Italian cucina at its best

May 28, 2012, 09:11 IST | Anjali Jhangiani

Expat chef Mura Ugo Giuseppe takes us on a culinary journey through modern Italian cuisine while regaling us with the latest food trends in his country

“Allora?” says expat chef Mura Ugo Giuseppe as he reaches our table. “It’s the Italian version of what’s up,” he explains, as he attends to his guests at Alto Vino.

The jovial chef has travelled down from Turin, Italy to organise a food festival that aims at showcasing the latest trends in modern Italian cuisine in the city. He leaves no stoned unturned in educating his guests about the various types of cheese that are made only in Italy.

Filetto di dentice in crema di ceci or fillet of red snapper in chickpea cream with rosemary and extra virgin olive 

We start with tasting bits of cheese, with thick warm slices of Focaccia bread with melted butter and a generous portion of Socca, which reminds us of a cheesy omelette, but we were surprised to hear that it doesn’t contain egg, cheese or even milk. It is a mixture of water and chick pea flour cooked in olive oil. A great start to gear you up for the antipasti, a formal prelude to the meal. Along came Caponet di verza e gamberi con concasse di pomodoro, or parcels of cabbage with prawns and diced tomatoes, and Parmigiana di melanzane, a dish with parmigiana of eggplants. “The dishes are in vogue in Italy because of their low-fat content,” informs chef Giuseppe as we indulge in the cheese-less delicacies.

Timballo di ricotta or Ricotta cheese flan

The next course calls for a round of pasta. The chef prepares Tagliatelle dell vignaiolo con ragu di salsiccia, or tagliatelle kneaded with red wine and sausage ragout. The smooth and rich concoction has soft pieces of delicious sausages, and Lasagna farcite ai carciofi e alle zucchini, lasagna with an artichoke and courgette filling. It needs to be eaten carefully as the stuffing oozes out of the lasagna with each cut you make.

Caponet di verza e gamberi con concassè di pomodoro or parcel of cabbage and prawns with diced tomatoes

We moved on to the main course, which comprised of Filetto di brazino ai funghi, Sea bass with mushrooms cooked with tomatoes and spinach and Vegetable millefeuille, mozzarella and capers salsa. At this stage we noticed the lack of cheese in the preparations; we conclude the growing health-conscious trend across Italy is responsible for it. We are glad to see a dollop of mozzarella on the Vegetable Millefeuille but we realise it is the texture of a rubbery ball, and half the size of it too. But the night’s not over, we still have dessert!

Costoletta d’agnello in crosta di nocciole or hazelnuts breaded lamb chops 

Dessert is a double delight, with Panna cotta salsa alle fragile, fresh cream pudding with strawberry sauce and heavenly Tiramisu. The Panna cotta seemed to light, but the yummy strawberry sauce made up for it, where as for the Tiramisu, all we can say is, ‘Another serving please!’

At Alto Vino, Senapati Bapat Road.  

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