Italian Menu Project: Umbria

4 Course Umbria Menu  $46   

Lentils from Castelluccio.  Black Truffles from Norcia.  Five different DOP denomination varieties of olive oil. Foraged treasures like porcini mushrooms and chestnuts. Umbria is flush with local delicacies thanks to the web of rivers that keep this “cuore verde” (green heart) lush year-round.  As the only region of Italy that neither borders another country nor has a coastline, the cuisine is earthy, hyper-local, and simple—sometimes being referred to as cucina povera—peasant food. It’s primal red wines compliment spit roasted game meats cooked with an abundance of herbs and wild cardoons. Sheep’s milk cheeses–rubbed with tomato paste or buried in ashes in terracotta urns to age—have a unique richness that sets them apart from their salt rubbed Pecorini cousins.  

The austere style of Umbrian cuisine reminds us of the grounding effect of fall—the time of year we begin to root down and draw in, gathering our dear ones close for winter.

Crostini alla Norcina, Umbrian black truffles, anchovy butter, chicken liver

Porchetta, eggplant caponata, persimmon vinaigrette

Spaghetti Aglio, Olio e Pepperoncino, garlic, olive oil, chiles & savory

Butterscotch Budino, kabocha squash, ricotta salata crumble, pumpkin seeds

Umbrian Wine Flight  $22

The destination for Sagrantino.  Similar terroir to Tuscany to the west, with large plantings of Sangiovese, Merlot and Cabernet (resulting in super-Umbro reds), it is Sagrantino that sets this landlocked region apart.

Grecchetto, Arnaldo-Caprai ’14, Colli Martani DOC
What’s the Italian version of Apple Pie and Cheddar Cheese? From one of Umbria’s most esteemed producers, this 100% Grecchetto (a rarity, it’s usually blended with trebbiano or procanico) has a nose of parmesan rind and a finish of caramelized golden apples.

Sangiovese/Sagrantino/Merlot, Fongoli ’14, Montefalco Rosso DOC

Biodynamic from the top of Falcon Mountain, the Fongoli care about the soil and it shows.  Their fields are uncultivated. They age in used neutral oak.  Their wines taste like a meal, redolent with gamey, vegetal notes, a forward mulchiness and a backbone of rich, dark, baked fruit.  A lovely contract with the Napolini style.

Sagrantino, Napolini ’10, Sagrantino di Montefalco DOCG

Family-owned, hand harvested, fermented with wild yeast, very little intervention in the field, the Napolinis produce three reds from Sagrantino and Sangiovese.  The DOCG is macerated for 30-35 days and then aged in barriques and Slovenian barrels for 18 months.  The result is surprisingly soft ripe fig and plum up front with a backbone of tobacco, leather and molasses.

For every set menu sold, Mealshare US will provide a meal for a hungry child in Central Texas.  Thank you.