Pa’s Muleshine Cocktail

Gigi Bartender Mike Rosario with Pa's Muleshine CocktailGigi Head Bartender Mike Rosario put a lot of thought and care into this week’s featured cocktail. It’s our refreshing salute to the many hard-working Hudson Valley Father’s that maintain their yards, gardens, and properties on top of tending to their demanding professional schedules. PA’S MULESHINE is the perfect libation for any day, but it’s a particular ‘cin cin’ to dear ol’ Dad.

Pa’s Muleshine!

Makes 1 serving

  • 2 oz Moonshine
  • 1 oz fresh ginger beer
  • ¾ oz fresh lime juice
  • ½ ounce simple syrup
  • Lime slices for garnish
  • In a shake filled three quarters with ice, combine the Moonshine, ginger beer, lime juice and simple syrup. Shake vigorously. Strain into an ice filled mason jar with 3 to 4 lime slices.

Pa's Muleshine Cocktail at Gigi Trattoria

 

The Belmont Breeze

Belmont Breeze, by Gigi Trattoria’s Bar Maestro – Mike Rosario:

Makes 1 serving

  • 1 ½ oz Millbrook Bourbon
  • ½ oz sherry
  • Splash fresh lemon and orange juice
  • Topped off with a splash of club soda
  • Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled three quarters with ice. Shake vigorously then strain into ice filled Collins glass. Top with soda and enjoy!
The stakes are triple! Tonight enjoy Gigi Bar Maestro Mike Rosario’s BELMONT BREEZE  ½ oz sherry Splash fresh lemon and orange juice Topped off with splash club soda Combine all ingredients in a shaker filled three quarters with ice. Shake vigorously then strain into ice filled Collins glass. Top with soda and enjoy!

Belmont Breeze at Gigi Trattoria

Otto’s Market and Gigi Hudson Valley = A Tasty ‘Partnership’

Laura and OttoWe are thrilled to announce that you can now find Gigi Hudson Valley prepared foods in the deli case and along the shelves of Otto’s Market in Germantown. Otto and Laura have long discussed a collaboration that would extend Gigi brand delicacies to Otto shoppers and are thrilled to announce that the time has arrived.

With closing the Gigi retail space in Red Hook we have been able to shift the focus towards continuing the success of the flagship restaurant and expanding the flourishing farm to table catering business. This transition and re-focus has extended great advancements, while leaving many customers longing for the scrumptious Gigi offerings available in our former depot.  No longer  — Gigi dishes will be showcased in Otto’s deli and select grocery products will be a staple at Otto’s Market!

Gigi Hudson Valley at Otto's MarketAlong with all the delicious food that Sybille and Ken of Otto’s are already providing, the Gigi offerings will add a decidedly Mediterranean accent to a great menu, and include side dishes, fresh salads, and entrees like Gigi’s terrific lasagna and signature Skizzas™.

Gigi Balsamic Vinegar

 

In addition, Gigi has some amazing products that will be available in the grocery selections: olive oil and balsamic vinegar, salad dressings, plus delicious sauces ready to pour over pasta.  Laura’s cookbook, “Hudson Valley Mediterranean”, a resource to create perfect healthy and seasonal meals will now be found on Otto’s shelves.

Gigi offers catering big and small; from coordinating celebrations for 200 or more, to providing the dishes to compose small household gatherings, the Gigi team is eager to help with any size event. Otto’s market will carry Gigi’s catering menu and be help refer clients to the Gigi catering service that is right for them.

Everyone at Gigi Hudson Valley is excited and privileged to participate in this exciting collaboration with Otto’s Market.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Gigi’s “Enlightened Eggplant Parmesan” Recipe

Gigi Eggplant Parmesan

July’s hot and humid weather has tapered off into gorgeous August days, warm, sunny and just hot enough for Hudson Valley summer gardens to thrive. There are buckets of ripening tomatoes, zucchini, beans, melons and a Gigi favorite – eggplant. Eggplants are gorgeous plants with lovely leaves, delicate flowers and elegant vegetables ranging from a nearly black purple to a glowing white streaked with rose. This ‘food of the sun’ flourishes here, a living link to the great number of Italian immigrants who farmed this land throughout the last century making this ‘foreign’ food beloved and common. The last thirty years has seen the growth of Asian eggplant varieties, long and lighter in color with fewer seeds and perfectly amenable to stir fries and braises.

