As eclectic as I like to roll, I always appreciate a request to stick to a specific cuisine. In this case, Italian…well, Italian vegetarian. Cooking vegetarian is always a pleasure; most of my normal creativity is based around earth bound procurements. It also relieves me of the pressure to present meat as a necessary perception of value. As per usual, favorites of the night morphed and changed as the dinner meandered along. It was a great group of Italian travel enthusiasts that were fired up about good wine and everything Italy has to offer. I presented a multi-course dinner of Italian swerve that highlighted farmers market produce.
Seared figs and homemade ricotta on crostini
Lamb stuffed and grilled sweet peppers
Taleggio, walnut and pecan stuffed grilled zucchini
-Italian farmers salad- artichoke, gold Chioggia beets, Cerignola olives, pickled red onion and cucumber, roasted eggplant, herbs, shaved fennel and artichoke vinaigrette
-Pear and chestnut soup with tallegio stuffed baby pear
-Cannellini and kale salad with whole pesto ( torn basil, minced garlic, roasted pistachios, shaved reggiano and extra virgin olive oil
-Butter roasted Cipollini onions and brussels with butternut “ravioli” with mushrooms and porcini sauce
-Fresh made spaghetti with chunky/fresh arrabiata
*As usual, there was an absence of pictures but I assure you, everything was just lovely. To assure the meat eaters out there that I actually do get fired up with meat, here is a picture of my favorite meat dish this year. Surf ‘n Turf- Roasted salmon with steak tartare, corn riddled mashed potatoes and dijon bearnaise. Flavor was off the charts.