Marco Crugnola, Head Chef at Da Vinci

At just 25, Marco Crugnola, Head Chef at Aberdeen’s Da Vinci, is gaining an enviable reputation for combining the flavours of Italy with the best of Scottish produce.

‘Family is big in Italy. Every Sunday afternoon, everyone would gather at my grandparents’ home. I’d watch them cooking. I was filled with curiosity and eventually allowed to help. They really triggered my passion for cooking. 

‘My style owes a lot to traditional Italian cooking. The quality and freshness of ingredients is really important and I like to bring a modern, personal, touch to my dishes. As well as my chef’s training, I trained as a pastry chef, so I love our Tiramisù – it’s absolutely amazing! Currently, my favourite dish on the Specials menu is Tagliolini all’Astice. The lobster comes from Johnshaven and the dish gets lots of compliments. Da Vinci gives me the opportunity to be creative, yet authentic.

‘I’ve worked in hotels and restaurants in both Italy and the UK, but Da Vinci feels like home. The team come from all over Italy, so we share regional styles of cooking and with each other. I hope our customers feel transported to Italy while trying our dishes, drinking Italian wines and chatting with our staff.’ 


Marco’s Tagliolini All’Astice (Serves 2)

Ingredients

1 whole fresh Scottish lobster
250g Tagliolini pasta
150g fresh cherry tomatoes
3 or 4 garlic cloves
1 large onion, diced
2 celery sticks, chopped
2 carrots, diced
2 medium courgettes, chopped, deseeded
3 bay leaves
200ml dry white wine
Salt and pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil

Method

Cook the lobster in plenty of boiling water for around 5-8 minutes depending on the weight. Cool and remove all the meat by breaking up the shell (keep the shell), removing the lobster tail, and cutting the meat into pieces. 

Fry the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of oil until golden. Add the diced cherry tomatoes and cook for
5 minutes. 

Take the lobster shell, heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the shells with cherry tomatoes, celery, carrots, onion, and bay leaves. Add cold water and dry white wine to make a bisque and cook for an hour.

Cook the Tagliolini pasta in plenty of salted boiled water for 4 minutes, until “al dente”. Add the cooked pasta to the tomato and lobster sauce and add a tablespoon of bisque to make the creamy sauce. 

For the courgette sauce: Chop the courgettes and tear out all the seed parts; boil for 4/5 minutes and cool the pan in iced water. Blend with oil, salt and pepper. Add a little bit of water if you believe it is too thick.

Plate by making a nest with the pasta, place some more tomatoes and lobster sauce on top, dot the plate with courgette sauce, and garnish with chopped parsley.

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