Turkey Tetrazzini with Fontina, Mushrooms & Radicchio

This delicious casserole makes good use of Thanksgiving’s lingering bounty.  Enjoy it immediately or prepare in advance and re-heat at 350 for 30 minutes before serving. It’s just as good, if not better, the day after.

Makes 4 to 6 servings

2 tablespoons butter, plus 2 teaspoons to grease casserole dish
3/4 cup coarse dry breadcrumbs
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan (preferably Grana Padano or Parmigiano Reggiano)
1 pound Wiltbank Farm shitake and oyster mushrooms*, cleaned and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick
¼ cup dry white wine
1 radicchio head, halved, cored and cut into thin ribbons
4 fresh sage leaves, chopped
2 medium shallots, diced
½ cup all-purpose flour
6 cups low-fat milk
1 ½ cups (4 ounces) diced Fontina cheese**
8 ounces egg pappardelle pasta
3 cups shredded or diced roast turkey

*Substitute any fresh mushroom of your choice if not available.
**Substitute grated cheddar or Gruyere if desired.

Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

Butter a 3-quart casserole.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. In a small bowl, mix the breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and Parmesan. Set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, and cook, tossing or stirring often, until softened and just beginning to brown, about 8 minutes. Pour in the white wine and reduce completely. Add the radicchio and sage and cook just long enough to wilt the radicchio, 1 or 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring, until they soften, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the the flour and whisk constantly until fully blended into the butter. Gradually whisk in enough of the milk to form a thick, smooth paste. Whisk in the remaining milk in a steady stream. Season with salt and pepper, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes, whisking constantly. Turn off the heat and stir in the Fontina. Taste, then and season with more salt and pepper if desired. Set aside.

Cook the pasta in the boiling water until al dente according to package instructions. Drain and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Gently stir in the turkey, mushroom and radicchio mixture. Pour in the sauce and mix until just combined. Transfer to the buttered casserole, shaking the pan gently to evenly distribute pasta.

Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the pasta. Bake until bubbly and golden brown, 50 to 60 minutes. Let rest slightly 10 to 20 minutes. The casserole will firm up slightly and will the perfect temperature to serve.

 

Fregola Stuffing with Dried Fruit and Sage

This version of Thanksgiving stuffing uses the native Sardinian “pasta” called Fregola. This toasty larger grain cousin of couscous offers a pleasing blend of flavors, textures and colors, and, when combined with traditional stuffing seasonings, it has flavor to match but much less fat and more nutrients than traditional bread stuffing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1 1/2 cups *Fregola
1 1/2 quarts chicken stock or canned, low-sodium broth (vegetable stock or broth may be substituted)
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, minced or thinly sliced
1 medium carrot, peeled, diced
1 celery stalk, sliced thinly
1/3 cup mixed dried fruit (any combination of apricots, seedless raisins, currants, cranberries or prunes cut into small pieces)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ cup dry white wine
¼ cup grated Grana Padano or Parmesan
Salt and freshly grated pepper to season.

In a large pot, bring the stock or broth to a boil.  Add the salt and the fregola, stir and cook until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid, then drain the cooked fregola into a colander.

While the fregola cooks, in a large non-stick skillet, heat butter and olive oil over medium-high heat until hot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened and fragrant, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the dried fruit, sage, coriander, and cumin; cook, stirring, another 1 to 2 minutes, then add the white wine, simmering until fully reduced. Now add  the fregola, stirring or tossing to combine. Add the reserved cooking broth, which will quickly come to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the Parmesan, and stir to combine.  Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper if necessary. Enjoy hot or let cool to stuff your turkey, Cornish hen or favorite “roulade”.

*Fergola is a semolina grain (resembling large couscous) that is a good source of protein and fiber.  It can be found in gourmet and Italian specialty markets.  In Italy, Fregola is used like barley is here, in soups and stews.  It is also served on its own, sauced like pasta.

Makes six servings.

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.

