Week 4: Viva Italia!!!

We start week 4 (the last week of the first kitchen rotation) with a foray into Italian cuisine. I started the day with a lecture on the geographical, historical and cultural perspective on the country. Chef Dale followed with a Risotto demo. He likes to serve it the venetian way “al onda” or wavy with plenty of liquid. Very nice.Later we went into our groups and started to cook. GM had a wonderful soup called “Aquacotta” (I know I thought the same thing when I saw the name “curded water”). Turns out to be a very flavorful soup with tomatoes and peppers topped with bruschetta and capped with a poached egg.
The soup had a wonderful light acidity which complemented the unctuousness of the yolk and the smoky char of the bruschetta.For our “Segundo” a risotto “al frutti di mare” topped with Frico. Thomasino and Meghania lerned a valuable lesson in that it is crucial to use fresh parmesan cheese instead of trying to be economical and grate rinds whose gratings are much too dry. We found some lobster consommé in the freezer which we reduced down to a glaze and mounted some butter into to make a lobster beurre fondu. The flavor was full and the seafood (seared scallops, mussels and rock shrimp) were perfectly cooked.
We paired these two courses with a Soave from the Veneto. Soave is made with the Garganega varietal in the vineyards near Verona. We had a great selections of breads on this day.
If you look carefully you can see Thomasino or “Frico Soave” in the background.We finished our meal with a refreshing “Sgroppino” a layered fruit drink with light carbonation provided by prosecco.
Don Ricardo, then got very serious as we discussed what we were going to do about the Tataglia and Barzini families who were starting to muscle into our turf.

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