Viva Italia

A few weeks ago, I had an opportunity to dine at Massimo Bruno's Supper Club. Massimo hosts a monthly dinner, each one highlighting a different region of Italian cuisine. For this special tweetup, he presented a whopping nine dishes from such varied regions as Bari, Sicily, Piemonte, Emiglia-Romagna, and Treviso.

We started the evening with some of the tastiest focaccia I've ever had, dotted with tomatoes and herbs. The full flavour of olive oil really gave a crispness to the outside that was delightful.

That was followed by plates of antipasti like octopus carpaccio, swordfish rolls, and an assortment of artisanal prosciutto, sopressatta and capicolla. It was all delicious, but I think my favourite was the octopus, which was tender and mildly flavoured.

The two pastas that comprised the primi course were a home-made parmigiano and ricotta gnocchi with duck ragout and a home-made tajarin with sweet butter and sage. The duck was tender and flavourful as were the gnocchi. The tarajin was a lovely example of the simplicity of Italian cuisine. Freshly made pasta dressed only with butter and sage, with a dusting of parmegiano? What could be bad about that? Nothing, I tell you.

We had two dishes for the main course - braised beef cheeks in red wine and radicchio al forno. Over the years I've really come to appreciate cheeks of all kinds (though I have yet to try fish cheeks) and feel they're an under-appreciated cut. These beef cheeks were no exception. Deep wine flavour married with ridiculously tender pieces of meat made for a delicious dish. The slight bitterness of the oven-roasted radicchio, matched with the saltiness of parmigiano, was a fine accompaniment to the rich beef.

For dessert we were served a warm chocolate cake filled with that most Italian of creams, hazelnut, and served with a scoop of Ed's Real Scoop vanilla ice cream. I don't really need to justify licking the bowl clean, do I?

You can check out this video of Massimo talking in more detail about the origins of the dishes we ate that night, and get a glimpse of what the atmosphere was like around the family-style tables. And you can get even more through the pictures below.

gli antipastiChef Massimo BrunoTarajin waiting to be cookedAntipasti: Octopus CarpaccioAntipasti:  proscuitto, capicolla e sopressataAntipasti: Homemade Focaccia breadAntipasti: Involtini di Pesce Spada (sword fish rolls)Massimo tells us about the cuisine and the coursesPrimi: Homemade Parmigiano and Ricotta Gnocchi with Duck ragoutPrimi: Handmade Tajarin (semolina and egg yolks) with sweet butter and sageBrasato al Barolo (braised beef cheeks in red wine)Secondi: Radiccchio al fornoAnd of course, vinoPrepping for a future supperMenĂ¹ del giornoDolce: warm chocolate cake with Ed's vanilla ice creamA homey touchSatisfied customers


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