Wine Weekly – Barbaresco, Beni di Batasiolo

Considered one of the greatest wines of Italy’s Northwestern region, Barbaresco made from Nebbiolo grapes is held with very high regard.  That is why Gigi Trattoria carries one of the best.  Barbaresco, Beni di Batasiolo is aged for 10 days in stainless steel to allow the skins to ferment and then continues its aging for one year in oak casks and another in the bottle.  This process makes for a full-bodied wine with spicy oak, chewy tannins and hints of cherry and blackberry.  There is even a bit of cinnamon on the palate, making it a perfect wine for a brisk autumn night!

From a small village overlooking the Tanaro River, Batasiolo winery creates this 100% Nebbiolo wine.  The Nebbiolo grape, in case you are unfamiliar with it, is a black-skinned red wine grape that is the star of both Barbareso and Barolo.  These are two of Italy’s most acclaimed red wines.  Originally, Barbaresco was Barolo or Nebbiolo with Moscatello and Passeretta grapes added to it for a touch of effervescence and hint of sweetness.  It was not until the 19th century that Barbaresco was vinified for a dry style.  The result being a competitor or brother for Barolo.  Like any good set of siblings, there are many differences between Barolo and Barbaresco.  Barbaresco has a slightly warmer, dryer and milder climate, which causes the grapes to ripen quicker and makes for a less tannic wine.  Still the age and acidity of Barbaresco will please any avid red wine drinker but will be slightly more approachable.

Not that there is a specific season for drinking red wine, but if there were, having a glass of Barbaresco, Beni di Batasiolo on a cold fall night with the smell of spices in the air and the warmth of company, sounds pretty perfect.  That is why we want to offer that comfort to you!  Come into Gigi Trattoria to experience a once in a lifetime chance to have our Barbaresco by the glass for only $15!  A bottle goes for $95 but if you come on Wine Wednesday, this delicious wine and all bottles are 30% off.  Hurry, before the wine runs out!

Learn more about Barbaresco wine here and here.

Wine Weekly – Sagrantino di Montefalco Pozzo del Curato

While rummaging through the Gigi Trattoria wine room, we noticed that one amazing wine doesn’t seem to be getting the attention it deserves.  We want to introduce this delicious wine in hopes that you will come try it and like it as much as we do!

Three hundred and seventy one meters above sea level in Bevagna is the beautiful Villa Mongalli.  At this Villa in Umbria, the powerful Sagrantino di Montefalco Pozzo del Curato was created.  At Villa Mongalli, wines are produced only with grapes grown in the company.  At the first stage of wine-making, each grape variety is vinified separately.  The 2004 Sagrantino di Montefalco is organic and made with 100% Sagrantino grapes.  With flavors of blackberry and licorice, this red wine is elegant and energetic.  Hints of floral and strong tannins make this wine elaborate and flavorful. It holds up to many different dishes.  We recommend it with our Mama Skizza (20% off if you check in on Yelp, Facebook or Foursquare) or our very popular Pork Scalloppine served with Lacinato Kale & Shaved Parmesan.

This wine is truly not one to miss.  We feel so strongly about this that if you come into Gigi Trattoria from now through this weekend and inquire with your server or bartender about the Villa Mongalli Sagrantino you will get 10% off your bottle!  And if you come in on Wednesday, all of our bottle wines are 30% off!  Not only should you not miss any of these great deals at Gigi but you really should not miss trying this exceptional wine.

Wine Weekly – Best Wines to Pair With Our Skizzas!

As many of you may know, Gigi has won the Best of the Hudson Valley award for Best Pizza!  We are so thrilled with this honor that we are offering 20% off our Skizzas Monday-Thursday for the next two weeks if you check-in at Gigi Trattoria on Facebook, Yelp or Foursquare.  Gigi not only wants to give you a great deal but we also want you to get the most from your Skizza experience.  So for this week’s Wine Weekly blog, we are going to let you know just what wines go best with our award-winning Skizzas!

Whether you take our word for one of these delicious pairings, or chose your own, be sure to check in on Yelp, Facebook or Foursquare to get 20% off our Skizzas, Monday-Thursday.  If you come in on Wednesday, all our or bottles of wine are 30% off!  Now that is quite a pairing!

