Osteria Mozza

For my birthday last Wednesday, my very benevolent husband took me to one of my favorite restaurants of all time, Osteria Mozza.

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We started off the night with our favorite Italian cocktail, Spritz con Aperol, a classic venetian cocktail made with prosecco, ice, aperol, a little soda water, and a slice of orange peel; Mozza does it just right, with the perfect ratio of prosecco to Aperol.

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I love Mozza for their very diverse mozzarella bar, the incredible pasta selection, and the exceptional service. I also love the bold flavors, the incredible textures, and the beautiful presentation of the food.

We started off by splitting the Grilled Octopus with potatoes, celery and lemon. The octopus was perfectly grilled; crispy exterior, soft delicate interior. Balanced beautifully with the acidity of the lemon and the crunch of the celery.

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Then we had the Baby Kale with pine nuts, ricotta salata, and marinated anchovies. What an incredible dish. A twist on a classic salad (Cesar) the kale is blanched just enough that you still get a crunch from the greens and is dressed with an incredible Cesar-esque dressing that is tart and salty from the anchovies. Then it is sprinkled very generously with the ricotta salata. This dish is definitely on my to-do list for recipe developments.

Following the salad we had the Bufala Mozzarella with crushed lemon, bagna cauda and bottarga, which honestly I could do without. The bagna cauda over powered any other flavor and completely took over the subtlety of the bufala mozzarella, which is a true shame.

Lastly we shared two different pastas: Garganelli with Ragu Bolognese; nice rich flavors, beautifully crafted pasta, nothing to out of this world.¬†And the Bucatini all’Amatriciana; spicy yet sweet, nice balance of tomato to pasta ratio, very classic and extremely well executed, paired wonderfully with the wine.

As if we couldn’t eat enough, we finished off the night with the Bomboloni that is served with huckleberry marmellata and lemon mascarpone. I gotta say, this is one of the best desserts I have had in a while. Bomboloni are one of my favorite things in the world; think fancy doughnut holes. Served with an incredible huckleberry jam and and the most heavenly lemon mascarpone. Perfectly fried and deliciously sweet yet tart. At this point I was so full that we had to take the rest of the Bomboloni home, which were a perfect breakfast the next day!!

The Silverspoon

For those of us who like to cook, we are always in search of the perfect cookbook. But what makes a perfect cookbook? Can there really be just one?

The reason I love cookbooks is because there are literally thousands of viewpoints on different techniques, cuisines, themes, and so on. Whenever I am traveling, I usually like to buy a cookbook that is written for locals versus something that is made for tourists because it tends to be a lot more authentic and is fascinating to see how different authors around the world communicate to their readers about food and cooking.

One of my favorite books to cook out of is The Silverspoon, which is exactly that. A cookbook for Italians that includes all the dishes that Italians like to eat and prepare. The edition that I own has been adapted for English-speaking readers. According to the book, English language cookbooks usually¬† have very detailed step by step descriptions for how to prepare the dish. Although its been adapted for English-speaking readers, the authors of The Silverspoon, made a huge effort to maintain the authenticity of the recipes and include some ingredients or methods that may seem unusual to us. For example, the other night I made Bread Soup with Tomato, something I had never had and didn’t know how it should taste. It was interesting because the recipe was quite bland for my palate and I ended up dousing the soup with Sriracha and added way more salt than I think it calls for.

What I think this book was intended to do, was to give its readers a basic understanding of Italian food and cooking, and to encourage cooks to branch out on their own. I have cooked a couple of things out of this book and so far, it has been a great learning experience and, thanks to the support of my husband, I have decided to cook my way through this book in an effort to learn more about Italian cooking and to further my skills as a chef! Coming up….Shrimp Risotto!!