Tuesday, October 25, 2011

rapturous regional cuisine (Piemonte) at Casa Nonna (10-23-11)

This is the third month in a row we have headed to Casa Nonna near Dupont Circle (www.casanonna.com) and we are all still raving about the food and the deals.
Last month the Sunday family dinner region was Sicily. This month (Oct 30 remains) they have moved north to Piemonte, and at $28 per person for 4 courses, this is a deal you can't afford to miss.
Our ever so pleasant server Ryan took Samuel's order for a plain pizza with a drizzle of Pesto (if possible, and of course it was) which he gobbled up along with his Shirley Temple and the excellent seasoned/cheese filled bread squares.
There were some special wines for the Piemonte menu and we adored the 2009 "Osel" Ruche di Castagnole which had a slight perfume in the nose (Will said akin to a red Rhone), yet this yummy rare red is a full bodied treat and was nice on a chilly autumn evening. We moved on to the Nebbiolo d'Alba 2008 from Damilano on manager Adam's recommendation and it was also a superb choice. It is so nice to have wines for $30-50 that are truly impressive.
The dinner began with Antipasti of
Zuppa di Cavolfiore-a rich (not cream) CAULIFLOWER SOUP with roasted cauliflower, crouton and chive that is the perfect fall treat (perhaps only Chestnut Soup is my more favorite!).
TRIPPA alla PARMIGIANA would turn any TRIPE-fearer into a lover. The meat was braised in tomato sauce and covered with melted Parmesan that just gooey oozed all over the ramekin.
FRITTATA Alla Herbe was a simple rustic herb frtittata that was the least impressive of the three, but still very tasty.

The PRIMI were both top notch pasta dishes:
SPAGHETTU al Ragu di FUNGHI e ACCIGUE was tossed in a ragu of garlic, anchovy and tasty wild mushrooms--all so wonderfully evocative of the season
PAPPARDELLE all'AGLIATA was a huge wide egg yolk pasta in ribbons the size I have never seen before drenched in a super rich WALNUT PESTO with grated Parmesan

The SECONDI arrived and we were already quite full!
BRANZINO al PIEDMONTESE was seared Branzino with a yummy sweet and sour Sultana RAISIN Sauce
BEEF "CARBONNADE" was called "Coal Worker's Stew"....we called it Rosemary's Stew as the Beef, Potato and Onion Braised in Red Wine had lots of tasty rosemary (I have got to use that more as it's in my garden and I always forget!)
The side dishes (yes all this!!) were
CIPOLLINI AGRODOLCE-Braised Sweet & Sour Cipollini Onion
& POLENTA CONCIA-a simple yet excellent creamy polenta with butter and Parmesan

Dessert was thankfully just one plate of CRESPELLE al GIANDUJA, a slightly thicker than French-style crepe with a warm Gianduja Chocolate filling, Poached Pear, Caramel Sauce and Lemon Gelato (although it said Vanilla) - a yummy finish to a hugely satisfying and fun meal and evening!