Marco Polo: a culinary adventure
SOMA, San Francisco
Available for purchase
Small (4-10 Guests)
After a very special trip to Italy, I felt a little like Marco Polo. Tasting the unique flavors and dishes in the different regions we traveled, especially Piedmont--the handmade pastas, the wine, the fresh produce, the gelato--all were perfection. What interested me even more was to weave my favorite Indian flavors into Northern Italian dishes, bringing both worlds to one plate. Join me on this culinary adventure, like Marco Polo, bringing India to Italy!
Crochette and polpette
Fried balls of goodness--that is the way to start a meal! Growing up, samosas and lamb koftas were my favorite snacks. I have taken those flavors and presented them as a masala crochette and spiced polpette. Crochette: spiced pea risotto is slow cooked, chilled, filled with homemade paneer, coated in panko and lightly fried. Polpette: lamb is seasoned with spices including cumin, ginger and tumeric, filled with homemade paneer and lightly fried. Both are paired with a cooling cilantro chutney.
Antipasto: Charred octopus salad
Octopus and potatoes, known as insalata di polpo e patate, is a favorite antipasto in Piedmont served any time of year. For me, the simplicity of the dish was a canvas to add some different flavors. The octopus is cooked in an herb and red wine broth until tender, quickly charred, then brushed with a tamarind-ginger glaze for extra heat. To complete the dish, potatoes and seasonal beans are steamed and dressed with a mustard seed vinagrette.
Primo: Butter chicken pasta
Butter chicken. Homemade pasta. Two of my craves. Why not put these together? Butter chicken was a rare indulgence at home but I made sure to learn the recipe. During our trip, I completed another cooking milestone, learning from our wonderful hostess in Barolo how to make pasta from scratch. Bringing these two together, organic chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices for 24 hours, slow cooked, and combined with fresh tagliatelle I roll out right before dinner. Delish!
Secondo: Spiced short rib over cauliflower puree and cumin-celery salad
Brasato al Barolo is a staple in Northern Italy made with much care given the prized Piedmont cattle. Beef is gently braised in red wine until it falls of the bone. Using this method, I first marinate short ribs in a spice rub for hours before cooking them. To complement this, cauliflower is transformed into a silky puree, and celery is combined with pinenuts and a toasted cumin seed vinagrette for crunch. It is my nod to the traditional Italian technique while incorporating Indian flavors.
Dolci: Mango Panna cotta with pistachio gremolata
Indian desserts often highlight mango and pistachio but, in my opinion, are too sweet. During our travels, we enjoyed gelato on almost a daily basis (as one should), so I was inspired to create a luscious custardy dessert of chilled cream, sugar, and caramelized mangos served with a pistachio-lemon-mint gremolata. It is refreshing, cooling, and, in the spirit of a proper Italian dessert, not too sweet!
Selected Italian wines have been curated to highlight each course. Appetizer and antipasto: Francicorta (NV): Hints of crisp apple and lemon with effervescent bubbles. Primo: Luisa di Friuli (2016): Full bodied, soft and well balanced with aromas of apricot, apple, peach and citrus. Secondo: Nebbiolo Langhe (2016): Smoky, black fruit and charcoal palate with medium-plus finish. Dolci: Brachetto d'Acqui (2017): Refreshing aromas of red fruit, especially strawberries make a soft, delicate sip.
Wine pairing: Francicorta (1 glass)
Wine pairing: Luisa di Friuli (1 glass)
Wine pairing: Nebbiolo Langhe (1 glass)
Wine pairing: Brachetto d'Acqui (1 glass)
Wine pairing: for entire menu (1/2 glass x 4)
Marco Polo: a culinary adventure
SOMA, San Francisco(Exact Address will be shared upon purchase.)