Fall Cooking Classes: Regional Italian

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Photo © Joseph Blackburn

Photo © Joseph Blackburn

By informal poll at this spring’s Regional Indian classes, participants wanted an Italian Regional Series next. I wouldn’t have thought of it, which is odd, I guess, since I love Italian food – it’s what I cook at home 3 days out of 4.

I’m really excited about sharing some of my favourite dishes and exploring several that are new to me.

I decided that we will start out in the North this autumn, and gradually make our way southward in the New Year, finishing up with the hunters’, shepherds’ and fishermen’s fare of Sicily and Sardinia as the sunny weather returns.

While each of Italy’s regions would easily provide more than enough material for a class of its own, a 20 class series is a bit ambitious. So instead we will do something of a culinary mash-up, combining dishes from neighbouring regions on menus designed as an overview and inspiration for your further explorations. (Each menu will feature wine pairings from the regions and a light dessert, which will be, as always, a surprise.)

– Don

Piedmont, Lombardy and Liguria

Thursday, November 7, 2013 <– Note: New Date

alba-truffle-300

Truffles, mushrooms and game, rich hearty fare based on the quality of ingredients, saffron, olive oil and butter, risottos, salumi, celebrated cheeses, seafood – what’s not to like? We will start our Italian tour with an indulgence in Piedmont’s most precious culinary treasure – Alba truffles at the peak of their season in two sublime yet rustic dishes – and round out the menu with some of the exquisite cheese and charcuterie specialties (gorganzola… bresaola… ) of the region along with dishes featuring the defining flavours of Genoa and Milan, pesto and saffron.

Antipasti: Salumi, Formaggio, Bruschetta
Prawns with Potato and Pesto alla Genovese
Ossobuco and Risotto Milanese: Braised Veal Shank and Saffron Risotto
Peperoni alla Bagna Cauda: Roasted Peppers with Truffled Anchovy Garlic Sauce
Fonduta alla Piemontese: Cheese Fondue with Alba Truffles

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Trentino Alto Adige, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Veneto

Thursday, November 21, 2013

black-risotto

Fragrant allusions to the great, spice-laden vessels of the mighty Venetian Republic, brilliant seafood in astonishing variety, creamy risottos and polenta, the casual canalside elegance of the giro d’ombra meets the hearty country fare of the north and east overlaid with Slavonic and Turkic influences.

Chicheti di Folpo: Octopus and Potato Salad
Gamberetti Agio e Ogio: Prawns with Garlic and Olive Oil
Baccalà Mantecato: Whipped Salt Cod
Polenta Grigliata: Grilled Cornmeal
Risotto Nero: Black Risotto with Cuttlefish
Cavroman alla Triestina: Lamb Stew with Cinnamon and Ginger

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Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany

Thursday, December 5, 2013

seafood-stew-300

Emilia, verdant and fertile, where, like nowhere else in the world, creators and consumers share a passion about the art of food, and to its south, Tuscany with its poor soil (and consequently) great cooks, give us much of what we think of as “Italian food”: Bolognese, Fiorentina, parmigiana, lasagna, prosciutto, mortadella, balsamico and ragú – are all the Italian that many of us know! This menu will bring together the great artisanal products of Emilia, celebrate both the frugality of Tuscany with bread, beans, herbs and olive oil, and the opulence of La Grassa with a rich meat ragú – and finish with a simply spectacular fisherman’s stew from Leghorn.

Radicchio alla Griglia, Parmigiano e Prosciutto di Parma con Aceto Balsamico di Modena: Grilled Radicchio with Cheese from Reggio-Emilia, Ham from Parma, and Balsamic Vinegar from Modena
Crostini ai Fagioli: White Bean and Herb Crostini
Tagliatelle alla Bolognese: Egg Noodles with Ragú
Cacciucco alla Livornese: Seafood Stew, Leghorn Style

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