Pasta with Beans and Mussels


The International Day of Italian Cuisines IDIC was born as a reaction against the systematic forgery of Italian cuisine and products. It aims at protecting the right of worldwide consumers to get authentic and quality Italian cuisine when they go to eateries labeled as “Italian”. Thousands of chefs, restaurateurs and lovers of Italian Food all over the world join the annual IDIC appeal, a tradition by now, launched by itchefs-GVCI (Virtual Group of Italian Chefs), a network of over 2000 culinary professionals working in 70 countries. True Italian cuisine is part of the world’s cultural heritage; its celebration is not against creativity in the kitchen or innovation. It’s only about establishing some basic principles: when the name of a traditional Italian dish is used, that dish should be prepared in the traditional manner.


This 14th edition of the IDIC, which for the first time will be celebrate on Italy’s National Day, has as its official dish the Pasta e fagioli con le cozze, a dish of the Neapolitan coastal cuisine, that has its origin in the city of Torre del Greco. In that city was born also  the late Tony May (1937 – 2022), the New York-based extraordinary restaurateur and educator, who has been among the greatest promoters of authentic and quality Italian cuisine in restaurants outside of Italy. This edition of the IDIC is a tribute to Tony’s legacy, to keep alivehis message, and the choice of a very popular and delicious dish of the Italian Cuisine coming from the same city where Tony was born it is the most appropriate choice. Tony loved pasta. Undoubtedly the Uovo in Raviolo con Burro Tartufato, the iconic dish of Tony’s San Domenico Restaurant in NYC was the most famous, but Tony loved a lot also pasta with legumes, as the cannellini beans, and seafood. Pasta e fagioli con le cozze can be cooked everywhere in the world, and where mussels are not available, they can be easily removed from the recipe, and still you have a great Italian cuisine dish.

Tony May, 84, Restaurateur Who Championed Italian Cuisine, Dies

A native of Italy, he was crucial in bringing Italian fine dining to New York and beyond, determined to break the stranglehold of French haute cuisine.

Source: Florence Fabricant, The New York Times

Tony May, a visionary New York restaurateur and an international champion of authentic Italian cuisine, died on Sunday at his home in Manhattan. He was 84. His daughter, Marisa May Metalli, said the cause was gall bladder cancer. New York had been Mr. May’s home since 1963, when he landed there from Naples, Italy, as Antonio Magliulo, his name at birth. On his arrival he was hardly greeted by the funky aroma of fresh white truffles, the creamy opulence of a well-made risotto or the silken depth of vintage Barolo — the now commonplace hallmarks of fine Italian cuisine. Rather, the Italian dining scene he found in New York was, for him, a disappointing river of red sauce, with a twist of lemon peel alongside espresso and Chianti poured from straw-covered bottles. Though the red sauce still has a following today, for the past 30 or so years, thanks in great measure to Mr. May’s determination, Italian American has been moved aside in favor of serious Italian at every level. “He was influential in connecting authentic Italian dining, products and producers with the public,” said Lidia Bastianich, the restaurateur and television personality who knew him well. “He was a smart restaurateur; his approach was very diplomatic.”

Read the full article on The New York Times

The Protagonists of the 14th IDIC

The Recipe


Serves 4

    • 400g cannellini beans
    • 1400g mussels
    • 350g mixed pasta
    • 120g ripe tomatoes
    • 2 cloves of garlic
    • Crushed red pepper
    • Parsley
    • Extra virgin olive oil
    • Salt


Clean the mussels well; rinse them under running water and remove all the incrustations with a knife or by rubbing them together until the shell is perfectly clean.

Fry the garlic, oil and a few sprigs of parsley in a pan.

Add the mussels, cover with a lid and wait for them to open (it will take about 5 minutes). Once open, filter the cooking water with a narrow mesh sieve and set water aside.

Shell the mussels and put them aside, removing those that have remained closed.

In another saucepan, prepare a sauté of garlic, oil, red pepper and parsley.

Add a few tomatoes, already scalded and skinned, and then the beans. If you use dried beans, make sure you soak them overnight and cook them for an hour. If you have used canned beans, cook them for about 30 minutes. In both cases, season with salt and add some of the liquid from the mussels previously set aside.

At this point, you can cook the pasta separately or directly in the casserole dish. If you cook the pasta separately, drain it well al dente, add it to the casserole dish and finish cooking, adding the mussels (already shelled).

For a creamier result, you can cook the pasta directly in the casserole dish, adding the remaining liquid of the mussels, as needed. Stir often.

Add the shelled mussels a few minutes before the end of cooking. Serve with more fresh chopped parsley. From La Cucina Italiana


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