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Quick and Easy Starters for Your Next Event

Bruschetta Al Salmone: Smoked salmon with the best rustic first cold pressed olive oil you can find and of course, Nonno Diego's homemade bread toasted over a wood-burning oven. Pair with Le Quinte Grechetto. Greco is a white wine dating back to Roman times so we truly go retro a couple thousand years on this one:)

While you are cooking: An assortment of 3 cheeses and a white wine or prosecco to start. Choose a Parmigiano Stravecchio (aged 3 springs) or simple Parmigiano (aged 2 springs). Parmigiano is always made and aged in the Po valley, by Italian law, from Holstein cows raised in the Po valley, fed only fresh grasses (usually alfalfa or herba medica) from the Po valley in northern Italy. In other words when tasting true Parmigiano or Stravecchio you are essentially tasting the Po valley. I had to learn all this in vet school there... tough class:). Maybe try a ricotta salata and a casciotta for the variety of tastes and textures or a burrata if you like a softer cheese. Ask the deli folks to give you 3 of their favorites as there is no one that knows better than the ones that are serving it to you.

Parmigiana Di Nonna Elena: Ok so there is no one on this earth that makes eggplant parmigian (Parmigiana) better than my mother-in-law. Sorry, she won’t even give me the recipe but the key is all fresh ingredients and grow your own plum tomatoes, eggplant, and olive oil at the base of your volcano in your back yard (Vesuvius in this case) Pair it with a a big bodied red such as this 2004 Brunello Di Montalcino, decanted and breathed out for a few hours….

Pan Seared Scallops Over Polenta: Try this yourself but best if you try to reproduce it after Andre makes it for you at Andres, In Newton, NJ.

La Tavolata: This is one of the best simple pleasures in life. I wish you many of these moments. A side note: A colleague was frustrated with the specialists that he was referring his cases to in that they just gave him too many differentials without answers. There was no gut feeling transmitted from them and he is a gut feeling kind of guy in his diagnostics as am I. So you ask what does this have to do with The Tavolata?” Well, I suggested to him in front of the group I was speaking to that he should search far and wide to find the specialists that are solid in what they do and that he would gladly have a beer with frequently…or in other words - join him at “The Tavolata.” This creates a long lasting and trusting relationship.