In the kitchen with Nicola Iovine, chef of the Caterina restaurant.
To celebrate the opening of his new restaurant at La Grande Epicerie Rive Droite, Nicola Iovine invites us into his kitchen. From selecting ingredients to family tradition, the chef draws on multiple sources to inspire his cooking every day.
Exclusively, he reveals his recipe for linguine alla Nerano, one of the signature dishes from his new menu.
Tell us about Caterina, your 4th restaurant, on the top floor of La Grande Epicerie Rive Droite.
This new address is a real gourmet "trattoria", both convivial and sophisticated. I named it "Caterina" after my mother and my daughter and in homage to the family heritage that is at the heart of my cuisine. To create my menu, I started off with family recipes and traditional dishes, cooked in the Neapolitan way.
For the first time, the menu includes pasta dishes inspired by typical Italian recipes, like linguine alla Nerano. We are proposing our signature pizzas, plus some novelties like the "Lorena", a pizza made with coppa, a mousse of Vitelotte potatoes and smoked mozzarella.
The other novelty in this location: the cocktail bar. I wanted to create audacious things, based on the essentials of Italian cooking. The result is really surprising! For example, there is "The Bloody Italian", our version of the Bloody Mary, accompanied with a burrata emulsion.
Why did you choose to open Caterina at La Grande Épicerie de Paris?
It is a legendary location for everyone who loves good products with flavour, choice and quality. I feel particularly strong about this, working myself with carefully selected produce imported directly from Italy.
It is also a creative space, with recipes prepared daily by the chefs of La Grande Epicerie. By opening my pizzeria at La Grande Epicerie Rive Gauche, then Caterina at La Grande Epicerie Rive Droite, I wanted to give pride of place to Neapolitan cuisine amongst such variety.
How did you become a Chef?
Cookery is, above all, a family story. My brothers and I, all three of us, have become chefs!
It began when I was 14, in a Neapolitan street food restaurant. I learned to make the most typical recipes, like "pizza fritta". This pizza is filled like a calzone before being deep fried. Now here it is, on the Caterina menu. Three years after I came to France, in 2015, I opened my 1st restaurant. Today, with 4 Parisian locations, I invest more than ever in the quality of the products we use.
Exactly, you import numerous quality products directly from Italy. How did you choose them?
I go back to Italy twice each year, selecting my ingredients from small farmers. I even help some of them to develop their logistics, so they can bring their ingredients to us.
The flour for our pizzas is made in mills in the north of Italy. Our tomatoes come from Vesuvius and our Prosciutto* from Parma.
Among my favourites, there is also Frisino olive oil. The olives are cold pressed in a small farm at the heart of Puglia. It is simply an excellent product! You find it in all my restaurants.
To celebrate the opening of Caterina, you are sharing with us the recipe for one of your signature dishes. Tell us about it.
Pasta alla Nerano is a typical dish from the Amalfi coast, based on courgettes and Provolone del Monaco AOP. This is an old type of cheese, that has been made in Italy for decades. I bring it from a small village tucked away in Sorrento, so I can make this recipe.
Finally, do you have a chef’s tip to share with us?
To make good pasta, first cook it in boiling water. Then, sear it in a pan by mixing the sauce with a little of the cooking water. The starch from the pasta interacts with the ingredients order to get that perfect melt-in-the-mouth quality.
The Caterina restaurant invites you to its opening evening on Thursday 14th March, from 6 p.m. until midnight.
On the top floor of La Grande Epicerie Rive Droite, discover a selection of Italian specialities, from Puglia burrata to signature pizzas.
The CATERINA restaurant welcomes you from Monday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
2nd floor of La Grande Épicerie Rive Droite
The entire CATERINA menu can be enjoyed on the premises or to take away
For all orders or online reservations: (+33) 1 44 14 38 70
Trattoria*: Italian restaurant with tradition, popular cuisine
Prosciutto*: cured ham