EggplantAt Gigi, we are loyal to the Italian varieties since we are all fanatics about eggplant Parmesan. In fact, there are few dishes the staff and I enjoy as much as a “plate of parm”.  This wasn’t always the case. It took a trip to Sicily to convince me to reconsider Eggplant Parmesan, a typically heavy dish relying overly on breading and cheese. But the Sicilian treatment uses a lighter hand and results in a deeply satisfying eggplant flavor. A perfect dish for the season. Salute! – Laura

Enlightened Eggplant Parmesan – Makes 8 Servings

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1¼ Cups Fresh Bread Crumbs
  • ¼ Cup Finely-Grated Fresh Parmesan Cheese
  • 4 Medium Eggplants – About 3 Pounds – cut Lengthwise into ¼- to ½-Inch-Thick Slices
  • 4 Tablespoons Olive Oil, Plus Additional for Brushing the Dish
  • Salt and Freshly-Ground Black Pepper
  • 2 Cups Gigi Pomodoro Sauce, or Your Homemade Recipe or Favorite Brand
  • 1¼ Cups Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
  • 1¼ Cups Shaved Parmesan or Grana Padano Cheese

INSTRUCTIONS:

Preheat the broiler.

In a small bowl, combine the bread crumbs and Parmesan. Set aside.

Brush the eggplant on both sides with the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper. Arrange them in a single layer on 2 liberally greased baking sheets (non-stick is best). Broil in batches, until the slices are tender, lightly browned, and softened, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool slightly.

Spoon ½ cup of the tomato sauce into the bottom of a lightly oiled 9x13x2-inch baking dish. Layer one third of the eggplant slices over the sauce, overlapping them slightly. Spoon ½ cup of sauce over the eggplant, spreading it evenly, and sprinkle with ½ cup each of the mozzarella and the shaved Parmesan. Top the cheese with another one third of the eggplant slices, another ½ cup of sauce, and ½ cup of each cheese. Top the cheese with the remaining one third of eggplant slices, ½ cup of sauce, and ¼ cup of each cheese.

Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in middle of the oven until sauce is bubbling, about 30 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over top, and continue to bake until the crumbs are golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy as an appetizer, side dish, or entrée.

Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce Recipe

Gigi Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce

Gigi Grilled Chicken with Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce.

Chef’s note: This blueberry maple version of Gigi Market’s barbecue sauce has a smoky, spicy kick to contrast the sweetness. We’re serving it on our specials with grilled chicken, pork and lamb at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and providing it retail at Gigi Market and Café in Red Hook throughout blueberry season.

Blueberry-Maple BBQ sauce – Makes 3 cups

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 Large Shallots, Minced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
  • ½ Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
  • 2 Pints Fresh Blueberries
  • 1/3 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 1 Cup Ketchup
  • 1/3 Cup Rice Wine or Sherry Vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 Teaspoon Salt

INSTRUCTIONS:

In a medium saucepan, cook the shallots over medium heat, stirring, until softened, two to three minutes. Add the spices and cook another 30 seconds. Turn the heat up to medium-high and stir in the blueberries. Partially cover to prevent splattering when the berries burst and continue cooking, stirring occasionally until they soften. Add the remaining ingredients and simmer, uncovered, until sauce is velvety and slightly thickened, about 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in butter and remove from heat.

 

Grilled Chicken

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (4- to 5-pound) Broiler Fryer Chicken, Cut Into Quarters or Eighths
  • Olive Oil to Drizzle
  • Salt and Freshly-Ground Pepper
  • Note: If using a charcoal grill, evenly distribute the hot charcoal to one side of the grill. If using a gas grill, turn one side to medium-high setting.

INSTRUCTIONS:

Lightly coat the chicken with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange the chicken pieces skin side down on the grill grate. Turn the chicken pieces a quarter turn every two to three minutes. Adjust the heat, if necessary, to prevent charring. Once the chicken is nicely grill-marked, move it to the cool side of the grill. The chicken, at this point, should roast in the high heat and not have direct contact with flame or hottest portion of grill. After about 20 minutes total cook time, check the temperature with an instant-read thermometer inserted in the deepest part of each piece. The pieces should reach 155 degrees Fahrenheit.

