I visited Ferrari’s Italian Villa the other night to enjoy dinner with featured Chef, Stefano Secchi and his fantastic parents and Ferrari’s owners, Francesco and Jane.
Stefano had been shopping at Jimmy’s when our paths crossed as I was on the way to enjoy a Saturday ritual of visiting Tom Spicer’s market on Fitzhugh. That was the day to stop by Jimmy’s, as they had just gotten in a fresh selection of glorious Burrata, arriving fresh from Italy.
For those that may not be familiar with Burrata, it is like a big ball of cheese heaven. Burrata means “buttered” in Italian, an excellent assessment of this gooey good cheese. Baseball size hunks of Buffalo Mozzarella wrapped around delicate, creamy rich goodness with the texture of soft Ricotta, but so much more decadent.
Dinner at Ferrari’s is like taking a little trip to Italy, or their native Sardinia: warm, comforting and elegant with thoughtful touches that turn a normal night into an experience; one that you want to revisit over and over again. From the welcome kisses and handshakes at the front door by the Secchi’s, to the succulent aromas wafting from Chef Stefano’s kitchen, (who the James Beard Foundation noted as one of the finest young culinary stars,) to Ferrai’s gracious, knowledgeable staff, everyone is there to ensure you enjoy yourself. Almost like you have stepped into your own Dallas “Big Night.”
Our meal celebrated the day’s shopping adventure with simply prepared dishes highlighting the fresh ingredients, a popular preparation method for Stefano, masterfully painting culinary works of art. Sautéed Spicer Lobster mushrooms with the creamy Burrata center topped with fresh chives; whole Burrata paired with 12 hour roasted tomatoes and fresh basil with proscuitto; cloud like tiramisu, light and delicate.
All paired with Sardinian wine selections including a white Vermentino and red Cannonau. Vermentino is a smart Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio alternative. Best when served very cold, it is light, crisp and refreshing with good acidity, lemon/lime and herbaceous aromas, and uncomplicated citrus flavors. A lovely compliment with the lobster mushrooms, as the acidity cut through the earthy flavors and paired beautifully with the creamy Burrata.
Cannonau is an alternative for Grenache or a light Syrah, with a little more depth and earthiness, with ripe berry, pepper and spice flavors. Finding wine to pair with tomatoes can be difficult. This one matches well with the roasted tomato flavor, and adds additional depth to the flavor of the Burrata.
Cap off the evening with an Espresso, or a Tawny Port, and there is little more to ask for. An evening of conversation with friends and family, wrapped around outstanding food and wine. My little slice of paradise.
Paula Lambert at the Mozzarella Company makes a Burrata year round…try it out.