Sorrentine Stuffed Peppers –
All over Italy, the custom of stuffing in food is strictly conceived as an obvious upgrade of everyday food habits. This is overly true in southern Italy and Campania, where stuffed vegetable preparations often become dishes of religious festivities. As in a cathartic ritual from everyday frugality what better eye-catching and cheerful way to invent fillings that enshrine a wealth of ingredients and give way a few times a year to abundance. In this case, the pepper becomes a generous container of all the good things of God.
12 large peppers, 1 kg eggplant, 250gr breadcrumbs, 100gr black olives, 2 slices stale bread, 50gr capers, EV olive oil, a handful of basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and parsley.
Roast and peel the peppers, divide them in half, and remove the seeds.
Dice the aubergines and fry them then mixed them with olives, capers, dices of bread, basil, a pinch of oregano, and salt.
Fill the halved peppers with the mix, pour a few spoonfuls of oil into a baking tray, and arrange the peppers sprinkled with breadcrumbs.
Bake in a preheated oven at 180 ° for about forty minutes.
Peperoni Imbottiti, an evergreen traditional piece of Napolitan cuisine. Photo courtesy of Lo Stuzzichino.
Stuffed peppers are part of the gastronomic tradition of Campania. In Naples, they are called “puparuol mbuttunat” and are cooked in various ways. Born as a poor dish, to recycle the leftovers of bread, in Christmas, they are a sign of generosity and good wish.
Via Deserto 1A, 80061 – Sant’Agata sui due Golfi (Na) – T. +39-081-5330010
Open every day, but Wednesday, lunch and dinner.