Now slather the chicken with the Blueberry-Maple BBQ Sauce and return to the heated portion of the grill to crisp. Do not leave over flame for too long, the sugar from the blueberries and syrup will caramelize quickly and could burn. Serve immediately with a side of extra sauce for slathering.

 

Gluten-Free at Gigi Hudson Valley

Gluten-Free Gnochetti at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck

Our Gluten-Free Gnochetti at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck.

Providing delicious options is what we do at Gigi Hudson Valley! While we’ve always offered flexibility and numerous vegetarian and vegan options in our menus, in 2007 we developed a gluten-free version of our popular Skizzas™.  Our guests have responded resoundingly! Just recently, Chef Wilson Costa ‘tweaked’ our gluten-free gnochetti, enjoyed by President Bill Clinton during his visit to Gigi Trattoria, so that they are as light and fluffy as any gnocchi anywhere!  Both are available with any of our toppings and/or sauces.

How do we do it? We take great care in training our culinary and service staff so that they not only understand how to present our farm-fresh fare, but also food intolerances and allergies. Part of our training program instructs our staff exactly how to communicate information to our guests and to each other (dining room to kitchen). With every seasonal menu change, our menu manuals, too, are updated – these revisions include phonetics of our menu items, ingredient lists of every offering, and especially important, designations that indicate whether the item is vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, and gluten-free.

National Celiac Awareness MonthNational support: We are now into our 3rd week of participation in “Chef to Plate”, a gluten-free restaurant awareness campaign (part of National Celiac Awareness Month). Our staff at Gigi Trattoria in Rhinebeck and Gigi Market in Red Hook have been trained by the Gluten Intolerance Group and our management team to provide safe options for our gluten free community.

Gluten-Free Skizza at Gigi Trattoria, Rhinebeck

Our Gluten-Free Skizza™, available at Gigi Trattoria and Gigi Market. Designated by green checkered underliner. Peroni not GF!

Some offerings on our gluten-free menus:  In addition to our crispy Skizzas™ (available at Gigi Trattoria, Gigi Market and kits for home), and sumptuous gnochetti; other items are available throughout our menus. Sautéed items that are typically flour dusted can be made without, and most of our sauces are natural reductions rather than flour-thickened. Our management team and your server are trained to guide you.

Gigi Flourless Chocolate Cake

Gigi Flourless Chocolate Cake

 

If sweets are on your mind, Gigi Pastry Chef Danielle Gill prepares an incredible flourless chocolate cake and cheesecakes without gluten-containing crusts. At Gigi Market some of our gluten-free products include moist and flavorful brownies from Rhinebeck’s own Sweet Girl, biscotti and rugelach from The Gluten-Free Bakery: Chatham, and Food for All kaiser rolls and loaves for our burgers and sandwiches.

Offering delicious Hudson Valley Mediterranean flavors is a joy to me and the whole Gigi Team. Doing it responsibly and safely is sacred. As a registered dietitian, I have long been involved with working with people, so that eating healthfully and safely is a delight, not a chore. Buon Appetito!

Laura

For more information on gluten intolerance, please visit http://gluten.net.

After a recent visit to Rhinebeck earlier this month, Maria wrote us this wonderful “Thank photo-mg2You” letter:

Dear Trattoria Gigi Team,

I was at your restaurant last Saturday. I was traveling with a person with celiac disease. We arrived from New York City to spend the weekend in your beautiful area.

Traveling with my friend is not easy. She has a very high intolerance to gluten. We did lots of research and saw that your restaurant was trained by the Gluten Intolerance Group (https://www.gluten.net/resturants/find-a-restaurant). This reassured her. It is always nerve wracking to trust some strangers when you know that can get badly sick after eating.

Your staff was very welcoming and knowledgeable. They made her feel at ease. It was my birthday, but we did not mentioned it. We had very nice food and great time. We had a salad and a skizza for dinner. The next day we wanted to visit your marketplace in Red Hook, but the hotel messed up with the wake up call. It means that we definitely need to go back to Rhineback.

