In my first six months of working with M’tucci’s I have been impressed by two things:
1) The partners commitment to quality and to creating the best Italian cuisine possible
2) Their belief that as good as we are, there are always ways to make it better
That’s why I am with four of M’tucci’s chefs in Tuscany, who are visiting bakers, butchers, vintners, farmers, truffle hunters and , yes of course, restaurants. They are here to observe techniques and traditions that have existed for centuries and to take part in some of the timeless work that is part of the culture of Italian cuisine.
Many of our visits are taking place in a lesser traveled area of Tuscany called Bolgheri. We only have one day in Chianti south of Florence. Our Italian purveyor is tied to this part of Tuscany and made most of these visits possible. The Bolgheri area is near the Mediterranean Sea, in an area renowned for their Super Tuscan wines (Sassicaia, Tignanello, Ornellaia, etc) which are wines that are made with the traditional grapes of Bordeaux (Cabernet, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot). While the wines are significantly different from a Chianti made from Sangiovese, the produce and landscape in this area are all very similar to the rest of the region..
After three full days of baking, truffle hunting, farm visits and eating, the chefs have been struck by the Italian commitment to tradition (with sensible innovation), to using quality ingredients, and to making the best product possible. At the Chianina farm (which also produces pork, olive oil and wine), Alessandro, talked passionately about the importance of what he feeds his cows and how its equally important that their lives are not stressed as they make their final journey to becoming beef. One of the guys commented that they had never met a man with so much mental discipline.
At the bakery in Carrara, Francesco, who is in the process of modernizing his father’s recipes, has gained enough notoriety that he regularly holds workshops in Asia to teach technique. John, Cory, Shawn and Damian made ciabatta and focaccia and had long conversations with him about flour, leavening and the mysteries of great bread.
We were told at the beginning of the truffle walk that hunting truffles is like fishing - sometimes you have a lot of luck and sometimes you have none. The only skill involved is having an understanding of where truffles grow and, most importantly, having a well-trained dog with a refined sense of smell. Andrea brought Giotto, a 3-year-old mixed breed (easier to train) who found five black summer truffles within about 90 minutes. Since he is young, once he started digging, Andrea had to hold him back so he wouldn’t damage the precious tuber. Once the truffle was uncovered, Giotto was more interested in getting his treat than eating the truffle.
When we returned to Savino Tartufo, which makes a dizzying selection of truffle products, we were treated to a lunch that demonstrated what a fresh truffle can do to a dish, even the less expensive summer black truffle. The three-course meal showed how they could add complexity and depth to a simple spread for bruschetta or pasta. A truffle-infused Amaro? Oh yeah.
One of our best meals was served family style in a very small town near the marble caves of Carrara (the chunk of marble for Michelangelo’s David came from here). Hand carved marble boxes are used to cure Lardo, which is pork back fat. The fat is layered with rosemary, salt, clove, cinnamon and pepper in the box, which has a marble lid weighing it down, and aged for a minimum of six months. The flavor, along with the rest of the charcuterie on our plate was sublime. I think Cory said the flavors made his eyes tear up.
In the days ahead, we’ll visit a cheese producer, a vineyard, a salami maker and one of Italy’s (if not the world’s) most famous butchers, Dario Cecchini, in Chianti.
We look forward to bringing you another report from Italy next Friday and to returning to New Mexico to wow your taste buds with our experiences.
NEWS FROM M’TUCCI’S
Weekend Dinner Specials
The Braise: Lightly Smoked and Herb Roasted 1/2 Chicken, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Sauteed Hericot Verts, Tart Cherry Gastrique
Ravioli: Three Cheese-Red Chile Stuffed Ravioli, Sliced Italian Sausage, Local Italian Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions, Savory Lemon Brodo, Basil Micro Greens
Pan Seared Fish: Icelandic Cod, Garlic Mashed Potaotes, Sauteed Arugula, Roasted Italian Artichokes, Caper Beurre Blanc
Cut of the Day: 24oz Hand Cut Porterhouse, Crispy Salt Water Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Grilled Lemon, Balsamic Reduction
Smoked and Herb Rubbed Half Chicken
Served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, and a Cranberry Gastrique
Recommended Wine Pairing:
Molly Dooker "The Scooter" Merlot, South Austrailia 7/25
~Vibrant red Merlot with rich flavor and a soft touch of oak~
Icelandic Cod $25
Lean, mild flavor profile with large flakes and a tender-firm texture.
Served with Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Sautéed
Arugula, Lemon Caper Butter Sauce
Recommended Wine Pairing:
Nobilo, Sauvignon Blanc, New Zealand 8/32
~Vibrant & refreshing w/ tropical fruit flavors and a crisp finish~
Hand Cut Steak of the Day: 24 oz Bone-in NY Stip $33
Recommended Wine Pairing:
Sassoregale, Sangiovese, Maremma Toscana, Italy 8/32
~ Full & firm flavor with an elegant finish, ideal with red meats~
M’tucci’s Italian Market & Pizzeria
Every Thursday - Sunday: M’tucci’s pizzas, sandwiches, and charcuterie boards are available La Cumbre Westside. Look for the M’tucci’s server and we’ll bring the food to you!
New and special pastries in the deli case every week. Come in today!
M’TUCCI’S MONTHLY PHOTO CONTEST
The winner of the May Photo Contest was Melissa Garcia. The June Photo Contest is underway, so post a photo from M’tucci’s with friends, food or beverages on your Facebook page or your Instagram feed and tag the photo #lovemtuccis. The winning photo is chosen from the three photos with the most likes. Don’t forget to edit your photos for exposure. When you enter early you have the best chance to win.
M’TUCCI’S AROUND TOWN
Our market items can be purchased at a couple of locations. We deliver our fresh bread every Tuesday and Friday to Silver Street Market at 2nd and Silver. Choose from Sourdough, Fennel Rye, Wheat, Baguette, Ciabatta, Raisin Rosemary and Focaccia.
Drinking at Bosque in Nob Hill? You can order a M’tucci’s Charcuterie Board while there.
SERVICE INDUSTRY NIGHT & DISCOUNTS
Area service industry workers can get a Service Industry card from us by showing proof of employment. With the card you receive 10% off your check every day and 20% off on Sundays from 6:00 - 9:00. Dine in only.
M’TUCCI’S ITALIAN WEDNESDAY PRIX FIXE DINNERS
1st Course- Shredded Kale, Granny Smith Apples, Local Feta, Dried Tart Cherries, Pomegranate Vinaigrette
2nd Course- Pesto & Ricotta Filled Ravioli, Shallots, Artichokes, Light Lemon Cream Sauce
3rd Course- Lemon Tart-House Graham Cracker Crust, Lemon Curd, Chantilly Whipped Cream, Candied Lemon
Our food is available for delivery with Door Dash or for pick up. Pick up something for the weekend or on your way home from work. The links to ordering are on the Home page.
MTUCCI’S YOUTUBE CHANNEL
Videos about making cocktails and pasta and getting to know the M’tucci’s culture. Click here
ALBUQUERQUE THE MAGAZINE - BEST OF THE CITY
We would appreciate your vote and support in the newest Best of the City poll. We feel pretty strongly that we are the best in these categories: Bartender, Bloody Mary, Craft Cocktails, Happy Hour, Appetizer Menu, Brunch, Chef, Dessert, Gourmet Pizza, Pizza and Wine List. We won last year for Waitstaff and Italian Restaurant and would love to keep our record intact. Click here to vote.
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Ciao until next Friday!