If you’re in the mood for fresh and hearty fare from Italy but not the obvious picks like Tiramisu and Panna cotta, head to the The Telegraph Food Guide Italian winner, La Cucina.
Italian Chef Pauletto Massimiliano from Hyatt Regency Chennai and La Cucina’s resident chef Maitreya Sen have cooked up a special menu for Italian Day on June 1.
The Duet Of Chefs have presented the familiar with a unique take. For the antipasti, the Caprese Salad of Tomato and Mozzarella, finds form as Caprese-style ‘Crostone’ bread with extra virgin olive oil, similar to a bruschetta.
Or the Tuna Carpaccio, made with roasted onion and chives dressing. Though its cousin, the Beef Carpaccio is better known, you’ll find its fishy alternative equally if not more palatable.
Follow it up with Cherry Tomato Soup, or skip it altogether to go all out on the pastas. “We Italians cannot imagine a meal without pasta. It’s to us what dal-roti is to you,” says Massimiliano in his distinct Italian drawl. Try the Penne with Vegetable Ragout, a stew of fresh vegetables, topped with sun-dried tomatoes and Parmesan flakes.
Want to pack in carbs in the form of rice? The Risotto Walnut with Beans and Pecorino Cheese is as creamy and delicious as it comes.
A balanced meal requires protein and it’s the perfect excuse if you want to indulge in the juicy Roast Tenderloin (picture above), served on a bed of Sicilian Caponata, a dish of eggplant and pine nuts set off with a red wine-based jus.
But the piece de resistance, is the aromatic dessert, which Massimiliano credits to his grandmother — the Vin Brulee with homemade gelato. “Vin Brulee is basically mulled wine that we’d serve to children in family get-togethers, when they’d plead for wine. Since you flambe the wine, the alcohol is used up and it’s safe for children,” explains the chef.
At La Cucina, the mulled wine with poached pears and peaches is offset with an orange blossom gelato creating a blend of aroma and flavours that’s near impossible to forget.
A meal for two should cost Rs 3,500 and the special menu is available till June 10.
Raise your hand to ask him a question and he grins “Yes, I’m single” even before you begin. A t2 chat with chef Massimiliano, the man whose lilting Italian accent and sense of humour are as good as his food!
Your first memory of cooking?
That would be of my grandmother. She’d make a wonderful confit (slow-cooked duck or meat).
Your comfort food?
It might sound strange but I like a good club sandwich or a pizza.
An Indian dish you like?
I like the South Indian Thali, all tandoor items and Chicken Butter Masala.
The secret of Italian cooking is?
Fresh products and a smiling chef.
What side of Italy do you like?
I’m from the north where it’s too cold and all you get is meat and cream. So I like Sicily and south Italy where you get all the vegetables, the colours and tastes.
An underrated Italian dish?
It would be the Amatriciana made with bacon and a kind of pasta called Bucatini. Somehow it hasn’t caught on here but it’s very popular in Italy. It’s cooked with braised onion and black pepper and goes well with red wine. It’s similar to the Carbonara but not as creamy.
You manage with little prep time. What’s your secret?
Fresh items. Plus you need fast hands. Like mine (laughs).
On Wednesday, cafeteria chain Yummyy Tummy opened its first outlet at 1/426 Gariahat Road South (near Carmel High School). Dig into “healthy” pastries, patties and sandwiches. “People have become very health conscious nowadays. So we thought of coming up with tasty food cooked in minimal oil or butter,” said Indrani Paul, owner, Yummyy Tummy. Open 7am-11pm, the breakfast menu offers Bread Toast, French Toast, Omelette and Idlis whereas Keema and Ajwain Parathas and Momos will be available through the day. Health drinks like protein shots or aloe vera juice with a dollop of ice cream are available to “detoxify” the body. Cake Pops and Chocolate Brownie cost Rs 10 and 50 respectively.
What: New range of customised chocolates at Chocoxpress, 16B Sarat Bose Road (beside Nepal Sweets).
On the menu: Fancy popping Jimmy Choo or Gucci into your mouth? How about uncorking a chocolate champagne bottle? The dessert den has lined up customised chocolates like champagne bottles and glasses made of chocolate, chocolate shoes, mojris and bouquets.
Pocket pinch: Prices start at Rs 450 and go up to Rs 3,000.