Thank you so much for the lovely experience. You cannot imagine how something so simple and easy such as eating out can turn into a nightmare for somebody with celiac disease. You helped to make my day even more special. Keep up the good work!

Best,

Maria

 

Summer’s Rosé

Spring is here and so is the newest addition to the Gigi Wine List: La Grand Piece Rosé!  We are delighted to have this delicious rosé from Provence to offer to our valued customers by the glass and by the bottle.  It is the perfect wine for the warm weather that is finally touching the Hudson Valley.

La Grand Piece Rosé produced by Chateau La Coste a picturesque winery just north of Aix-en-Provence.  This 250 acre vineyard adheres to biodynamic principles, striving to preserve terroir, protect fertility and safeguard the essence of the soil.  At Chateau La Coste, they believe that this newest technology brings life to the old wine making traditions while ensuring the quality of the wine.  The result is a truly exceptional rosé. chateau la coste 2

No hard work goes without recognition and just sipping a glass of the La Grand Piece Rosé will show the effort and detail put into this wine making process.  This 2012 rosé is a blend of 75% Syrah, 20% Grenache and 5% Cinsault.  The nose is full of red berries and with a bit of floral notes.  La Grand Piece has an unquestionable crispness that makes it wonderfully refreshing.  Hints of strawberries and citrus leave your palate rejuvenated.  Drink this rosé with grilled vegetables, cheeses and light fish dishes.  We recommend enjoying a glass of this rosé with our Salmone with hearts of palm and fennel. rose photo 2

Not only are we excited to be basking in the warmth of spring at Gigi Trattoria but we thrilled it is rosé season again!  And what better way to celebrate spring then with Wine Wednesday at Gigi Trattoria.  La Grand Piece Rosé and all bottled wines are 30% off!  But at only $10 a glass and $30 a bottle, this rosé is a steal any day.  Come join us on the Gigi Patio and sip a little bit of Provence.

To learn more about this Rose click here or here.

Wine Wednesday – Zizzolo

What can be more festive than a ruby red wine?  From a 10 year old vineyard near the foothills of Castagneto Carducci in the region of Tuscany comes one of our new favorite reds on the Gigi Wine List.  Zizzolo from Bolgheri Wine Road is a beautiful blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Acquiring this outstanding Tuscan red has added some cheer to our holiday season and we are truly excited to present it to you.

What is so surprising about Zizzolo is that despite its DOC regulation, like many Bolgheri reds, it is considered nothing more than a table wine.  Bolgheri was barely on the wine map until 1974 when a six year old Sassiacia defeated an assortment of Bordeaux wines in a competition.  In 1983 the DOC was established here for whites and rosés.  Not until 1994 did Bolheri reds get recognized as DOCs.  And boy did they deserve the recognition!

Zizzolo falls under the DOC Bolgheri Rosso because it is made of 60% Merlot and 30% Cabernet.  The grapes macerate for 12 days using only natural yeast.  It is aged in barriques, or barrels and then again in the bottle for 12 months.  The result is an exquisite ruby-red color.  Zizzolo has round tannins and notes of fresh fruit especially darker berries.  And what may be the best feature of Zizzolo is that it pairs well with just about anything.  From our Pork Scalloppine to the Bigoli Col’Anitra with braised Hudson Valley duck & Wiltbank Farm oyster and shitake mushrooms, this wine can be enjoyed with many of our Trattoria specialties.  It is even wonderful on its own.

What makes Zizzolo so special is that there are only about 1,800 cases produced a year!  Here at Gigi Trattoria, we are grateful to have such an amazing wine at such an affordable price.  For only $45 Zizzolo is our holiday gift to you.  And if you come on Wine Wednesday, all of our wines are 30% off!  Happy Holidays from our bottle to your glass!

Want to learn more about Zizzolo, click here. To learn more about Bolgheri click here or here.

Wine Wednesday – Müller Thurgau

With the holidays right around the corner, Gigi Trattoria has a real gift for you. One of our best white wines is now on our glass list! The Müller Thurgau from Muri Gries is really a stellar wine. From Trentino Alto-Adige right near the Austrian border, this light to medium bodied wine is cultivated 500 meters above sea level. The vines are planted on calcareous till facing east-south and some are up to 30 years old. But the grape itself is much older.

