Years ago, Andrew and I dined at Babbo - Mario Batali's award winning restaurant - and had the time of our lives! After a lovely start with blood orange Cosmopolitans at the comfortable bar, we feasted on grilled quail, tripe alla parmigiana, calamari, goat cheese tortelloni, lamb sausage 'love letters' (ravioli), cheese plate and a lovely cookie plate. Of course, not in that order! And, of course, lots of Italian wine! This meal was at a time before I took pictures of everything I eat.
I have had lovely memories of that day and was thinking of doing a post for my gig over at http://www.weekendnotes.com/ about Babbo memories and the Babbo Cookbook. I asked Andrew if he would cook up a few dishes from the cookbook. He, of course, was game for it. This cookbook has never let us down.
We started with a bottle of Riondo Prosecco, which my friends over at The Thirsty Cellar (Wading River, NY) informed me is the best selling Prosecco. It was very nice and medium dry. A great way to start a night!
The starter was a lovely scallops crudo with shaved fennel and olio nuovo. Andrew thinly sliced the raw sea scallops and chopped the fennel bulb rather than shaved and it came out great!
Andrew cooked the tripe, as instructed, in boiling water flavored with white vinegar and vanilla extract. I know the vanilla sounds weird, but it took out the strange smell of the tripe and was sucessful. He then sauteed carrots, red onion, celery and garlic and then added white wine and crushed italian tomatoes. He cut the tripe into 1/2 inch thick strips and cooked for 20 minutes. He made garlic bread and roasted aspragras. Shaved parmigiano-reggiano topped the dish.
The tastes were wonderful...unfortunately the tripe was inedible and the asparagus were gross. I made a cardinal mistake of choosing low quality ingredients. I thought that the tripe from BJs Wholesale club (frozen for months) would miraculously change to butcher quality if we chose the right recipie. This girl was schooled! We ate the asparagus even though they were old. I am usually so picky and I let myself down on this shopping trip. We ended up removing the tripe and enjoying the lovely tomato sauce with our garlic bread.
I learned that I can never let my guard down while shopping for any meal. As with all things, quality will out.