Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Fantastic Firsts - Gnocco Acqua e Farina, Don Alfonso 1890 (Na)

Saturday afternoon, nearly a month after they opened for the season, I walked over to salutare  Chef Ernesto Iaccarino in the garden of Don Alfonso 1890 after lunch service. The chef, enjoying a few relaxing moments and a cigar between services,  asked  me to have a seat. He then asked me what were my impressions, what were my thoughts.    Needless to say, I was not disappointed with the meal  Iaccarino and his talented brigade had prepared for me that day. But there was one dish that I had to say wow! One dish that I had to know more about.  
A new menu item; Don Alfonso's Gnocco acqua e farina.  

It was this dish that I decided to ask Iaccarino for more dettagli...more details.  These  simple dumplings- made with flour and water - were filled oh so delicately with smoked scamorza cheese.  Scamorza cheese that flowed like a river from  two little pillows resting in a tomato sauce.  
And what a tomato sauce!!  It was that sauce that I wanted to know more about.  Because it was that sauce, that rich sugo, that made the dish special for me.  Iaccarino told me that the sauce was a blend of tomato puree made from the tomatoes from his family's organic farm in Punta Campanella (Na) as well as those from Maida -  Azienda Agricola Francesco Vastola - located in Paestum (Sa).  These two types of pomodori from two very different parts of Campania produced a mix that made me reach for the bread basket and swipe the plate several times.  Not to mention the potato/oregano wafer that gave this soft dish that crunchy crispy contrast.


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