One of the few times Italian cuisine was introduced to the people of Pakistan was during Chef Vittorio Castellani’s -- also known as, Chef Kumalè -- visit to Pakistan. Numerous people had the opportunity to observe, learn and test their culinary skills through Chef Kumalè’s demonstration of Italian recipes at Avari Towers and Master Class Pakistan.
The demonstration at Avari Towers entailed an audience filled with food bloggers and members of the Italian Consulate who had the opportunity to see how an authentic Italian dish comes to life. The four course meal included an appetizer, two main dishes and a dessert, each unique and delicious in their own way.
The aubergine appetizer which is known as Caponata in Italian, was a starter solely prepared with eggplant and tomato sauce as the primary ingredients. It was a combination of crunchy and smooth texture amalgamated into one with the unique mix of oils and herbs used to enhance its flavours.
One of the items definitive in Italian cuisine is pasta. Chef Kumalè prepared an authentic Italian pasta with walnut sauce. Interestingly, he did not jump right into the dish. The initial stages included a detailed discussion on the difference between local and international cheese products and the authenticity of the dish with each type of ingredient used. The resultant pasta was not only light in flavor, but had the most delicate texture in its outlook.
The second main course was the baked lamb with a side of potatoes. The meat was succulent and cooked to medium rare for about forty five minutes. Despite the wait, this dish was a favourite among all eaters for its flavourful spices, chewy texture and aromatic smell. All three combinations were contributed by the mix of oregano, chili pepper flakes and extra virgin olive oil used.
To end it all, the dessert was a simple Amretta chocolate pudding, also called Bonet in Italian. The wait for this dish was the longest with a cooking time of up to 1.5 to 2 hours, but definitely worth it due to its rich taste. The dessert was a combination of chocolate and caramel sauce layered over a generous base of amaretti biscuits. A deep spoon of the whole dish left a variety of flavours for one to enjoy from sweet to bittery.
No one represented Italian cuisine better than Chef Kumalè. The overall introduction to the famous recipes were not only delicious, but well thought out and explained with patience for everyone to understand their true essence. We hope foreign cuisines continue to make their way in the Pakistani market and make desis understand how food is not merely about extra oil and spices.