Tag Archives: Il Gatto

The Black List June 2011

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Plenty of Pig

Nineteen courses involving pig.  Sounds overwhelming doesn’t it?  I thought so, when Parasole invited me to Festa Mangalitsa dinner at Il Gatto.

When I went to the dinner I was a little worried that I would experience flavor fatigue.  After all?  Pork is pork, right?

Actually, no, it isn’t.  I was completely fascinated that each dish had a very distinct pig flavor, but tasted drastically different from each other.

Our placemat was a “roadmap” of the pig.

My dinner companion, Kate N.G. Sommers, captured the variety of dishes.  Beautiful.

Fifty of us sat at one long, beautiful table.

The Grilled Tuscan Bread was served with Mangalitsa Strutto. Meat from Back. The whipped pork lard and sea salt.  I was shocked by the distinct pig flavor and light the whipped lard.

Gnocco Fritto with Pig Heart and Black Olive.  Meat from Middle Cut.  Pig heart.  I wasn’t sure I had pig heart before and was unsure if I would like it.  It may come across as “muscl-y”.  But it was surprisingly delicate.

Testina with Watercress and Orange (head cheese).  Meat from Head.

Prawns Al Diavolo in Lardo with Corno di Capra Peppers and Garlic.  Meat from Shoulder.  The pork flavor was so light that I almost missed it!

Pork Loin Tonatto with Mache and Fried Capers.  Meat from Back.  The plate was visually stunning.

Wood-Fired Clams with Smoked Guanciale, Tomato and Oregano had so much flavor and a lovely broth that I could have eaten a loaf of rustic bread to dip into it.  Meat from Head.

Zampone with Cotechino Sausage, Celery Salad and Grain Mustard Vinaigrette.  Meat from Foot.

Crispy Pig’s Ear Salad with Pickled Ramps and Fried Eggs.  Meat from Ear.  Of course, ramps are among my favorite thing in the world.  The pig’s ear started to become addictive…kind of like potato chips in that you could keep eating them.

House Cured Pork Belly Snail Spiedini with Salsa Verde and Controne Bean Puree.  Meat from Belly.

Wood-Fired Pizza with Nettles and Mortadella.  Meat from Middle Cut.  This was among the crowd’s favorite.

Corzetti with Mangalitsa Sausage, Broccoli Rabe and Anchovy.  Meat from Ham.  What was interesting about this pasta is that it was imprinted on both sides, like a coin.

Fazzoletti with Milk Braised Pork Leg, Fava Beans and Arugula.  Meat from Ham.  After twelve hours of braising, the milk starts to caramelize.  This was my favorite course.  Pasta is always comfort food to me and the milk braised pork was so flavorful.

Mazzafegato Agnolotti with smoked Tomato and Ramps.  The pasta is filled with mousse-like pork sausage.  Meat from Middle Cut.

Bucatini All’Amatriciana with Guanciale, Hot Pepper, Tomato and Pecorino Romano.  Meat from Head.

Grilled Rainbow Trout with Pancetta and Vignole and Mint.  Meat from Belly.

Porchetta with Corona Beans and Slow Cooked Asparagus.  Meat from Head.

Slow Roasted Pork Shoulder with Mostarda di Cremona and Salsa Verde.  Meat from Shoulder.  The meat was roasted for nine hours at low temperature.

Chocolate-Caramel Tart with Smoked Pancetta Caramel and Bacon-Cocoa Nib Tuile.  Meat from Belly.

Chef Jim Christianson, Chef Tim McKee and Pastry Chef Adrienne Odom really approached the menu in a creative and delicious way!

I like that Parasole is stepping it up and doing events such as Festa Mangalitsa!  I’m looking forward to more dinners.

Here Piggy, Piggy

When I was invited to the Festa Mangalitsa dinner…I smiled as it reminded me of the full pig roasts we had as kids.  Sometimes the pigs would be roasted in a pit dug into the ground and sometimes we would roast them in a makeshift rotisserie made out of a big metal barrel.

We were doing tail to snout before the term was a part of the culinary vernacular.

So I was very excited to be invited to a full-on pig dinner and adding to my excitement, I learned that Chefs Tim McKee and Jim Christianson were hosting the Festa Mangalitsa dinner at Il Gatto.

After looking into the background of the Mangalitsa pigs, which look drastically different from the short-hair pink pigs we raised on the farm, I learned that Mangalitsa pork is served at French Laundry, arguably the top restaurant in the country.  Think of this meat as being pork-equivalent as Wagyu beef is to beef…flavorful highest quality meat, due to the amount of marbling in the meat. 

Interestingly enough, it would appear that the restaurant industry had a lot to do with saving these pigs from near-extinction.  By bringing the meat into high-end restaurants, breeders were able to afford to raise the pigs, which are considerably more expensive than industrially produced pigs.

 Limited to 50 guests, the dinner promises to be a night of fun and tasty food.  Seats are $112.50 as well as BYOB (bring your own beverage).

 I’m hoping to see you there!

Kitchen Table Series

This is looking like a “don’t miss” kind of event.  Fabulous food and a little face time with the chefs…hard combination to beat!