Sunday, February 22, 2015

Katie's Pizza and Pasta Passport Dinner: Veneto

February's Passport Dinner from Katie's Pizza and Pasta focused on Veneto, which is a northeast region in Italy, and it's largest city is Venice, prominently featured on the front of the menu card. Here is Veneto's menu...

Menu
Since I was so overwhelmed by the enlarged courses last month, I made a better effort to take notes on the wines from this month's region. While Tuscany is known for the Sangiovese grape (a Super Tuscan and a Chianti were both served), Veneto is known for Soave and Valpolicella.

A Soave was served with the first dish, a Scallop Crudo that just melted in my mouth. I would have loved a few more of these. The wine is not as crisp as a Pinot Grigio so again, the softer flavor allowed the scallop to stand out.

Scallop Crudo, Pamegranate, Fennel Fronds, Sea Salt
I was a little nervous about the next course because I had no clue what Cassunzisi Rossi is, so I was thrilled to discover it's "the pasta dish". (I was wondering when the pasta would come!) Cassunzisi is just the name for "filled fresh pasta consisting of a filling sealed between the two layers of thin pasta dough, folded in a typical half-moon shape". (Wikipedia) Rossi means "red" in Italian, and for this dish, red is for beets! Definitely one of the few instances in which you can slip a beet into my mouth.

To compete against the rich beet flavor, a more fruity wine was called for and the Scaia Bianco tasted similar to a Chardonnay.

Cassunzisi Rossi (Beet Pasta)
Chef and owner, Katie Lee, was too busy to introduce the previous course due to being in mid-stir for the Risotto Nero. I was certainly excited and nervous since she was mixing her bold squid ink in with the risotto and topping it with octopus! My first time! I guessed it would taste like calimari...a chewy texture, but it was actually more like a salty chicken to me. The squid ink risotto made for an entirely intense experience even without the octopus. While it may have been too adventuresome for my neighbors, I was thrilled for the opportunity.

You know a red would be needed for such a flavorful dish, and the Scaia Corvina tasted similar to a Pinot Noir to me. I think a bigger red could have been used, but I'm always for letting the dish take the spotlight.

Risotto Nero, Charred Octopus
The "big red" came next as a Valpolicella was paired during the following course, a braised duck in polenta and radicchio. The duck was a hard to eat off the bone and radicchio is too bitter for my taste. I was full after the first three courses, and this dish definitely could be a main course all unto it's own for duck lovers. The wine was definitely a favorite at my table.

Braised Duck, Plenta, Radiccio
Torta Sabbiosa means "sandy cake" and that is definitely a good way to explain the texture. You know me, it would have been perfect drenched in chocolate sauce, but the gelato and raspberries are probably more traditional. Paired with a very light Prosecco, this was perfect for the end of a filling dinner.

Torta Sabbiosa
Next up in March (also on Wednesday the 11th), the region of Campania is featured, and you can purchase tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/katies-pizza-pasta-passport-dinners-campania-tickets-15572284121

The first two dinners sold out VERY quickly so you must hurry!

Resources:

Katie's Pizza and Pasta = http://www.katiespizzaandpasta.com/

STLwinegirl = http://www.stlwinegirl.com