Let’s begin with the Margherita Skizza.  Simple yet satisfying.  Our infamous thin crust is topped with Gigi Tomato Sauce, a blend of mozzarella, swiss & provolone cheese and finished with fragrant fresh basil and a touch of dried oregano.  A wine to pair with such perfect simplicity must be bold yet refreshing.  The Evodia Grenache from Cataluyd, Spain is just that.  The minerality enhances the earthiness of the herbs while hints of black cherry and raspberry add a new depth of sweetness to tomato sauce.  For only $8 a glass and $25 a bottle, you will be making the Evodia-Margherita pairing your new “go-to” in no time!

For meat lover’s there is no Skizza better than the Mamma.  Tangy Gigi Tomato Sauce topped with plenty of cheese and thin slices of robust fennel salami and Tuscan-style porchetta make for a fulfilling 10” of flavor.  To hold up to such a powerful Skizza, you need a wine that delivers.  The Altos de la Hoya Monastrell is just that.  Firm tannins, minerality and a hint of spice in this Spanish wine make it strong enough to pair with the heartiness of the Mama while hints of dark berry and red fruit make the Monastrell well-balanced.  This 92% Monastrell and 8% Garnacha is $10 a glass and $26 a bottle, an affordable pairing for an irresistible Skizza.

Seasonality is important at Gigi Trattoria and we are showcasing the flavors of fall with our Zucca Skizza.  Creamy Delicata squash “pesto” is topped with Coach Farm Fig Goat Cheese, thinly sliced coppa and crispy fried sage leaves.  This Skizza is a delicate balance of sweet and savory with a hint of spice from the coppa.  Either of the red wines mentioned above pair nicely with this Skizza but we believe the best pairing for the Zucca is the admired Lugana Limne.  The refined bouquet compliments the crispy sage while the subtle fruit accents bring out the flavor of the squash and hint of fig.  The Lugana can be paired with any Skizza or sipped on its own for just $10 a glass and $33 a bottle.

Last but not least is one of our most popular pairings, the Bianca Skizza with the Gavi.  Loved by staff and customers alike, nothing beats a warm Bianca with a crisp glass of Gavi.  If you are not familiar with the Bianca, it is our traditional crust topped with Gigi Fig Jam, creamy Coach Farm Goat Cheese, shaved pear, Sky Farm arugula and finished with white truffle oil.  To go with such a complex Skizza, you need a quality wine.  The Stefano Massone’s Vigneto Masera Gavi made from 100% Cortese grapes brings out the flavor of pear and fig.  The citrus notes of the Gavi cut the richness of the goat cheese resulting in a clean palate.  If you don’t already know the Gavi is $10 a glass and $30 a bottle, a steal for such an excellent wine.

Whether you take our word for one of these delicious pairings, or chose your own, be sure to check in on Yelp, Facebook or Foursquare to get 20% off our Skizzas, Monday-Thursday.  If you come in on Wednesday, all our or bottles of wine are 30% off!  Now that is quite a pairing!

 

Staff Spotlight – Brandon Cole

Brandon Cole is the guy who does it all at Gigi Hudson Valley, he’s truly among our MVPs. He bounces between the Trattoria, the Market and catered events, sometimes all within a given day! He began his Gigi ‘career’ 6 years ago at the age of 15 when he started bussing tables at the Trattoria. From that position he moved up to food runner, learning the ins and outs of kitchen timing and etiquette from Chef Wilson Costa. Today, Brandon is skilled in just about every position at every one of our businesses, both front and back of house.

I travel from site to site and inevitably I see Brandon. He is kind of like “Where’s Waldo?”  First I see him at Gigi Market making 600 Skizza shells. Then I head to the Trattoria, and there he is! He is crisp, tailored, and professional,  bringing your favorite dish to the table. Rounding out his skills, as a certified “gear head” he’s one of the few that is entrusted with driving our 40 foot catering/food truck and trailer from location to location. So how does a guy that does all this relax? By biking 75-100 miles a week and hunting and fishing with boyhood friends.

