Monday, August 7, 2017

Kitchen 76 at Two Sisters Vineyard in Niagara

Located in the heart of the Niagara Peninsula, Two Sisters Vineyards is one of the newest wineries in Niagara-on-the-Lake having just opened two summers ago. A labour of love from the Marotta family, whose fortune derives from real estate development, the winery is run by sisters Angela Marotta and Melissa Paolicelli who stylishly front the operations. Inspired by the flavours of the season and the bounty of Niagara produce, the menu of Kitchen76 echoes the owner's Italian heritage and was created to complement the vineyard's wines. In the kitchen is chef Justin Lesso, who has created a straightforward collection of simple Italian dishes made with a keen attention to detail including a selection of Italian antipasti from Arancini, Carpaccio and artfully presented Salumi e Formaggi board served on long wooden planks; housemade pasta such as Ravioli stuffed with ricotta and pecorino and tomato sauce, and Strozzapreti with basil pesto, grilled zucchini and pecorino; as well as delicious gas fired pizzas including Fungi with oyster mushrooms, pancetta, asiago, spinach and mozzarella, Dolce e Solato with mozzarella, gorgonzola, pear, Prosciutto di Parma, toasted walnuts, arugula and honey to the classic Margherita with fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil and olive oil. The wines, which are also available in the adjacent tasting room, are impressive. We enjoyed a glasses of Two Sisters Vineyards Rosé and Eleventh Post red to start, and were very pleased with the wine's depth and flavour. The service is friendly and professional, the food very good and the views from the outside terrace of the restaurant are glorious. Rich in history, culture and natural beauty, Niagara-on-the-Lake is a magical destination to enjoy a leisurely summer weekend and explore the local wineries. 

The lunch menu at Two Sisters Vineyards in Niagara on the Lake

Two Sisters Rosé

Two Sisters 'Eleventh Post', a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot

Leek and Potato Soup with swiss chard and ricotta with homemade croutons

Carpaccio with shaved Ontario beef tenderloin with arugula, pecorino and imported truffle oil

Margarita Pizza made with fresh mozzarella, tomato sauce, basil and extra virgin olive oil

Charred Asparagus & Pecorino Salad with Red Pepper Sauce & Croutons
Serves 4-6
Recipe courtesy of chef Justin Lesso

2 bunches of Ontario asparagus, woody ends removed
4 oz Pecorino Romano cheese
2 cloves garlic finely minced
1 sprig rosemary chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp truffle oil
Salt and pepper to taste

1 day old baguette torn into small pieces by hand
Olive oil to coat
Salt and pepper

Red Pepper Sauce:
3 red bell peppers, charred and then peeled and seeded
1/4 white onion diced
1 clove garlic chopped
2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 whole bay leaf
20 oz canned San Marzano plum tomatoes
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Sweat the onion and chopped garlic in olive oil until very soft, then add the white wine and cook for one minute to cook out the alcohol. Then add the cleaned roasted peppers and tomatoes with a whole bay leaf and smoked paprika and cook on medium heat stirring to make sure nothing sticks. Add all of the ingredients to a blender with the vinegar and blend until completely smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste and adjust vinegar to your preference if needed.

Toss the bread and olive oil with seasoning to coat and place on a sheet pan evenly spread out. Bake at 325°F tossing frequently until golden brown and crispy. Toss the cleaned asparagus in the garlic, rosemary, olive oil, salt and pepper and place on a hot grill for about one to two minutes and flip for the same amount of time. 

Plate the asparagus which ever way your mind seems to take you and garnish with red pepper sauce, crispy croutons and Pecorino Romano shavings.