Zuppa di Nicotera 4.99 cup / 5.99 bowl Cirò Bianco
Chopped vegetable soup with broccoli, potatoes, cannellini beans, celery, onions, tomatoes and tutto Calabria pepperoncino; served with a pecorino cheese crouton (Vegetarian)
Insalata Monte Poro 8.79 Cirò Bianco
Organic spring lettuces, endive, strawberries and fried goat cheese with strawberry-raspberry vinaigrette (Vegetarian)
Grigliata di Vegetali 8.99 Cirò Bianco
Mixed grill of fresh vegetables: asparagus, fennel, zucchini, eggplant, tomato and yellow pepper, brushed with fresh herb marinade (Vegan)
Rigatoni alla Silana 16.99 Gaglioppo
Pasta tubes with prosciutto ragu topped with shaved pecorino pepato
Ravioli Mari e Monti 18.59 Cirò Bianco Housemade spinach pasta filled with shrimp, leeks, roasted bell peppers, ricotta and pecorino cheeses, tossed in a field mushroom sauce
Maccarruni ca N'Duja e Melangiane 15.99 Gaglioppo
Tubular spaghetti with spicy Calabrian sausage, fried eggplant and marinara sauce
Risotto cu Gamberoni 19.59 Cirò Bianco
Freshwater prawn risotto with rock shrimp, chopped asparagus and lobster reduction
Brasato di Manzo 24.99 Gaglioppo
Braised beef short ribs with root vegetables, white wine and tomatoes; served with sautéed organic spinach and mashed potatoes
Involtino di Spada 25.99 Cirò Bianco
Swordfish loin rolled with shrimp, almonds, garlic, pecorino and caciocavallo cheese; served with Calabrian-style spicy potatoes, eggplant and peppers
Carni Arrostuta 26.99 Gaglioppo
Roasted leg of lamb marinated with parsley, thyme, roasted garlic and shallot sauce; served with sautéed organic spinach and Calabrian-style spicy potatoes, eggplant and peppers
Budino di Ricotta 6.99
Ricotta pudding studded with chocolate, raisins, lemon and candied orange
Cirò Bianco, Librandi, 2010
Librandi is located in Cirò Marina, a small town in the southern part of Calabria, on the beautiful Ionian coastline. Cirò Bianco is a wonderfully aromatic and refreshing dry white wine crafted from 100% estate grown Greco Bianco grapes. It is lively and crisp with aromas and flavors of almonds and citrus and is a delightful pairing with the Ravioli and Involtino.$5 half glass $9 glass $35 bottle
Gaglioppo, Statti, 2010
Produced from an obscure ancient varietal with Greek origins, the Gaglioppo grape is the region's most prominent. This bright, medium-bodied dry red is cultivated along the Tyrrhenian Coast and is full of spice and ripe berry aromas and flavors. It has great balance, vibrant flavors and a long-lasting finish which make it a lovely pairing with the Maccarruni and Carni.$6 half glass $11 glass $42 bottle
Born in Vibo Valentia in the region of Calabria, Bruno was inspired by his mother's cooking. He recalls the fresh ingredients she insisted on using to make each of their meals: pecorino, garlic, capers, olives, eggplant and seafood caught that day. His mother was very classic in her cooking but Bruno would describe himself as being more contemporary and eager to experiment. As a lover of pasta, he is excited by being creative and combining flavors that surprise and please his guests.
Bruno's career started with a solid culinary education from Scuola Alberghiera C.I.S.O. Calabria. He spent 20 years cooking in Italy before coming to the United States. Starting off in Indianapolis, he ventured farther west to the sunny shores of San Diego and after several years joined our Il Fornaio team in Reston, Virginia. He is now the Chef of our restaurant in downtown Sacramento and is delighted to bring the heart of Calabrian cooking to you tonight.
"What makes the food of Calabria stand out is that it is the spiciest food in Italy," Amato explains. The leg of lamb, Carni Arrostuta, and the side of spicy vegetables, are typical Calabrian dishes. And while the flavors of this region are very lively, the food is still quite simple.
"You will find lots of involtini ("bundled") food in Calabria, an inexpensive way to dress up simple food. Involtino di Spada (swordfish rolled with caciocavallo cheese and seasoned bread crumbs and saute'ed in extra-virgin olive oil) is a wonderful example of this elaborate yet economical style.
"End your meal with Budino di Ricotta (ricotta pudding with chocolate pieces, raisins, lemon and candied orange). The sweetness of this dessert is the perfect end to a Calabrian meal." Buon Appetito!
The cuisine is a typical southern Italian Mediterranean cuisine with a balance between meat-based dishes (pork, lamb, goat), vegetables (especially eggplant) and fish.
In contrast to some other Italian regions, Calabrians have traditionally placed an emphasis on the preservation of their culinary traditions, in part because of the climate and potential crop failures.
Because grazing land is so scarce, there are few cheeses, but one stands out and is used profusely: caciocavallo (KAH'-cho ka-VAHL'-loh). The name refers to the shape of this mild cheese, as balls of the newly made cheese are tied to either end of a string to age, as if they could be slung over a horse (cacio=cheese, cavallo=horse).
The surrounding seas contribute greatly to an otherwise restricted diet. Swordfish are caught in large numbers from March to July in the Strait of Messina as they migrate. Calabrians do not go for rich desserts, and wine production is small. The best known DOC wines are Cirò (Province of Crotone) and Gaglioppo both of which are featured on this menu. Many wine producers are resurrecting local, ancient grape varieties which have been around for as long as 3000 years. Calabrians do, however, love spicy food and prefer wines that match this flavorful cuisine.