Brandon was born and raised in Red Hook, NY, and his passion for Italian cooking goes deep.  His grandfather Frank Chiarella, who emigrated to NY from northern Italy as a young boy, owned a restaurant named Frank’s in Valatie, NY during the mid-70s. During our conversations Brandon told me that he, “always wanted to be chef.” It’s not really fair to interview Mom, but since I know her…(sorry Brandon 🙂 ) she offered up that baked cookies would be waiting for her at home when Brandon had a snow day from school. When I asked Brandon if he likes to cook at home now he said, “Yes, but I’m around food so much, I don’t cook that much at home anymore.”  Yet, he says when he purchases his first home, the kitchen will be a top priority. He definitely has the passion. But that passion is shared with one for law enforcement. Brandon’s father spent much of his career on the local police force and Brandon plans to follow in his footsteps – becoming a NYS Trooper.

Whatever his future plans are, those of us who have watched him grow, learn, and mature know that he will be a successful and valuable asset to any who are lucky enough to work with him.

Wine Weekly – La Corte Primitivo

Exciting news from the Gigi Trattoria wine list!  Starting this week the delicious and affordable La Corte Primitivo will be featured as one of our wines availble by the glass or by the bottle.  If you are not familiar with this Italian red, keep reading.  And if you are, you will be a La Corte Primitivo expert by the next time you order a glass.

In the heel of Italy’s boot, not far from Lecce is the La Corte estate.  La Corte focuses on old vine versions of Primitivo and Negroamaro producing 328,000 bottles a year.  The winemaker Giuseppe Caragnulo has been producing wine at La Corte for over 20 years but the estate did not become popular until 1998.

Both wines from La Corte are fruit-driven.  The La Corte Primitivo is aged more than a year in oak, has refined tannins and a balanced structure.  It has notes of blackberry, strawberry and peppercorn but finishes like raw cherry.  The balance of the Primitivo  makes it a beautiful wine to drink on its own.

We recommend sampling the Primitivo with our Verdure or Margarita Skizza.  The fruit characteristics of the La Corte Primitivo and the light tannins pair nicely with the simplicity of the Skizza.  And for only $10 a glass or $24 a bottle, this will quickly become one of your go-to wines.  Don’t forget that if you come in on Wednesday, all our bottles of wine are 30% off!  Come in and try our newest edition to our glass wine list and sip a taste of Puglia.

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?!

Wine Weekly – Melissa Rosso Mutro

This week, we are going to share some information about Greek and Italian wines from the “toe” region of Italy.  How are these related you may ask? Well, the region of Calabria is  where ancient Greeks cultivated their first wine-bearing vines.  And the connection between ancient Greeks wines and Gigi Trattoria?  One of our favorite red wines;  the Melissa Rosso Mutro.

In the dry, rugged Central Ionian coast of Calabria, the Mutro was born. Made of 75% Galioppo and 25% Greco Nero, this red wine is medium bodied and earthy.  It also has flavors of strawberry, blackberry, cherry and even a hint of chocolate, making this wine delicious on its own or with food.  The name
Mutro comes from the name of the ancient hunting area where Kings would
shoot wild boar. This seems very appropriate since the Mutro pairs
wonderfully with meat.  Enjoy it with our Pork Scallopine or the Tagliatelle
Berta.  The hint of berry adds a fruity balance to the richness of both
these dishes.

It’s only natural that such a great wine would come from a region of Italy once called Magna Grecia or “Great Greece.”  The Greeks can take credit for much of the foundation of the vinification of this region.  Many of the wines founded here wound up surpassing those that were being made in Greece. The Melissa DOC however is a younger region only dating back to 1979.  It means “sweet” which is a juxtaposition of the Ciro DOC, the other major wine
producing region in the area.  The Melissa region is divided from the Ciro region by only 6 miles, making for quite the competition between the two.

The Melissa Rosso Mutro does not have much competition here at Gigi Trattoria.  It is the only wine we carry from Calabria, and one of the gems of our wine list.  And if you come in on Wednesday, all of our bottled wines are 30% off.  Bonus! We bet you will be praising the Greek God’s once you have tried the Mutro.

Learn more about this wine and where it is made here, here, and here.

Wine Weekly – Gavi

In Piemonte, Gavi ranks as one of the most enjoyable white wines.  This seems to follow suit at Gigi Trattoria as Stefano Massone’s Vigneto Masera Gavi is definitely a best seller on our wine list.  It wouldn’t surprise any of our avid Gavi drinkers to know that Massone only grows a single grape varietal, the Cortese grape used to make Gavi.  This close attention to detail ensures no compromises are made when creating the Vigneti Masera Gavi. 

