Naples, Il Comandante restaurant of the Romeo Hotel and six recipes by Andrea Aprea

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Il Comandante restaurant and the Romeo Hotel are characterized by care and innovation which we have expected for a long time in Naples. In the city there is instability but here you will find elegance, an extraordinary welcome, professionalism and beauty.The ex LauroPalace, built in the Fifties, was renovated by the Japanese architect Kenzo Tange. The leit motive is based on contrasts which are harmonized well and they make everything pleasant and exciting. The works of art are a mix of old and modern features. There are works byFrancesco Clemente, Gregorio Botta , Mario Schifano, Sergio Fermariello, Lello Esposito and Philip Starck. The furnishings and the kitchen are a mix of Western and Eastern features. The hotel includes a gourmet restaurant and the Zero Sushi Bar created with the cooperation of the Zero Contemporary Food from Milan.

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The palace is made with glass as the ship-owner Achille Lauro wanted in order to enjoy the view over the frantic activity of the harbour. The waves of the sea are reproduced with the glass and the optical effect is very suggestive. At Il Comandante restaurant the gourmet cuisine is managed by the executive chef Andrea Aprea, he comes from Naples and for this reason he knows the Neapolitan cuisine very well. His cuisine is the Neapolitan one but is innovative and based on the Mediterranean tastes and culture. He is just 31 years old but he has an excellent curriculum vitae. He cooperated with the following restaurants: Signori in Sirmione, the Heston Blumenthal of Fat Duck (three Michelin stars) in Bray on Thames (U.K.), The Watersideinn (three Michelin stars) in Bray on Thames (U.K.), the Rossellini’s of Palazzo Sasso in Ravello (two Michelin stars), The Ledbury in Londra (two Michelin stars), the Bulgari Hotel in Milan and many others. The desserts and the bread are prepared by the pastry chef Elnava De Rosa and they show the light and refined touch typical of women. The sommelier is Giuseppe Sorrentino who has realized a good wine-list including a wide choice of Italian and international wines, also if it is too banal, a touch of refinement and originality is lacking. Andrea’s dishes are a mix of tradition and innovation and are realized with professionalism. According to him these factors are inseparable, the menu varies with the changing seasons. There are two tasting menus, the seafood one which costs 100 Euros and the meat one which costs 90 Euros.
  
Marina Alaimo

Fried anchovies on pureed cauliflower, buffalo ricotta, garlic, oil and chilli pepper
 
Ingredients for four people
500 g fresh anchovies, 600 g cauliflower, 200 g buffalo ricotta, 1 garlic clove, 1 red fresh chilli pepper, 50 g acacia honey, 30 g white vinegar, 150 g bread crumbs, 1 egg, salt and pepper to taste

Preparation
Bone the anchovies and stuff them with the ricotta, coat them with bread crumbs and the egg yolk, fry them in plenty of extra virgin olive oil at 170°C. Clean the cauliflower well, cook it in plenty of boiling water, crack it with a fork until it becomes a purée and season with salt, pepper and a trickle of extra virgin olive oil. For the mixture of garlic, oil and chilli pepper mix the honey with the oil and the vinegar, then add a chopped garlic clove and the chilli pepper without seeds. Put the cauliflower on a serving plate, put the anchovies on it and add the vinaigrette.

I have paired this dish with the Costa d’Amalfi Furore 2008 white wine produced by Marisa Cuomo.
                    
Scampi, chickpeas from Cicerale, Porcini mushrooms and bacon
Ingredients for four people
12 medium-sized scampi, 500 g chickpeas from Cicerale, 200 g bacon, 4 medium-sized fresh Porcini mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, extra virgin olive oil.
Preparation
Shell and blanch the scampi in a non-sticking pan with a trickle of extra virgin olive oil. Soak the chickpeas for at least 6 hours, then cook them in water with 1 carrot, celery, pepper and a laurel leaf. After cooking them beat and sift them. Clean the Porcini mushrooms with a wet sponge (don’t use too much water), cut them into two halves and blanch them in a pan. Then cut the bacon into thin slice 6 centimetres long, put them in a non sticking pan and bake at 180°C for 7 minutes. When fully cooked, let them rest on blotting paper to eliminate the excessive fat. Put the pureed chickpeas on the bottom of a plate, then the scampi and the crisp bacon.
I have paired this dish with the Fiano Antere 2004 wine produced by De Conciliis.