Müller Thurgau is a variety of white grape created by Herman Müller in 1882. It is a cross between a Riesling with Madeleine Royale and is used to produce wines in many countries including Germany, Austria, the United States and of course, Northern Italy. It is considered one of the most widely planted grapes of the “new breed” variety.

The Muri Gries Müller Thurgau definitely makes the top of the list of wines produced with the Müller Thurgau grape. It has a delightful minerality with hints of flowers and citrus fruit. It has a young freshness that makes it beautiful as an aperitif or paired well with appetizers, fish and even lighter meat dishes. We recommend it with our mussels. Our mussels are from Prince Edward Island and most often served steamed in a broth of wine, garlic, red onions and tomato with just a hint of spice. The crispness and earthiness of the Müller Thurgau compliment the mussels while also refreshing the palate.

No matter what it is paired with, the Müller Thurgau from Muri Gries is a wine you cannot miss. It will only be on our glass list for a short period of time so hurry in to sample it. We will bet that you will be buying it by the bottle by your next visit.  If you come on a Wednesday, the Müller Thurgau and all of our bottle wines are 30% off.  And since it is the holidays and we are in a giving mood, a bottle is just $37 and a glass is $12.  Cheers!

Learn more about Müller Thurgau here and here.

Kohlrabi Remoulade

About Kohlrabi…
Mentioning Kohlrabi typically doesn’t often light up people’s faces, but this highly underated vegetable is enjoyed in dishes around globe. It also grows exceptionally well here in the Hudson Valley.  The literal translation means “cabbage turnip” in Germany and “ugly root” in Africa. It’s flavor is anything but “ugly” offering a blend of all the wonderful flavor profiles of its cruciferous vegetable family ( broccoli, turnip, cabbage, brussels sprouts, rutagaba), and it has all of the protective phytochemicals and antioxidants they share.

So what to do with this “alien” root?

Immediately get to the tender and delicous flesh under that tough protective exterior. There is a chewy fiberours layer under the hard outer skin, so be sure to peel thoroughly down to the crisp and moist flesh. Use a paring knife to trim ends, and then work down the hard outer body to delious edible portion using a vegetable peeler.

1) Raw: Using a madoline, sharp knife, or cheese grater, slice it very thinly or shred it and eat it raw. Enjoy it on a crudite plate with a dip or use it as you would cabbage by preparing a slaw.

2) Puree: Chop, boil and and puree it then enjoy with some olive oil or butter and seasoning. Pureed kohlrabi also blends with mashed potatoes, mashed root vegetables (kohlrabi and carrots is a personal favorite).

3) Roast: Chop or slice into “fries”, toss with a bit of olive oil, season with salt and peper, and then oven roast until caramelized and tender.

4) Add to soups, stews and braises:  Kohlrabi adds flavor and nutrients to any/all cold weather cooking. Chop it and add it to your favorite bubbling winter meal. Its flavor holds up well to intense seasoning, and it’s particulary good in curries or other full flavored dishes.

5) Gratins and “pies”and quiches: Slice thinly and layer into gratins or grate then saute (with or without other vegetables) to fill pies and quiches.

Here’s one of my favorite preparations, a rift on the classic celeriac remoulade, which is a perfect winter salad:

Kohlrabi Remoulade

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 medium, kohlrabi (about 1 ½ pounds)
1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Salt to season
3 tablespoons of good quality mayonnaise*
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon salt preserved capers, rinsed
Pinch cayenne pepper
Finely shredded parsley to garnish

Directions

Working quickly, trim the ends from the kohlrabi and peel. Cut into halves and finely grate using a cheese grater or a food processor fitted with the shredding blade. Transfer to a medium bowl and immediately toss with lemon juice to prevent browning. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, mustard, and garlic; season with salt and cayenne. Fold the mixture into the bowl with the kohlrabi. Serve immediately or allow to sit, refrigerated, in a nonreactive airtight container, for 2 hours and up to 2 days.

Variations:

Add: shredded apples and/or cornichons

 

Wine Weekly – Ribolla Gialla

As the weather gets cooler, many people seek warmth in a glass of red wine.  But for those of you that may not be fans of red or are open to variety, we have a cool weather white for you, Ribolla Gialla from Tenuta La Ponca.

