June 21, 2021

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Sapore wine dinner offers dishes from some of Loretta Paganini’s favorite restaurants in Italy | Things To Do

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When it comes to food and wine, the best way to learn is by tasting.

A class at The Loretta Paganini School of Cooking in Chester Township typically concludes with a tasting of the foods taught or demonstrated. Usually, in fact, it’s a full meal.

But a wine dinner at Sapore, chef Loretta Paganini’s small restaurant situated on Mayfield Road between the cooking school for consumers and her International Culinary Arts and Sciences Institute for professional chefs, is a learning experience embedded in an extraordinary meal. Sapore, which means “taste” in Italian, is an expression of Paganini’s expertise in the kitchen, which has been fine-tuned by her travels.

Tim and Mary Hurley of Mentor, who traveled to Sicily in 2015 with one of the small groups Paganini leads each year, were among the 22 people at a recent Italian wine dinner at Sapore.






Loretta Paganini welcomes Mary and Tim Hurley of Mentor to a recent wine dinner at Sapore. The Hurleys traveled with her to Sicily in 2015.



Cole Davis, representing Cutting Edge Selections wine merchant, selected Italian wines to pair with each of five courses.

The Hurleys’ trip to Sicily, from which Mary’s ancestors hail, was one of the best experiences of their lives, they said. So signing up for the Italian Wine Dinner was a natural.

“I’d go again in a heartbeat,” said Mary about the Sicily trip. “I especially enjoyed going to the markets. We were given a list of things to get and would bring them back and prepare a meal with them.”



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Many of the recipes for the wine dinner were for dishes Paganini and her groups sampled at restaurants on various trips. The late-May menu included roasted baby artichokes in a lemon dill sauce, a favorite of many. Paganini also served Tortellini Stuffed with Ricotta and Swiss Chard, a recipe she discovered at Da Cesari Restaurant in her hometown of Bologna, and Seared Duck Breasts with Grappa and Acacia Honey Glaze, which she got from Ai Mercanti Restaurant in Venice. The Chocolate Mousse dessert came from Vecchio Roma in Rome.

The Hurleys most enjoyed the Burrata Caprese Napoleon second course that is today’s recipe for readers. Paganini got that recipe at the Lido del Faro restaurant on the Italian island of Capri near Sorrento.






Sapore-2

Sapore dinners are intimate because only 20 or so diners can be accommodated in its small space.



Recipes for the dishes served at Sapore dinners always are distributed to those in attendance. Mary Hurley often makes them with her son-in-law, a proficient home cook.

The red Villa Barbi Rosso from Umbria is a wine that goes especially well with tomatoes, Davis told the diners.

Because fresh tomatoes don’t reach their flavorful best until August, Paganini took a break from the kitchen to share a tip as guests were served the burrata-topped tomato.

“You bake them with olive oil for a few minutes,” Paganini said. “It makes all the difference.”

Burrata is a ball of pillowy fresh mozzarella prepared by hand with a pouch inside where a mixture of mozzarella strings and cream is carefully sealed. When broken open with a fork, the more liquidy center oozes out to accent the tomato and basil.

Burrata, often available at Heinen’s, must be eaten when very fresh.

The next special dinner at Sapore is a Crab Feast at 6 p.m. June 23. Call 440-729-1110 for reservations.

Recipe






Sapore-recipe

When cut into, the softer cheese inside of a burrata mozzarella naps the tomato of the Burrata Caprese Napoleon.



Burrata Caprese Napoleon

(serves 8)

Ingredients

8 fresh burrata mozzarella

8 large salad tomatoes, cut in half

¼ cup high-quality olive oil

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons honey

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

Salt and pepper to taste

Fresh basil chips

Balsamic reduction

Instructions

To make the basil chips, fry basil leaves in oil until crisp. Drain on paper towels.

Season tomato halves with salt and pepper and drizzle lightly with olive oil.

Roast at 350 degrees on a sheet pan for 20 minutes.

For balsamic reduction, boil down one-third cup balsamic vinegar for 5 minutes until thick and syrupy. Set aside.

Combine olive oil, one-fourth cup balsamic vinegar, honey, sugar, chopped basil, salt and pepper and whisk for a minute or two.

Place roasted tomato on a plate, top with basil chip and burrata.

Sprinkle with chopped basil.

Drizzle with dressing and finish with balsamic reduction.

— Courtesy of Loretta Paganini from the Lido del Faro restaurant on Capri (lidofaro.com)

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