Monday, July 31, 2017

Amazing Appetizer, Chef Enzo David, Divina Ischia, Ischia (Na)

Back to Ischia for an appetizer by Chef Enzo David of Divina Ischia.  Here the chef, on the beautiful bay of Sant'Angelo in Ischia, prepared an appetizer that blended a traditional panino from the port area.  The sandwich is named the Zingara-translated as gypsy.  This gypsy sandwich, as tradition calls, is prepared using pane cafone, Neapolitan peasant bread.  Inside?  Cured prosciutto, mozzarella or fior di latte cheese, mayonnaise, lettuce and tomato.  Simple, right?
David took this recipe and made his own version embracing products from the sea- Zingara e' Mare.

Pane cafone from Panificio Boccia...

cured tuna prosciutto - since tuna is known as the pork of the sea...

mayonnaise made from sea urchins...

fried sea algae, yellow cherry datterini tomatoes and mozzarella foam...


Amazing Appetizer, Chef Pasquale Palamaro, Ristorante Indaco, Ischia (Na)

Over a month has passed, but I remember that appetizer as if the chef served it to me five minutes ago.  Il mare.  The sea.  that's the reason for the season.  The focus for Chef Pasquale Palamaro, executive chef of Hotel Regina Isabella - home to the Michelin starred Indaco Restaurant located on the island of Ischia.  The restaurant boasts a dream location, hugging the sea, so it seemed only logical the the specialties that left Palamaro's kitchen and arrived at my table for two reminded me of the sea...of il mare.

Like this appetizer...

At first glance?  Seems like a spiny sea urchin.  An aculei di mare  sitting  quietly on top of a mashed foam.


It's a amberjack fish breaded with black squid ink capellini pasta.

In its heart?  Salty lemon.  

Sprinkled on top?  Powdered roe aka bottarga.


Friday, July 28, 2017

Fantastic Firsts, Chef Luciano Villani, La Locanda del Borgo, Telese (Bn)

I recently had the chance to visit Chef Luciano Villani of La Locanda del Borgo.  The restaurant is part of the spectacular Aquapetra Resort located in in Telese, Benevvento.  The chef served up dishes from his new menu included these pasta dishes.
Let's take a look...

Linguine pasta....

served with a light creamy sauce made with monkfish,

coconut, and lime...on top,

a chip made from squid ink...

And what would summer be without pasta and tomato sauce?

Once again linguine is the pasta of choice....

Villani used sweet datterini cherry tomatoes for the sauce....

completed the cooking in the pan along with the summer's favorite sugo...

added fresh basil, and served it up for me in the kitchen.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Welcome Packages – Chef Peppe Stanzione, Le Trabe, Capaccio (Sa)

I have always been a big fan of the benvenuto.  Those special little starters presented by the chef as a way to help you settle in, relax as you sip a glass of spumante and absorb the surroundings.  That particular Saturday was my first visit to Le Trabe, my first time at Chef Peppe Stanzione’s table, my first time to taste his welcome packages.

Puffed salted cod tripe  with garlic, extra virgin olive oil and red chili pepper. Hot, hot, hot!

A saffron cannoncino/puffed pastry horn stuffed with buffalo robiolina cheese and smoked paprika.

A black olive bruschetta.

Roasted buffalo caciocavallo cheese with a marmalade of apricots from nearby Eboli and Arabic coffee powder.

 A zucchini flower stuffed with buffalo milk ricotta cheese and topped with toasted pumpkin seeds.

A mini Parmigiano frittellina with a datterino cherry tomato mayonnaise.

A scallop fried in a tight black squid tempura and a avocado and lime mayonnaise. 

And to finish off,

 a steamed sandwich filled with a black pork prosciutto mousse.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Summer Vacation a Casa - Casa Vitiello, Tuoro (Ce)

Halfway through July and friends and family have been asking the same question over and over again 'Karen, how have you been spending your summer vacation?'
At home/a casa.

Casa Vitiello - a pizzeria not too far from home that has become, basically, home.

So one Saturday afternoon I decided to check out what Francesco (Ciccio) Viteillo had been serving up on his summer menu.

He served up three pizzas for a mini pizza party with estate/summer as the theme.


Pizza alla Nerano.  A pizza named after the famous Campania pasta dish starring sauteed zucchini,  mint and Provolone del Monaco cheese.


La Colorata, A colorful pizza starring yellow and red tomato confit, fior di latte cheese and fresh marjoram.


O' Ciurilli.  Ciurilli means zucchini flowers in dialect, and the ones on Ciccio's pizza are from the family garden. And speaking of garden, the curly endive salad is from an organic farm belonging to amici - Fondazione Leo.

Then there's fior di latte, anchovies from Sciaccia, Sicily  and black olives- pitted and powdered versions.

So, the way I see it, summer vacation at home is not such a terrible thing.

Viva the staycation!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Fantastic Firsts, Chef Peppe Stanzione, Le Trabe, Capaccio (Sa)

Chef Peppe Stanzione

A summer Saturday in the heart of Cilento.  Le Trabe Restaurant, located on the lush grounds of Tenuta Capodifiume was my latest delicious destination.  I was there to try the dishes prepared by Michelin starred Chef Peppe Stanzione, and I couldn’t wait.

I tried many dishes that day including these two pasta dishes –

Mischiato delicate/delicate mixed pasta with two types of tomatoes from the Cilento region – yellow and pacchetelle…

Burrata cheese…

And a mussel marinara sauce with fresh oregano and a touch of anchovy to give the dish a natural sapidity, Peppe explained.

I asked to be present in the kitchen as Stanzione and his brigade plated up his next dish – which was an excellent opportunity to see team at work.

Guitar spaghetti pasta in an amberjack ragù sauce…

Verbena and ginger fragrance…

Served with an amberjack sashimi, miso, lemon seasoned buffalo milk cream, and black olive charcoal…