“No, the Pecorino has to be finer, much finer, so that it combines with the hot pasta water to form a creamy sauce.” The Austrian says “creamy” about thick liquids. I keep rubbing. Who contradicts Erwin Wurm, the sculptor, the King of Gurke? For two days we have been visiting Castle Limberg southwest of Graz, almost in Slovenia, the retreat of the Wurm family, which is also the artist’s studio and workshop.
We are invited for a whole week. Nice, I thought to myself, even though we didn’t really know each other that well. We met by chance on a small Greek island in the summer of 2020. But the concerns that I was spending my time with an extroverted artist who behaved like some German art celebrities, namely exactly as Lieschen Müller imagines the artists to be, were unjustified. Erwin is normal to insanely nice and really interesting.
Experienced and thoughtful – even when cooking
So today we are cooking. There is Pasta Cacio e Pepe, as Erwin tells me, the traditional pasta of the southern Italian goatherds. So we went shopping first thing in the morning, got old Pecorino with pepper, pasta and salad and a few bottles of Grüner Veltliner. Now I finely grate the whole pecorino and wait until the pasta is cooked in the little water. But beware! Since the sauce is then prepared with the pasta water, the pasta has to be taken out of the water earlier than usual.
With this very starchy water I stir the Pecorino to a creamy mass. An incredibly good smell of cheese and pasta spreads in the kitchen. As experienced and considered as Erwin develops all his work, he is also experienced in cooking.
The pasta is brutally good
Yesterday at noon there was already a barbecue with all his employees. So close to the weekend it’s just nice to sit together in the garden. You can tell that there is a lot of concentrated work going on at Limberg Castle, but you can also feel that it’s teamwork. Normally I feel a bit out of place in such situations, but everything is casual here – again a common word in Austria.
The pasta is brutally good. The sauce surrounds the noodles in a creamy and salty way, with an intense note of pepper. The enormous amount is quickly eaten. No one can make the dessert anymore, we’ll stick to the wine.
Pervaded by a subversive humor
My daughter looks at me with irritation as I join in Wolfgang Ambros’ “Es lebe der Zentralfriedhof” (Es live the Central Cemetery) in my perfect Viennese dialect. Erwin is also sure of the text and is not surprised: “Admission is for the living – Heit is forbidden without exception…” And again my wine glass is full.
#Visiting #Erwin #Wurm #foolish
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