While mole poblano might be one of the most iconic dishes from the Mexican state of Puebla, there’s also no shortage of pasta in the region.
The city of Chipilo was founded by immigrants from Veneto, a northeastern region of Italy.
“In Mexico, people also like pasta,” said Phil Ferranti, owner of El Cisne Restaurant.
Ferranti is no stranger to Mexican food—he lived in Mexico in the 1940s, around the end of World War II, and is also the former owner of Tucson’s La Placita Cafe.
Ferranti is eager to broaden Tucson’s knowledge of Puebla beyond the widely celebrated holiday of Cinco de Mayo. To honor Puebla’s rich culinary heritage, El Cisne is introducing three seasonal dishes: Fettuccini Pasta Bolognesa, Fettuccini Pasta Alfredo, and Chile en Nogada.
The pasta sauces aren’t direct translations of the Italian originals since Mexican ingredients are added. For example, the bolognesa sauce is spiced up with the addition of diced chiles.
“This dish doesn’t come from Italy, it comes from Puebla,” Ferranti said.
The chile en nogada is a distinct take on the chile relleno. The poblano chile is filled with their picadillo, made from ground sirloin, raisins, and spices. After the chile is stuffed, battered, and fried, it’s topped with a creamy walnut-almond sauce and sprinkled with pomegranate seeds. The final product completes the green, white, and red trio of the Mexican flag.
For customers interested in the culinary creations of other regions in Mexico, El Cisne has them covered. Though the restaurant serves Sonoran classics such as enchiladas, Ferranti has dedicated sections of the menu to other geographic regions as well. Fresh seafood sourced from San Carlos on the Gulf Coast is used to create Veracruz-style dishes. The Oaxacan section of the menu features distinctive sauces such as sofrito or mole Oaxaqueño.
“We want to represent a broader, deeper type of food,” Ferranti said. “The thing we never want to be is the cliché of Mexican restaurants in America.”
For more information, visit elcisnerestaurant.com.
Jackie Tran is a Tucson-based food writer, photographer, culinary educator, and owner-chef of the food truck Tran’s Fats. Although he is best known locally for his work for Tucson Foodie, his work has also appeared in publications such as Bon...