              
Fettuccelle pasta from di Gragnano, “caciocavallo Podolico” cheese, egg yolk and black truffle
Ingredients for four people
500 g “fettucelle” pasta from Gragnano, 100 g “caciocavallo podolico” cheese, 500 ml fresh cream, 500 ml fresh milk, 4 egg yolks, 80 g black truffle
Preparation
Put the milk and the cream on a low heat until you obtain 500 ml of mixture, then add the grated “caciocavallo” cheese and sift the mixture. Cook the pasta in plenty of water for 12 minutes. Cook 4 egg yolks in water at 85°C for 2 minutes. Cut the truffle into thin flakes with a truffle cutter. Put the “caciocavallo” cheese sauce on a plate, add the pasta, and put the egg yolk in the centre. Sprinkle with black truffle flakes.
I have paired this dish with the Fiano di Avellino CampoRe 2006 wine produced by Terredora.

                   
Puff pastry pockets with stewed beef in the Genoese style, meat broth and carrot sauce

Ingredients for four people
1 kg beef, 800 g onions, 250 g carrots, 300 g white wine, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. For the egg pasta: 300 g hard wheat semolina, 200 g “00” flour, 8 egg yolks and 3 eggs. For the carrot and onion sauce: 150 g onions, 150 g carrots, 20 g sugar, 30 g white wine vinegar. For the carrot sauce: 1 kg carrot, 20 g Maraschino liqueur, salt and pepper to taste

Preparation
Mix all the ingredients for the egg pasta and let it rest in the fridge for 2 hours. Clean and cut the beef into 4 parts, peel the onions and the carrots and cut them finely. Stew the vegetables and the beef in a pan with extra virgin olive oil, add the white wine and cook for 4 hours on a low heat. Add the beef to the vegetables and add salt and pepper to taste. Prepare the mixture of carrots and onions cutting them finely, add the sugar and the vinegar and cook on a low heat until you obtain a smooth mixture. With the remaining pieces of beef prepare a meat broth, when fully cooked add 50 g of Marsala wine and salt and pepper to taste. Prepare the puff pastry pockets, roll out the dough until you obtain very thin sheets and cut some quadrates (cm.9×9), stuff them with the meat in the Genoese style and close. Centrifuge the carrots, add the Maraschino liqueur and make the mixture slightly warm. Put it in a food processor until you obtain a frothy mixture. Cook the pockets in plenty of boiling water. Put the hot onion and carrot sauce on a plate, add the pockets, the consommé and finally the carrot sauce.
 

I have paired this dish with the Orano 2007 rosé wine produced by Villa Raiano.    

 
Turbot fillets with artichokes, potatoes and sweet and sour mint mixture
Ingredients for four people
4 turbot fillets, 4 artichokes, 4 medium-sized potatoes, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper to taste For the sweet and sour mint mixture: 250 g sugar, 150 g white wine vinegar, 50 g seafood broth and fresh mint
Preparation
Cook the turbot fillets in a pan with a trickle of extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. Clean the artichokes removing the leaves and the stem, cut them into two halves and cook them in a non-sticking pan with a trickle of extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. Peel the potatoes and cut them into cubes (cm. 4×4), blanch them in boiling water and then brown them in a pan with a trickle of extra virgin olive oil. Prepare the sweet and sour mint mixture caramelizing the sugar in a pan, adding the vinegar and the seafood broth (don’t let the sugar crystallize) and finally adding the chopped mint leaves. Let rest for 2 hours. Put the artichokes and the potatoes on the bottom of a plate, add the turbot fillet and finally the sweet and sour mint mixture.
I have paired this dish with the Greco di Tufo Devon 2006 wine produced by Caggiano.

Soft cheese rolls with stewed pears and red wine sauce

Ingredients for 4 people
500 g “kaiser” pears, 1 l Aglianico red wine, 2 g black pepper (in grains), 1 laurel leaf and half a bar of cinnamon For the rolls: 50 g butter, 50 g icing sugar, 50 g egg yolk, 50 g “00” flour For the filling: 150 g buffalo ricotta, 100 g mascarpone, 50 g icing sugar
Preparation
Prepare the mixture for the rolls mixing all the ingredients in a food processor until you obtain a smooth mixture. Let it rest in the fridge covered with a cloth for 2 hours. Roll out the dough and arrange some rectangles (cm. 7×4) with a mould, roll them and bake in a pre-heated oven at 180°C for about 20 minutes. Prepare the filling mixing all the ingredients with a whisk and fill the rolls. Peel the pears and cook them for a short time in a sugar syrup for 30 minutes, then cut them into small cubes. Prepare the red wine sauce letting the wine, the pepper in grains and the cinnamon marinate in a container for 3 hours. Then lower the heat and cook until you obtain 650 g of mixture. Put in a food processor until you obtain the red wine sauce. Put the baked pears on the bottom of the plate, put the rolls and the red wine sauce on them.
I have paired this dish with the Melizie 2005 sweet wine (Fiano grapes) produced by Mastroberadino.

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