Many may not know that the Ribolla grape from Italy actually originated in Greece and made its way to the Fruili region of Italy by way of Slovenia.  This grape almost did not survive the phylloxera epidemic in the 19th century because many farmers decided to plant French grapes after much of their Ribolla crop was destroyed.  But the Ribolla survived and by the 1990’s most of the white wines produced in Fruili were at least 1% Ribolla.

Not only is the long journey of the Ribolla what makes it a stand-up wine for November, but the crisp acidity, apple and pear aromas, and dry finish make it perfect to drink with food.  At Tenuta La Ponca, the Ribolla grapes are picked the last week of September.  They are then pressed and settle for 24 to 36 hours before they are fermented in stainless steel and then refined for 8 months on nobile dregs.  The result being a light to medium bodied white wine with a beautiful straw yellow color. Try the Ribolla Gialla with an appetizer such as the Verdure platter or enjoy it with the complex Pasta Intregale.  The fruit characteristics bring out the sweetness of the vegetables while the acidity refreshes the palate.  The Ribolla Gialla would even be a great wine to drink with turkey!

The Riboilla Gialla from Tenuta La Ponca has survived quite a journey in order to make it to the Gigi Trattoria wine list.  Now we challenge the Ribolla to survive the cold weather of the Hudson Valley and warm our wine-loving customers. For $42 a bottle, you cannot pass up trying this delicious wine.  Come by on Wednesday and the Ribolla Gialla and all bottles are 30% off!  That deal alone can warm the chill out of anyone.

Maple Pumpkin Polenta

Yesterday, Gigi Hudson Valley participated in a great event in support of Olana, the historic estate just outside Hudson. The fundraiser was entitled “Eat for Art’s Sake.” Each participating Hudson Valley eatery who volunteered their services, created a dish to be sampled at the gala, inspired by one of Frederick Church’s paintings (the artist who also built Olana in 1870.)

Gigi’s owner, Laura Pensiero,  chose “Clouds Over Olana”.

Inspired by the painting, Gigi Hudson Valley presented a Vegetable Hash over Maple Pumpkin Polenta. While the dish was not a literal interpretation of the painting, it served as inspiration, and it allowed Gigi HV to take advantage of great local and seasonal ingredients! As Laura noted, “It’s a very colorful plate that went with the back drop of the setting and  looked like a fall day. What we were trying to do was grab the season and bring that into the food, which this painting seemed to represent best.  We used Hudson Valley ingredients: New York State maple syrup and polenta from Wild Hive Farm and Store, in Clinton Corners,  with pumpkin from Mead Orchards, in Tivoli, as well as carrots, turnips. squash, and celery.”

We thought we would share the recipe for the Maple Pumpkin Polenta, enjoy!

Maple Pumpkin Polenta

This is among the most popular side dishes during the fall and winter months at Gigi Trattoria. The addition of pumpkin and maple syrup adds a seasonal and a festive hue to polenta. We buy ground cornmeal from Wild Hive Farm in nearby Clinton Corners. Any coarse grain cornmeal can substitute. Enjoy the slightly sweet notes balanced by a little spice from cayenne pepper.

Serves 4

1½ teaspoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 ¼ cups finely ground yellow cornmeal
1½ cups pumpkin puree (boiled,drained,and pureed or 100 percent natural canned pumpkin)
⅓ cup pure maple syrup
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1 tablespoon butter

Bring 4 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the salt and the olive oil, reduce the heat to simmer, and gradually whisk in the cornmeal, a small amount at a time, to prevent clumping. Reduce the heat to low and cook the polenta, stirring often, until tender and it is pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes. Stir in the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and cayenne and cook another minute or two, then remove from the heat and stir in the Parmigiano Reggiano and the butter. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve warm.

Nutrition: Polenta (cornmeal) is a whole grain. The pumpkin contributes enough beta-carotene to supply about 25 percent of your daily needs of vitamin A.

Note: This recipe can be found in the Gigi Good Food Cookbook, Hudson Valley Mediterranean.

Wine Weekly – Cerasuolo Rose

Last chance Rose!

