The Joys of Andrea Frizzi and Il Posto
April 25, 2012 • Desserts,
I confess – I’ve got a bit of a foodie crush on Andrea Frizzi of Il Posto. But can you blame me? He’s Italian, for starters, and you all know how I feel about all things Italian. But it’s more than that. He just always seems happy and ready to please his guests. He greets you at the door with a big Buona Sera! when you arrive for dinner, and proceeds to bustle around his restaurant making sure everything is to his (and your) liking. The icing on the cake for me is that he also generously gave of his time to cook tableside for my group of ten at last month’s Share Our Strength Colorado Chefs Up Front dinner.As it turns out, I actually forgot my camera last night in my stress and worry about having to give a little speech during the event. I’ve done public speaking before – I spent 25 years in corporate America before leaving to follow my inner foodie. But the audience was packed with some heavies this time – Tom Nelson, the new President and COO of Share Our Strength; Summer Gathercole, the new Colorado State Director for SOS; representatives from Governor Hickenlooper’s office; 35 of the top chefs in the state; and last but not least, a bunch of my friends. Fortunately I just ate at Il Posto a couple of weeks ago so can share with you some pics from that dinner and I’ll just fill you in on what we had at the CUF dinner. First up in the restaurant is good, chewy bread with high quality olive oil to dip it in. I try to stay clear from filling up on bread when I eat out, but this crust was irresistible.If I ever see burrata on a menu, I order it. It’s my favorite cheese from my trips to the cooking school in Italy. And at Il Posto, rounding out the appetizer portion of the evening with the Tagliere, a spread of cured meats (Culatello, Mortadella, and Sopressata) paired with cheeses (Piave, Taleggio, and Spressa), was the perfect way to start.I don’t know about you, but when I eat out with friends I like to order lots of things to share. So we started with two pasta dishes – Pappardelle with Bolognese and Gnocchi……and then moved right into the Risotto Milanese. Chef Frizzi is originally from Milan, and risotto is something he really does well. It’s creamy and loose the way it should be, without the cheating of adding cream or butter. And with just the right al dente crunch – yum.We also split two entrees between the four of us – the burrata stuffed chicken on a bed of sauteed mushrooms and the lamp chops with foie gras on top. Both were delicious, but frankly our ambitions were bigger than our bellies and we couldn’t finish everything entirely.Plus, we needed to save room for dessert, as we were celebrating my friend’s first big night out to dinner after working her way through recovery after a difficult surgery. The chocolate decadence was on the house, and the semifreddo is what we ordered. Both were yummy, the the semifreddo was particularly unusual and interesting.For the Chefs Up Front Dinner, our friend really outdid himself:
Cona di Zuppa: San Marzano Soup “Alla Nuvola” and “Cornetto” – a room temperature foamy tomato soup served in a little bite sized bowl that seemed like a thin waffle.
Terrina di Marinata di Pesce: Terrine of Pickled “Frutti di Mare”, Two Layers of Vellutata “Hot and Cold”, Squid Ink Shave – really unusual, really delicious, served with a small puree of green pepper topped with some roe and a small puree of yellow beets.
Risotto E Croccante di Zafferano: Leeks Risotto and “Saffron Brittle”, Pea Sprouts – I thought this sounded weird when I read it, using a sweet, candy-like piece of brittle on top of the risotto, but when you broke this into tiny pieces and let it melt into the risotto, it was an incredible pairing.
Pallone di Quaglia: Quali “Balloon”, Cauliflower Mash, Pancetta Chips – just the right sized bite of quail over a chunky cauliflower mash.
Torta di Carote Della Mamma: Frizzi lost his mom this past year, and serving her signature carrot cake recipe was a sort of tribute to her – not to mention it was so moist and lovely that our group snuck seconds off the table while Chef was putting his supplies into his car. He was kind enough to share the recipe with me to share with all of you – hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
- 3 eggs yolks
- 300 grams sugar (a little more than 1½ cups)
- 100 grams soft butter (about 7 tablespoons)
- 150 grams grounded almonds (just under a cup)
- Touch of grappa or rum
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 teaspoon of dry yeast
- Pinch of salt
- 3 eggs white, whipped until firm meringue
- 500 grams grated carrots, squeezed dry in cheese cloth (about 1 pound)
- 200 grams all purpose flour (just under 1½ cups)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Whisk the eggs yolks with sugar until triple the volume, then add one at the time, butter, almonds, grappa or rum, lemon zest, yeast, and salt. Fold in the egg white meringue.
- Combine flour and carrots together and stir into batter gently. Pour into a cake pan that has been buttered and dusted with flour and bake for 45 minutes.
- Serve with a good amount of dusted powder sugar.
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