Tuesday, May 26, 2015

La Bettola Di Terroni & Diana Krall: Food & Song

La Bettola di Terroni is one of the newer additions to the ever-expanding Terroni family, which now boasts five locations in Toronto and one now in Los Angeles. Sharing an entrance and kitchen with sister restaurant Osteria Ciceri e Tria, the Southern Italian menu features classic Terroni dishes focused on Pugliese and Sicilian cuisines, such as Carpaccio di Pesce Spada, Funghi Assoluti, Arancíni filled with peas and veal ragu, and house-made Agnolotti filled with braised beef in a butter sage and parmigiano sauce, in addition to pizzas such as Smendozzata with tomato, mozzarella, gorgonzola, red onions, and homemade Italian sausage, tempting salads, zuppas and decadent dolce. While it’s certainly one of the most casual of the Terroni offspring, La Bettola (Italian for 'hole-in-the-wall') boasts an impressive all-Italian wine list and stylish rustic urban-industrial interior by Giannone Petricone Associates: “We have a palette for Terroni: always real stone, ceramics, steel and wood,” says Giannone. Walking distance to Massey Hall, La Bettola was a convenient stroll to the Diana Krall concert for which we had tickets that evening, for a glorious evening of food, wine and song.

La Bettola di Terroni shares the entrance with sister restaurant, 
Osteria Ciceri e Tria, where they share a kitchen

La Bettola di Terroni's stylishly rustic urban industrial interior with with polished marble floors, metal chairs, smooth leather banquettes and rough wooden tables

"Mangia, Bevi Ama" — Eat, Drink, Love — on a metal wall as custom 12" magnetic letters 

Quirky tin can pendant lighting 

The menu features classic Terroni dishes with a Pugliese and Sicilian twist

Water arrives in glass carafes with vintage glass tumblers

An Aperol Spritz with Prosecco and slice of orange 

Housemade bread served with Italian olive oil

Polpo alla Griglia: Seared Octopus with couscous, chick peas, salsa verde and garnished with microgreens

La zuppa di cicerchia

Insalata di Farro with spelt, BC spot prawn, cherry tomato, mint, celery, grilled zucchini and eggplant with Pistacchios in a Citrus Dressing

La Bettola di Terroni offers a selection of Italian wines by the glass, carafe and bottle

Spaghetti alle Vongole with clams, garlic, chili and white wine

Spaghetti allo Scoglio

Pappardelle al Sugo d'Agnello

Diana Krall's new album 'Wallflower'

Homemade Gnocchi with Smoked Mozzarella
Serves 8
Recipe courtesy of Enza Aloi, Executive Chef, Terroni

3 medium russet potatoes, about 1 3/4-pounds
1 large egg yolk
2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour, or more as needed
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

2 tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 roasted red peppers, peel, seeded and cut into julienne
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
4 1/4-inch thick slices smoked mozzarella, cubed
2 tbsp shredded fresh basil
2 cup fresh or canned tomato sauce
Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper

Grated Parmesan, to taste
2 1/4-inch thick slices smoked mozzarella, cubed
2 tbsp shredded fresh basil

Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Pierce the potatoes a few times with a sharp paring knife and place them in the oven. Bake them until tender and cooked through, about 40 minutes. When cool enough to handle — the hotter the potatoes, the lighter the gnocchi — peel the potatoes and pass them through a ricer, then spread on a baking sheet and let cool completely.

Once potatoes are cooled, gather them into a mound on a cutting board and form a well in the centre. Put the egg yolk into the well and begin kneading the potato and egg together with both hands, gradually adding the grated Parmesan and enough of the flour to form a smooth but slightly sticky dough. (Keep in mind that the longer the dough is kneaded, the more flour it will require and the heavier it will become.)

Roll the dough into finger thick strips and cut into 1/2-inch pieces. Sprinkle the pieces lightly with flour. Using the tines of a fork and the tip of your thumb take one segment and roll it downward toward the tips of the tines. This action will give your dumpling a deep indentation on one side and a ridged surface on the other. Place the dumplings on a baking sheet lined with a floured kitchen towel, and cook immediately or freeze.

To freeze the gnocchi, line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread a single layer of gnocchi on the parchment. Cover the layer of gnocchi with another sheet of parchment. Spread another layer of gnocchi on the parchment. Repeat with remaining gnocchi, finishing with a layer of parchment paper. Then wrap tightly with plastic wrap and freeze.

For the sauce, start by heating the olive oil in a large frying pan. Add the garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the roasted red peppers and the parsley, then add the cubed smoked mozzarella and the basil. Finally, add the tomato sauce and simmer. Season to taste.

Bring 6 quarts salted water to a rigorous boil. Add the gnocchi, stirring gently and continuously with a wooden spoon, cooking the gnocchi until they rise to the surface, about 1 minute. After they rise to the surface continue cooking them for an additional minute.

Remove the gnocchi from the water with a slotted spoon or a skimmer, and transfer to the saucepan with the sauce. Stir until the gnocchi are covered with the sauce. Plate and garnish with freshly grated Parmesan, cubed smoked mozzarella and the shredded basil.