Restaurant Sintesi in Ariccia, awarded a star in the Michelin Guide Italy 2023, is making a significant contribution to changing the gastronomic face of the Castelli Romani area, an area rich in history and tradition, where a new generation of chefs is sowing the seeds of the future of cooking. This gastronomic project, in the famous homeland of porchetta, a few kilometres from Rome, was created in March 2020 by three young talents – chef Sara Scarsella and pastry chef Matteo Compagnucci in the kitchen, life and work partners, and Carla Scarsella in the dining room.

The culinary creations at Sintesi are made with just a few ingredients, conceived with the aim of enhancing the flavour of each individual element. Fermentation, marinades and fish ageing are used in the service of taste, with the aim of enhancing local products and minimising waste. The presence of vegetables, many of which come from their own vegetable garden “5 minutes from the restaurant,” says Sara, is also hugely important.

Sintesi’s young chefs recently cooked at Locale in Florence, with resident chef Simone Caponnetto: an interesting appointment in the Food Fellas dinner series, during which they presented some dishes from the new spring 2023 menu.

“The fil rouge of this new collection is the important use of vegetables, which are found a lot in our kitchen: with the arrival of summer, I find the right raw materials, capable of expressing this motif to the fullest,” explains Sara, who boasts experience in the kitchens of Noma and Geranium in Copenhagen, but also at the court of chef Neil Perry in Sydney.

“We use many herbs from our greenhouse. We have fun, the vegetable gives us a lot of creative stimuli,” she continues. Often the chef treats vegetables with techniques usually used for the preparation of meat: “For example, we have a soapstone pot, where we cook the cardoncello mushroom in front of the customer. With the mushroom waste, we make a reduction with which we go to glaze the cardoncello, as if it were a brown base.” Matteo, the in-house pastry chef, also uses vegetables in desserts, ranging from corn on the cob to rosemary ice cream, with savoury combinations that work just as well for desserts.

Sintesi is a project that has gradually innovated with the cuisine of Castelli Romani, contributing to the gastronomic ferment of the area, with an approach far from local stereotypes. “We are pleased to see that many other businesses have also opened with us and have decided to invest in the area. We are deliberately located in the province, we have opted for this land: we were born in the countryside and we are here by choice,” explains Sara. “We did not open Sintesi with the idea of innovating: it was a natural process, we entered the gastronomic scene ‘on tiptoes’, making ourselves known slowly. There was great resonance and sharing of our project after the arrival of the Michelin star: it represented a sort of redemption of the territory, so much so that we welcomed new customers from the area who did not yet know us.”

Curious to see the new menu developed by Sara Scarsella and Matteo Campagnucci? Discover Sintesi’s spring 2023 dishes below.

Dishes from Sintesi’s spring 2023 menu

Tart with peas, smoked black olives and fermented porcini mushrooms

Risotto with broad beans, citron and watercress
Smoked risotto, minced lamb and laurel powder
Tortellini with vignarola and cocoa bean
Roasted cardoncello, mushroom stock and salsa verde
Namelaka with fig leaf sprouts, strawberry sorbet and lemon balm

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