Behind every great recipe, is a great story. In today’s day and age, we tend to consider recipes like a mathematical formula which you follow so as to get an expected result. But that is exactly the opposite of a recipe, according to the now-forgotten Italian culinary master Gioacchino Scognamiglio.

Citing the character of Chichibio, an imaginary Venetian chef in the Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, Gioacchino Scognamiglio thinks the poetry of the kitchen is playful, frivolous and witty!

My friend Claudia Bianconi has very kindly introduced this recipe to me, which comes directly from Gioacchino Scognamiglio.

The recipe book is called “Il Mangiarbene“, and was published in collaboration with Jader Jacobelli (1918 – 2005) – a renown Italian radio and television journalist. Claudia’s grandfather happened to be friends with Jader Jacobelli. Thus the recipe book “Il Mangiarbene” that Claudia has inherited from her grandfather, traced directly back to Gioacchino Scognamiglio himself. I was therefore very privileged and honoured to be able to share this recipe with you and to hold the book of Claudia’s grandfather in my hands.

A quick search on the internet will find you neither this recipe book nor the recipe of “Spaghetti Malandrini“. This is thus a very rare insight into witty and fun recipe of Gioacchino Scognamiglio, that has been lost to time. Until now.

What is the “Spaghetti Malandrini“?

Malandrini” normally translates into English as “Marauders”. But Claudia explains that in this context, it is mischievous and playful. It is a pasta that gets you frisky on a first date, and a recipe that suggests more than meets the eye. When Claudia first got this recipe book from her granddad in 1982, this was a recipe that she could easily whip up in her university dorm that wowed her friends. I love a recipe like that! One that has a history, a personal connection, and part of someone’s life.

If anyone anywhere in the world wants to make this recipe “Spaghetti Malandrini” of the great Gioacchino Scognamiglio, don’t forget to think of Jader Jacobelli, of Claudia’s grandfather and of Claudia herself. Mention their stories, as you play with the recipe.


  • 200g spaghetti
  • 300ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of flat parsley
  • 1 bunch of fresh basil
  • 1 sprig fresh oregano
  • 1 tbs salted capers, rinsed
  • 5-6 black olives of Gaeta, without seed
  • 1 anchovy in oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1-2 peperoncino dried chilies
  • 1 can tomato cubes (or whole)
  • Parmigiano cheese, grated
  • Pecorino cheese, grated
  • Salt to taste

Servings: 2 persons


  1. Add 2 tbs olive oil in a saucepan on medium heat and add the peperoncino.
  2. Mash your can of tomato cubes in a bowl and add it to the saucepan. Let it simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, put the rest of the olive oil, basil, parsley, capers, olives, anchovy in a blender and roughly blend it. Add the mixture to the saucepan, stir and let it continue to simmer.
  4. In another pot bring to boil some water and cook your spaghetti until al dente.
  5. Strain and add to the saucepan and stir to let the pasta soak up with sauce.
  6. Once the sauce is tightened, the spaghetti is ready to be served. DO NOT LET THE PASTA SWIM IN THE SAUCE! It’s ungrateful and disrespectful to the Italian cuisine and people.
  7. Before that, grate 50% parmigiano (3tbs) and 50% (3tbs) pecorino [or 3tbs parmigiano and 2 tbs pecorino according to the original recipe] onto the pasta. Stir well and serve piping hot. Enjoy your Spaghetti Malandrini and buon appetito!

*It’s fun to see who finally got to chew the peperoncino!