“In my food there is always love”, exclaimed Chef Roberto Boggio, the award-winning Italian Culinary Ambassador who has flown down from Le Meridian Pune to curate the ‘Cucina Italiana’ Food Festival at Prego by Westin Hyderabad. A cheerful Mr. Boggio took the assembled bloggers on a whirlwind tour of Italy while explaining the specially curated six-course set menu for the day. Mr. Boggio will be in Hyderabad for the entire week, and besides curating the ‘Cucina Italiana’ festival, he will also be driving activities such as Italian Cooking Class on 27th October (10:45 AM IST) and a Indo-Italian fusion dinner at Kangan on 28th October. The food festival will conclude on 29th October.
We began with Tartara Di Asparagi or Asparagus Pudding – a distinctly eggy and cheesy starter that had me craving for more. The Taleggio Cheese used in the sauce has a mild and sweetish flavour that worked really well. Next up was Minestrone, a rich, classic Italian soup that’s quite popular with Indians. There are numerous variants across Italy and we were served Minestrone alla Genovese. This version of Minestrone from Liguara incorporates in it a pesto sauce that differentiates it from the standard recipe.
The soup was followed by a ravishing Marinara pizza layered with pesto sauce and topped with generous amounts of squid, prawn, and crab. The pizza was well made, but what really made it standout was the freshness of the seafood. The squids were tender and just perfectly cooked. The pasta course featured a Sundried Pomodoro Ravioli and Agnolotti Alla Monferrina. The sundried ravioli with a four cheese sauce is just the thing for all cheese lovers. But, the star dish of the day was the Agnolotti alla Monferrina. This is a stuffed pasta from the Piedmont region that was topped with a little bit of parmesan but had no sauce. The pasta was served inside a napkin and we were advised to lift the napkin only momentarily to pick up a piece of pasta and immediately cover the remaining. Chef Boggio explained that the Angolotti pasta dough uses a large amount of egg, and in the absence of a sauce, exposure to air conditioning can cause it to become dry quickly. The main course of the day was La Cotoletta Impanata or Classic Chicken Pane served with Rosemary Potato. The chicken was beautifully cooked and the sauce and the rosemary roasted potatoes complemented it nicely.
Last to arrive was the dessert sampler platter featuring Pannacotta and tiramisu. The wobbly yet firm Pannacotta was a sight to behold, but it was the coffee powder dusted tiramisu that stole the show. Tiramisu is one of the most popular Italian desserts in the city, but the one by Prego is definitely in a different league. The exceptional Tiramisu was the perfect closure to an exceptional afternoon.