What better way to kick off the summer than with a trip to Italy? Well, some of us are not so lucky to jetset to Europe at a moment’s notice, but here in NYC we have easy accesss to authentic Italian cuisine. One such fine place is Abboccato Italian Kitchen, where they are launching their Regional Tour of Italy Summer Series, highlighting delicacies and flavors from Sicily, Tuscany, and Piedmont.
This three-month long journey takes our palate to different regions of Italy each month, with the menu prepared by Executive Chef David Arias. The monthly rotating menu features a selection of cicchetti (from $6 to $8) and corresponding wine pairings (from $9 to $12). The first menu for the month of June is to Sicily, and we stopped by Abboccato’s for an exclusive tasting with wine pairings.
We started off sampling the sarde alla beccafico, sardine skewers stuffed with pine nuts, capers, currants, and parsley topped with a lemon sauce, the citrus pairing well with the seafood. The caponata al forno is a saucey blend of baked eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatos, capers, and raisins served atop a garlic crostini. The panelle siciliane was unlike any Italian dish I’ve ever experienced: the braised short ribs were cooked so tenderly on top of the chickpea fritter with cacciocavallo cheese.
My favorite dish of the night was the arancini al ragu, crispy risotto balls with veal ragu, peas, and shaved parmesan cheese. This would pair heavenly with a saucy pasta dish. Be sure to take a look at the full menu for June here.
Of course, Italian food would be nothing without Italian wine. Our dishes were expertly paired with a selection of wines from Stemmari, the leading wine producer in Sicily and one of the most sustainable wine brands in Europe. From their vast selection, we started with the Dalila, a rich white with vanilla undertones and a hint of tropical flavors. The pinot noir had many degrees of berry flavors, complementing the food excellently. We ended with the Nero D’Avola, Sicily’s most celebrated red varietal with ripe black cherry and mineral undertones.
The Regional Tour of Italy continues on with the schedule below, and be sure to make your reservations at Abboccato Italian Kitchen to try them all!
Regional Tour of Italy Summer Series
Sicily: June 3, 2014 – June 30, 2014
An island menu expertly paired with a selection of Stemmari wines—the leading wine producer in Sicily
Tuscany: July 1, 2014 – July 31, 2014
A tour of the Tuscan countryside featuring housemade pastas and a selection of wines made with the Sangiovese grape
Piedmont: August 1, 2014 – Sunday, August 31, 2014
Rich Italian flavors paired with deep red wines including Italy’s “King of Wines,” Barolo
Hours of operation:
Breakfast: Sunday – Saturday from 7:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
Lunch: Monday – Saturday from 12 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Dinner: Sunday from 4 p.m. – 10:00p.m., Monday from 5 p.m. – 10:00 p.m., and Tues-Saturday from 5 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.