June's tasting evening was a five course Italian meal.
To start, a Caponata. A slow cooked blend of vegetables, spiked with the spice of chilli, the sweetness of raisins and the acidity of capers. The slow cooking style lets the peppers, tomatoes, aubergine and onions flavours mix together. This is served at room temperature with bread to mop up all the juices.
The next course was Minestrone alla Milanese. This follows the classic tomato, vegetable and mixed bean soup, which is then enhanced with pork belly to give a light stew consistency.
Spaghetti Vongole is a very simple pasta with clams. The strength of the dish is with the quality and freshness of the clams.
The main course is Saltimbocca alla Romana. This is a thin slice of veal with Parma ham and sage. Simply sauteed, this is served with a Peperonata, a mix of peppers slow cooked to develop their sweetness.
The final course is a lemon & vanilla panacotta. A mousse made with milk enthused with vanilla bean and lemon peel. We served this with a crisp almond biscuit as a contrast to the soft texture of the panacotta.
We kept to quite traditional recipes with this evening, highlighting the diversity of Italian food. This uses the idea of slowly prepared food using the freshness of the ingredients to their strength.