At Massone’s estate, quality comes first.  Both of Massone’s Gavi vineyards are grown organically with no use of herbicides, pesticides, fertilizers or systemic chemicals.  Rows of vines are sown with a ground cover which is either tilled or mown and yields are kept very low to assure ripeness.  Sulfite usage is kept to a minimum as well.  Massone takes extreme pride and care when growing the Cortese grapes.

The result of Massone’s delicate touch and organic growing is a lively wine that is definitely a crowd pleaser.  The Gavi is similar to a white Burgundy with ripe fruit but also a clean minerality.  Pear and citrus notes create a lovely nose and an excellent crispness.  This 100% Cortese wine is aged in oak barrels giving it another layer of depth.  We recommend drinking this wine on its own or paired with the Salmone as the citrus of the wine brings out the sweetness of the fish and the minerality balances the saltiness of the olives in the salad. 

It will only take one sip of the Gavi and you will understand why Paul Massone takes so much time caring for his vineyard.  This balanced white is sure to be your “go to” wine if it isn’t already.  For just $10 a glass and $30 a bottle, you cannot find a better deal especialyl on Wednesdays when the Gavi and all our bottled wines are 30% off!

Learn more about Gavi here.

Wine Weekly – Sparkling Wine

Some people think that bubbly is only for celebrations, but we think every day at Gigi is a celebration, especially when we have affordable and tasty sparkling wines on our menu! 

Our Segura Viudas Cava and our Gama Prosecco are two of our best selling wines by the glass.  We find, however, that customers are either Cava drinkers or Prosecco drinkers.  The fact of the matter is Cava and Prosecco are so different that one really doesn’t substitute for the other.  Both are delicious bubbly wines, but each is unique in its own way.

Prosecco is the white grape variety (Glera) that generally is used to make dry or extra dry sparkling wines.  DOC prosecco is produced in the regions of Veneto or Friuli Venezia Guilia, and traditionally in the areas of Conegliano and Valdobbiadene.   Up until the 1960’s prosecco was unbearably sweet.  But with some improvement in production, prosecco has become a popular sparkling wine.  Unlike Champagne or Cava, prosecco is produced using the Charmat method where the secondary fermentation takes place in stainless steel tanks.  It has about 11-12% alcohol content.  Prosecco is the main ingredient in a Bellini since its peach and apricot characteristics are enhanced by peach nectar.  On its own or with food such as the HV cheese plate, prosecco is best enjoyed chilled and in a flute.  It even pairs well with a lighter dessert!

The most distinguishable difference between prosecco and cava (other than the fact that one is Italian and one is Spanish) is the way the wine is produced.  Cava, like champagne, is produced using the traditional method where the 2nd fermentation occurs in the bottle.  Yeast and sugar are added to the base wine for fizz and a 1-1.5% increase in alcohol.   The sediment of the dry yeast gives this wine a bit of a savory flavor.  Also unlike prosecco, cava is named for the type of wine not the grape.  It is produced mostly from Penedes near Barcelona.  The majority of cava is made with Macabea, Parellada, Xarel-lo grape varieties.  Recently even some Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes have made their way into cava.  With its outstanding effervescence, cava holds up to even richer dishes and actually is a refreshing accompaniment to our Tuscan Fries. 

Next time you are in the mood for a celebration, stop by Gigi Trattoria for a little bubbly.  We recommend sampling the Gama Prosecco next to the Segura Viudas Cava and deciding which one is your favorite.  We would love to hear your feedback!  And if you are in on a Wednesday, whichever bubbles you chose will be 30% off by the bottle!  Now that is something to celebrate.

Learn more about Segura Viudas Cava here.

Learn more about Gama Prosecco here.

T.G.I.F. Cocktail – Chili Cantelupo

It’s August and we are finally getting to enjoy ripe, sun-soaked cantaloupe…wonderful on it’s own but known for being highly versatile (think of the classic cantaloupe and prosciutto combination.) It’s so highly versatile, that it takes well to other many herbs and spices. This week, to highlight this delicious fruit, we’ve put together a drink that is refreshing and has a nice kick of spice to liven things up.

