For any of you who who love food and have not yet seen the movie “Big Night” starring Tony Shaloub and Stanley Tucci, you are doing yourselves a great disservice. This is probably one of the foodie movies with the most cult like following. The food depicted in the movie is down right foodgasmic. Food porn at its best. Las weekend Jeff and I paid tribute to the movie by staging our very own “Big Night” dinner featuring some of the dishes from the movie. While we didn’t do the entire menu because of both time, space and resources, we tried to remain true. The group present was super enthusiastic and a great time had by all.
Our first course was a delicious and simple crostini with herbed fresh goat cheese, roasted pepper, crispy kale and balsamic. The perfect way to whet the appetite and prepare your stomach for a serious food orgy.
Next, a light minestrone, featuring fresh vegetables from the farm, including beet tops and squash of various kinds. I resist the temptation to call minestrone “garbage soup” as many have often referred to it. There is no reason this should be reserved for using leftovers. It is a super vehicle for fresh vegetables in season. Simple, elegant and delicious. The stars of the dish are the umami from the pancetta and the finish of a fantastic high quality freshly grated parmigiano reggiano.
Next up, a risotto trio featuring a seafood risotto, parmesan risotto and pesto risotto, served on a platter to represent the Italian flag. I will note, making three kinds of risotto at once is a little daunting, but they turned out super. The risotto is a great bone of contention between the brothers in the movie as the 1950’s era American audience just doesn’t know what to make of it. One brother suggests they remove it from the menu. The main brother who is the chef suggests rather sarcastically that they should replace it with “hot dogs.” Needless to say, nobody is putting hot dogs on the menu here at CSI.
The biggest crowd pleasure, and most complicated menu item on the roster, was the timpano. Timpano, which literally means timpani drum, is essentially a pasta bake with hard boiled eggs, meatballs, cheese, salami, home made marinara and penne encased in a very large pasta blanket, baked and then turned out and sliced. It is a belly bomb, but a delicious one. And it sure makes a heck of a presentation. We got applause for this one.
The salmon with moscato grape sauce was so popular I wasn’t able to get a photo before half of it had already been devoured. Wild Alaskan Sockeye salmon, baked to perfection and topped with a beautiful pink grape sauce. Sweet and savory, succulent, and delicious.
Next up, cornish hens with parmesan roasted asparagus. The hens were moist and the asparagus super fresh, straight from the farm. Simple, but you can’t go wrong with quality ingredients.
The grand finale?? Tiramisu. Made with luscious ladyfingers, smooth and creamy mascarpone, coffee and chocolate. The real thing, made from scratch, is the most delicate dessert. So often restaurants substitute sponge cake or other heavier cakes and it turns out dry. That’s not how it should be. By this point in the meal, many were full, but most stuffed the dessert down with abandon.
“To Eat Good Food is to Be Close to God.” – Primo, Big Night