of a childhood
spent in Puglia
and a passion for
cooking are the twin
inspirations for this
menu. Giuseppe DiMola,
a native of the region,
attended culinary school
near the small seaside
town of Monopoli where
he grew up. Giuseppe's
talent eventually led him to America but not before he
perfected his skills in a variety of kitchens throughout Italy
But even after more than 30 years of experience in the
kitchen, Giuseppe has never forgotten his initial inspiration
for becoming a chef. Many of the dishes on tonight's menu
were inspired by long-held traditional family recipes.
"I thought of my grandmother, her
recipes, and growing up in Puglia
when we created this menu"
Giuseppe explains. "My grandmother
made sure to utilize all of the fresh
ingredients in our town – seafood
caught in the morning, grapes and
olives picked that day, and beans,
tomatoes and vegetables my mother
would select from the local market."
Giuseppe says: "I've incorporated a few of my 'family
secrets,' so you can enjoy food more similar to the food I
grew up with than typically found in Italian restaurants here
in the United States. From Puglia via Il Fornaio, Italian food
doesn't get more authentic than this."
Olives, bread and wine
are the three pillars of the
Apulian diet. Each province of Puglia has developed its own
style of cooking, but there are many similarities: pleasant
spirit, subtle seasonings and traditional dishes inspired by
an ancient civilization. You’ll find those subtle seasonings
mark the dishes, accented with potatoes, asparagus, beans
Olive cultivation is one of the most important aspects of the
Apulian economy. The olive oil produced here is usually
extra-virgin and non-filtered, obtained by just squeezing
fresh olives plucked at a particular time in their ripening to
give them an unmistakable taste. Coratina della Puglia and
Ogliarola di Bari are the main types of olives.
The Penne (“tube” shaped) and Orecchiette ("little ear"
shaped) pastas found on tonight's menu are artisan pastas
imported from Puglia exclusively for Il Fornaio. Commonly
found in the region, they are created using traditional
methods without the use of industrial processes, enhancing
the quality and flavor.
Thanks to its variety of landscapes and richness of
historical and artistic heritage, Puglia can be considered as
sort of a "little Italy," as it incorporates
a wide variety of foods for