To add a Mediterranean twist, we’ve taken the name from Cantelupo in Italy!

5 chunks cantaloupe (about 1 inch squares)
5 Basil Leaves
½ oz Simple Syrup
1 ½ oz Lime Juice
2 oz Chili Vodka*

Muddle together cantaloupe, basil leaves, simple syrup and lime juice in a shaker. Add Chili Vodka. Fill with ice and shake vigorously, strain into an ice filled Collins glass. Garnish with a sprig of basil. This drink is at once lightly sweet, spicy and absolutely refreshing. “Possibly problematically too good” as one of our taste testers put it. Enjoy!

* At Gigi Trattoria we make our own house infused toasted peppercorn & chili vodka, you can experiment by making your own, or pick up the ready-made version at your local liquor store.

Wine Weekly – Non Confunditor

This week in our Staff Spotlight, server Corey Lenko recommended the Non Confunditor.  We thought it would be the perfect tie in to share some information with you about this Toscano Rosso in this week’s Wine Weekly post.  

The Villa of Argiano, home to the Non Confunditor, dates back to the Renaissance.  It was built by the Peccis, a noble family from Siena.  After several decades, it was passed down to the counts of Pieri, who bequeath it to the Marquis of Ballanti Merli and to the Duchess of Caetani from the Counts Lovatelli. In 1992, it was acquired by the Countess Noemi Marone Cinzano. (Got that straight? There will be a pop quiz at the end. 🙂 )The Lovatelli Gaetani d’Aragona family came up with its Latin crest, the Non Confunditor.  Later, the wine from this Villa was baptized the Non Confunditor in honor of the prestigious and glorious past of Argiano.

The Non Confunditor is a unique blend of Tuscan and French grapes that is full-bodied with soft tannins and a long finish. This blend of Merlot, Sangiovese, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon is best enjoyed during early to mid term.  With notes of spicy black currant, hints of earthiness, a touch of sweetness, and the warmth of red fruit, this wine is lovely on its own or with many different foods including the Gigi Bistecca or Tagliatelle Berta. The bright acidity of this wine leaves a fresh finish with these full-flavored menu items. 

Even though red wine is not a typical recommendation for the summer months, the Non Confunditor is an exception.  Due to the blend of different grapes, this wine is balanced enough to enjoy even on the patio and holds up wonderfully to grilled meats.  We recommend joining us for a bottle sometime soon. Come in and order it on Wine Wednesdays and get 30% off (along with the rest of our bottles)!

Wine Weekly-Manzoni Bianco

Gigi Trattoria is always looking for new interesting wines that are exclusive to our restaurant.  When our good friend Stephen Strumza brought us a taste of Villa Brunesca’s Manzoni Bianco, we knew there was a home for it on our wine list!  This vine was created by Luigi Manzoni, the Principal of the Viticulture and Enology School in Conegliano.  He made a hybrid of Riesling and White Pinot resulting in a truly exceptional wine. 

Villa Brunesco is the birthplace of some other delicious wines including the Gama Prosecco and the Sauvignon which also made it on to our wine list.  The Villa was built in 1845 by Sponza Ship owners, but they did not start bottling and selling wine there until 1922.  The vineyard of about 70 hectares has balanced soil including clay, lime and sand.  Being close to the sea, a summer heat and late summer breeze gently allow for the grapes to ripen and for flavor to develop.  After being picked, the Manzoni Bianco grapes mature in steel vats for about 4 months.  The end result is a balanced wine that has notes of peach and apricot as well as an elegant acidity characteristic of a Pinot Bianco. 

We’re of the opinion Mr. Manzoni had a stroke of genius when he created this hybrid.  Pairing this wine with our summer menu is a dream. The balance of fruit and citrus in this wine would be a lovely accompaniment to the Bigoli Al Pesce Spada, the Salmone or the Hudson Valley Cheese Plate.  And of course, it is lovely on its own! Don’t miss coming in to the Trattoria to try this unique wine.  A glass of Manzoni Bianco is just $10, but you are going to want to get a whole bottle for just $30!  Stop in this Wednesday (or any Wednesday) when all of our bottled wines are 30% off! 

Learn more about Villa Brunesca here.