Saturday, April 30, 2016

A Five Course Homage to the awesomeness of Italian Preserved Tomatoes.

DATE: Thursday 28th 2015 - LOCATION: Osteria Balla, Stefano Manfredi's modern Italian restaurant - EVENT: Oro Rosso Luncheon, 5 Course Degustation Menu; with 5, that's FIVE of the best Italian chefs in Sydney. A best of the best of Italian cuisine, gastronomic talent and those unique Italian tomatoes flavours.
The incredible thing about 'today' is that each and every one of these five dishes makes use of preserved tomatoes, canned, with the only exception, Eugenio Maiale's use of semi dried cherry tomatoes from the Campagna region. As soon as we are seated and introduced ourselves to our fellow guests on table 8. I want to tell them about this fascinating book I once had on Italian regional produce it's history and and cooking; and the famous Neapolitan pizza chef in Napoli who only used tinned tomatoes for his pizza sauce. Why? Because it was better than using fresh and the tinned were always available; but the key point was, they were better, they were superior!
Oro Rosso Luncheon's Italian Chefs, Danny Russo, Gabriele Taddeucci, Giovanni Pilu, Eugenio Maiale, Francesco Spataro. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Sydney's top Italian Chefs, Danny Russo, Gabriele Taddeucci, Giovanni Pilu, Eugenio Maiale, Francesco Spataro.
So here we are, Vincenzo Prosperi of Vincenzo's Plate an Italian food-blogging channel, Michael a native of Rome, now a senior management for an Italian/Australian food importing and distribution company, Vivienne Shui from vivalaViv, and myself. It's two Italian's a Taiwanese/Chinese and an old-school Aussie who has learn't a little of food and if you already read this blog, know's a fair bit about passion and art and doing what you love. Well it will be no surprise to know that Food, Family, Friends (preferably combined), and passion and love for what you do (that's the real art by the way) was central to the conversation at this table.
My Menu  for the Oro Rosso Luncheon, 5 Course Degustation at Osteria Balla. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
A quick video on wonderful Italy before the Oro Rosso Luncheon, 5 Course Degustation at Osteria Balla. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
We kicked off with a Sicilian Pizzette on arrival, crisp and fluffy, rich tomato flavour mine with cheese and a wicked Tomato Negroni cocktail.
On arrrival at Osteria Balla, Francesco Spataro of Aperitvo's Pizzette Rositcceria Sicilian. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Pizzette Rosticceria Siciliana by Francesco Spataro of Aperitvo 
Burrata With Cherry Tomato by Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola and Besser. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Second course, Burrata With Cherry Tomato by Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola and Besser.
Delicious and nearly finished, Burrata con pomodorini of Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola and Besser.
Those semi-dried Italian Campagna region cherry tomatoes were a total explosion of flavour in the mouth the accompanying Burrata smooth and creamy.
Chef Giovanni Pilu speaks about his dish and using Italian ingredients.
Giovanni Pilu speaks about his dish and using Italian ingredients.
Serving Giovanni Pilu's Tortellini di pecorino in brodo di pomodoro con bottarga. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Third plate, Pecorino Tortellini, Tomato Broth and Bottarga by Giovanni Pilu of Pilu at Freshwater. 
Giovanni Pilu of Pilu at Freshwater's  Pecorino Tortellini, Tomato Broth and Bottarga. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
I was keen to see how this crushed tomatoes strained overnight - the strained juice becomes the broth - would taste. Surprisingly fresh with more complexity of flavour than I would have expected, must be those tomatoes. Together with those perfect Tortellini's, divine!
Guest Vivienne Shui with her dish of Steamed Mulloway With Spicy Lucariello Tomato. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
A perfect pairing, Vivienne with her Steamed Mulloway with Spicy Lucariello Tomato, the sauce uses tinned yellow tomatoes and the flavour is exquisite. On this dish the fresh tomatoes were local produce, the sauce's tomato a Sardinian variety; if I was listening correctly.
Steamed Mulloway With Spicy Lucariello Tomato by Gabriele Taddeucci of Osteria Balla Manfredi. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Fourth course, Steamed Mulloway with Spicy Lucariello Tomato by Gabriele Taddeucci of Osteria Balla Manfredi.
Annibale Pancrazio at BALLA, speaking on tinned tomato production in Italy and its positive impact on Australian cooking. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Annibale Pancrazio speaking at the Oro Rosso Luncheon.
Plating the Tomato Cannoli With Saffron Crème e Fiordilatte gelato by Danny Russo of Russonlini. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
All pictures and words © Kent Johnson 2016.
Tomato Cannoli With Saffron Crème e Fiordilatte gelato by Danny Russo of Russonlini
Desert, Tomato Cannoli With Saffron Crème e Fiordilatte gelato by Danny Russo of Russonlini.
I really didn't know what to expect from our fifth course here, and chef Danny Russo had joked that he had created the desert because no one else was game to do one with tomatoes! The flavours were amazing, sweet and subtle, delicious; and the crumbled green olive a perfect accent. The term sublime springs easily to mind.
Detail, Tomato Cannoli With Saffron Crème e Fiordilatte gelato by Danny Russo of Russonlini. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
Oro Rosso Luncheon's Italian Chefs, Danny Russo, Gabriele Taddeucci, Giovanni Pilu, Eugenio Maiale, Francesco Spataro flanked by Loredana Di Nunzio on the left and Vivienne Shui on the right. At Osteria Balla, Star Casino, Pyrmont. Photographed by Kent Johnson.
A huge thank you to our chefs who took us on this gastromic journey of the Italian preserved tomato and fine Italian cuisine, Gabriele Taddeucci, Head Chef at Osteria Balla Manfredi; Giovanni Pilu of Pilu at Freshwater; Eugenio Maiale of A Tavola; Francesco Spataro of Aperitivo; Danny Russo of Russolini; the Italian Trade Agency and CIRA, and everyone involved in this wonderful and very appetising degustation luncheon.
#ororossoluncheon
#italiansdoitbetter

Telling Stories in Pictures all over Sydney..
Kent Johnson, Sydney, Australia.
0433 796 863

All pictures and words © Kent Johnson 2016.
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