Italian food is probably the most talked-about, written-about and happily consumed food in the world (start with pizza - 75,000 pizzerias in the U.S. selling $40 billion worth of pizzas every year). Yet, Italian food in Campania is totally different from Italian food in Piemonte. Like Mexico or France, Italy is a country with a wide variety of regional cuisines. Although Naples and Venice are both coastal cities and feature seafood on their tables, dinner at a seafood restaurant in Naples would be unrecognizable to a Venetian. Florence and Bologna are only 60 miles apart, yet the food of Emilia-Romagna and Tuscany are significantly different. However, there are common threads that are found in every region: quality ingredients and la dolce vita (the sweet life).
When author Matt Goulding was pitching a book about Italians and Italian food to the late Anthony Bourdain, (who as a young chef worked as Executive Chef in one of M’tucci’s founder’s Jeff Spiegel’s NYC restaurants) he said: “Nobody takes food more seriously than Italians. I have seen family feuds break out over pasta shapes and grape varietals. . . . More than anywhere else in the world, food carries the full weight of Italy’s heritage: the pains and joys of its history, the depth of its ingenuity. Politicians are corrupt, democracy is fragile, borders are porous, but la cucina italiana is eternal.”
Gouldings book, “PASTA, PANE, VINO: Deep Travels Through Italy’s Food Culture” was published by Bourdain’s company in 2018 and is a treasure. A must read for anyone interested in Italy and Italian food.
As with any regional specialty, Italys has been shaped to a large extent by what is available locally. In the north, where rice is grown and there are flat plains for grazing cows, risotto and butter are more popular than pasta and olive oil. In the central mountains of Tuscany and Umbria, olives grow on hillsides more easily than dairy cows can graze, so Tuscans and Umbrians cook with plentiful, local olive oil more than they do with butter. Just south of the Alps, Liguria has a moderate climate because of the Mediterranean Sea, and there you’ll find the most flavorful Genovese basil for making pesto. In the South where water buffalo graze, the real mozzarella di bufala and burrata (referred to by locals as latticini not cheese/formaggio) have a distinct flavor because of the milks balance of fat and acidity - perfect for making pasta filata (stretched or pulled cheese).
At all M’tucci’s locations we embrace the two common components in regional Italian cooking: quality ingredients and la dolce vita. We use recipes from several regions and add our personal touch to create some of our dishes such as: Milanese Burrata (normally a plain breaded cutlet of veal or chicken, we add Spicy Marinara and M’tucci’s burrata), or our Osso Bucco (usually made with a veal shank, but we use pork), or Pesto Ravioli (we add roasted artichokes and grape tomatoes).
Other recipes are classic preparations, for example: Cacio e Pepe (a staple in Rome, but rarely on a menu in the north) and our Melanzana all Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmesan is a southern dish, but popular throughout the country). Our pizza is definitely true to the Neopolitan style with a thin crust which is made with a sourdough starter and cooked in a very hot oven.
Charcuterie Boards are popular throughout Italy as antipasti, with products from all over the country available in any region. You would certainly find prosciutto (from Emilia Romagna) in Rome, or burrata (Puglia) in Tuscany. While every region produces special meats and cheeses, most all of them are popular throughout the country, primarily because they travel well.
How have we brought Italy to New Mexico? Some of our chefs have trained under Italian chefs, all of M’tucci’s chefs are voracious readers and, most importantly, they are students of Italian techniques and cooking. The only thing they haven’t done is travel, eat, and work in Italy. That is going to change on Monday when three of our Chef/Partners and one of our Sous Chefs will spend an intensive week in Italy visiting a Chianina ranch, a panificio (artisan bakery), salumerias/macellarias (think meat products) and a variety of farms and local producers.
Follow us on Facebook and instagram to keep up with their Italian experiences. We promise to share what they learn and to bring M’tucci’s la dolce vita to a whole new level!
Tune in next week for a brief report from Tuscany.
NEWS FROM M’TUCCI’S
Weekend Dinner Specials
Ravioli- Blue Crab and Wild Mushroom Ravioli, Pink Shrimp, Asparagus, Porcini Cream Sauce. $25
Pan Seared- Scallops, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Artichokes, Sautéed Arugula $29
Cut of the Day- 24 oz Porterhouse $35
Braised- Rosemary & Milk Braised Lamb Shank, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Sautéed Spinach
Oliver Hill McLaren Vale Shiraz $ 9/36
Capture Sonoma County Sauvignon blanc $8/32
Father’s Day Specials (all day)
Pan Seared Scallops
Pasta with Linguica $18
Red Onion, Sun Dried Tomato, Light Tomato Sauce, Arugula, Pecorino.
Recommended Wine Pairing:
Landmark Pinot Noir, California $8/34
Tender, Buttery, Sweet Diver Scallops. Garlic Mashed Potatoes, Grilled Asparagus, Sautéed Arugula, Lemon Caper Butter Sauce
Recommended Wine Pairing:
The Palm Rosé, France $7/30
Hand Cut Steak of the Day:
24 oz Bone-in NY Strip $31
Recommended Wine Pairing:
Sassoregale Sangiovese, Maremma Toscana, Italy $8/32
Friday: 8:30 - Leah Leyva Live
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!
Weekend Brunch - Happy Father’s Day
If you aren’t bringing Dad in for Father’s Day, at least buy a M’tucci’s Gift Certificate for him, good at all three locations.
Come in for brunch for some of your favorite Brunch items done M’tucci’s Italian-style. You’ll love our take on Eggs Benedict, or Italian Sausage Hash or even a Carbonara Risotto. Of course, our Mimosas are made with fresh-squeezed Orange Juice. We will have a new and expanded Brunch Menu for you by the end of the month.
M’tucci’s Italian and M’tucci’s Moderno both open at 11:00 and M’tucci’s Italian Market & Pizzeria is open at 10:00 with coffee, pastries and biscotti.
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- Grilled Watermelon Caprese, M’tucci’s Mozzarella, Basil Oil
2nd Course- Crispy Bone-In Chicken, House BBQ Sauce, Garlic Mashed Potatoes, House Slaw
3rd Course- Smoked Peach Cobbler, Salted Caramel Gelato
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!