Gnocchi with Pomodoro San Marzano dell'Agro Sarnese Nocerino DOP
Porchetta roast with Tuscan fennel seeds, Calabrian peperoncino chili flakes, Italian sea salt and aromatic sage, Acciaroli dried rosemary and Abruzzo Red Sulmona garlic
Radicchio, arugula and apple salad with Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP, dressed with Ligurian Taggiasca extra-virgin olive oil and Modena balsamic vinegar
Clementine Ligurian olive oil cake and espresso crema
Phil Lago and Mystique Mattai, the husband and wife team behind the website chefsouschef.com (their Instagram is 15,000 strong), shop for, cook and serve only authentic Made in Italy products, from antipasti to aperitivi.
On their recent travels to Florence, Rome, Verona and Venice, Lago and Mattai discovered the love and respect that Italians have for food, which are evident in both fresh and packaged products. For example, tomatoes that are designated and labelled DOP (in English, PDO, or Protected Designation of Origin) are sweeter, with a richer flavour than non-designated varieties, says Lago.
The burrata is creamier, and the olive oils and vinegars, are superior in quality and purity, he adds.
“In Canada, we make a point to buy authentic Italian made because of the passion that is put in every product.”
Don't settle for imitations. Know these tips before you buy
Medium-bodied white wine with notes of honey and pear. Soave translates to “soft“ in Italian, which also allows it to be drunk as an aperitif. It marries well with the saltiness of cured meats, as well as complements the salad’s fruit and Parmigiano-Reggiano.
This versatile wine can be served from the start of the meal through to the end. It‘s fruity and a little spicy, but with floral notes and a smooth finish. To distinguish a true Chianti Classico DOCG, look for the Gallo Nero, the rooster that symbolizes the ancient Lega Militare del Chianti, on the label.
Medium-bodied wine with herbaceous, fruity notes and a slight mocha flavour. It pairs beautifully with roasts, especially those with some charring or caramelization. Although this red grape is grown across Puglia, its ideal habitat is in the Taranto Province, where it‘s used to make Primitivo di Manduria DOC and Primitivo di Manduria Dolce Naturale DOC, and also on the hills of Gioia del Colle.
Pour 1½ oz Aranciata in a champagne flute or aperitif glass. Top with 2½ oz Prosecco. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary and a clementine slice.
Preheat oven to 500F. Place fennel seeds and chili flakes in a skillet over medium heat. Toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Grind spices and mix in salt, sage, rosemary and garlic until combined.
Using a sharp knife, carefully separate the skin from the pork belly. Pound the skin with a meat tenderizer on both sides to loosen it and make it crisp up when roasted.
Score the inside of the pork belly in a 1-inch diamond pattern. Massage the spice mixture into the meat and all the scoring. Roll the belly tightly, then place it on the inside of the skin. Wrap the roast with the skin and trim (you only need a single layer around the roast). Tie crosswise with butcher twine at 1-inch intervals. Poke with a skewer all over, penetrating to the middle. Rub the outside of the skin with additional salt. Transfer to roasting pan.
Cook for 40–50 minutes, turning halfway through, until the skin is golden brown. Reduce heat to 300F and roast an additional 1½ to 2 hours, turning and basting every 30 minutes. Once the internal temperature reaches 145F, cook for another 2 hours. Remove the roast and tent with foil. Allow to rest for 20–30 minutes before serving.
with mascarpone frosting, rosemary clementines and pistachios
Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a saucepan, bring sugar, honey, water and rosemary to a boil, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add the clementine slices and reduce heat to a simmer, turning the slices until tender and syrup is reduced (40 minutes). Arrange slices in a single layer on a prepared baking sheet. Strain syrup and place in a jar to use for the cake.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease a 10-inch cake pan with a knob of butter and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Sift together the flours, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, whisk melted butter with olive oil.
Place eggs, sugar and clementine zest in the bowl of a stand mixer. Mix on high until pale and thickened (3 minutes). Lower mixer speed and alternate adding the dry and wet ingredients, starting and finishing with the dry. When batter is mixed, pour it into the cake pan. Bake for 40–45 minutes, until golden brown.
Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a skewer. Pour 1 cup of the reserved clementine syrup on top of the cake. Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to a cake stand.
Place mascarpone, confectioner’s sugar, clementine zest and juice in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Dollop frosting in the centre of the cake, spreading evenly toward the edges. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios.Top with candied clementine slices.