Possibly the most loved time of year in the Hudson Valley is when the nights get cooler and the leaves change color.  Well that time is rapidly approaching but we still have some warm days ahead.  So before you put away your short shorts, have one last glass of rose.  At Gigi Trattoria we have just the rose for the end of summer!

First introduced early in the season you may already be familiar with the Marramiero Dama Montepulciano Cerasuolo Rose D’Abruzzo.  This rose is truly like no other with its rich cherry pink color and fragrant nose.  At first glance it resembles a glass of cranberry juice.  Subconsciously you may believe you are in for a burst of berry but there is way more flavor to experience here.  Hints of licorice and even a bit of floral, this rose is complex.  Aged for 12 months in stainless steel and 6 months in oak barrels the Cerasuolo Rose holds up well even to stews, cheeses and cured meats.  We recommend this ruby red wine with our Fiorino.

It’s no wonder that such an intense wine is highly regarded in the Italian wine world.  In order for a wine to receive the Denomination of Origin “Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo” it must be 85% Montepulciano grapes.  The Marramiero Dama Cerasuolo Rose is 100% Montepulciano grapes.  This gives it a dry quality that you expect more from a red wine, making it pleasant to drink even as the weather starts to get cooler.

Before you switch to big bodied red wines and heavy sweaters, come by Gigi Trattoria and experience the end of summer with a lovely glass of the Marramiero Dama Montepulciano Cerasuolo Rose D’Abruzzo.  $10 a glass or $32 a bottle, this wine is a steal!  And if you come in today or any Wednesday, all of our wines by the bottle are 30% off.  The weather man predicts sun and temperatures in the 80’s for the next few days.  What better way to celebrate then with a bottle of Cerasuolo Rose on the Gigi patio?!

Kale Two Ways

Tuscan kale, also known as Lacinato kale, Tuscan cabbage, Italian kale, Dinosaur kale, cavolo nero, and black kale, thrives during all three growing seasons of the Hudson Valley. It’s especially available during these steamy summer months, and we’re taking full advantage….  We present it to you direct from Migliorelli Farms in our retail cases at Gigi Market and throughout our menus in both locations.  I thought I’d give you two different approaches to enjoying it; cooked and raw.

Cooked Kale

Gigi ‘LACINATO’: Sautéed Kale with Towne & Country Sausage

This is a new lunch and dinner side at the Trattoria in Rhinebeck, and part of our new summer menu.  Enjoy this sautéed Italian black kale with Towne and Country spicy sausage or simply with garlic and Gigi extra-virgin olive oil.

Makes 2-3 servings

1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
4 ounces (about 2 links) Towne and Country spicy sausage, sliced or crumbled
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 ½ pounds Tuscan kale, stems removed and leaves chopped, then rinsed and spun
Salt
2 tablespoons white wine
1 cup water

Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the shallots, sausage, and red pepper flakes, and cook until the shallots and sausage just begin to brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and toss to combine. Stir in the kale and season with salt. Cook the kale, tossing or stirring to evenly wilt, then add the white wine and cook until fully evaporated. Add the water and cook until the kale is tender and the pan is almost dry, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and enjoy hot or at room temperature.

Click here to watch a brief video of this dish being made.

Raw Kale

Massaged Kale Salad

My friends (and Gigi devotees :)) Peter Amendola and Jerry Paglieri, shared this “massaged” raw kale salad with me, saying they often make it when entertaining and receive consistent raves from their guests. The acidity in the lemon juice “cooks” the thinly sliced kale making it tender and flavorful. Jerry became a fan when first trying Aati Sequeira’s recipe; as a confident cook he fined tuned it to his tastes and made it his own.

Makes 4 servings

1 large bunch Tuscan kale stalks removed and discarded, leaves thinly sliced
fresh juice of 1 lemon
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 teaspoons maple syrup or honey
freshly ground black pepper
2 ripe peaches or nectarines, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds

In large serving bowl, add the kale, half of lemon juice, a drizzle of oil and a little salt. Massage until the kale starts to soften and wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside while you make the dressing.

In a small bowl, whisk remaining lemon juice with the maple syrup and a healthy amount of freshly ground black pepper. Stream the olive oil into the bowl while whisking.

Pour the dressing over the kale, and add the peaches and pumpkin seeds. Toss and serve.

Enjoy!

-Laura