The essences of Italian cuisine are family and freshness. Blending locally produced ingredients with recipes from past generations to create unique and tasteful dishes is the fundamental element of Italian culture. As Italian families migrated to other countries, Italy’s gastronomical heritage has spread throughout the world, often adapting to available local ingredients.
In San Francisco and inland among the Napa vineyards, the culinary heritage of Italy remains alive and well. Renowned Executive Chef Matthew Accarrino of SPQR in San Francisco honors his Italian heritage by directly sourcing locally grown ingredients for recipes that optimize the flavors and textures of the “old country.” He has been known to feature some produce from Hill Family Estate’s very own secret garden at his restaurant in the city.
And, while pairing his creations with the perfect wines from Napa wineries, Executive Chef Matthew presents the best combinations possible.
Here is one of the Chef’s most delightful salad recipes. Burrata is a soft, flavorful cheese with an almost liquid center commonly enjoyed in the southern Italy region of Puglia. The flavors of the cheese blend beautifully with vegetables and pairs well with Hill Family Estate Reserve Chardonnay in particular.
Burrata with Green Goddess Dressing Avocado and Broccolis
By: Matthew Accarrino
4 cups mixed broccolis (broccoli, Romanesco, rapini, and/or broccolini), cut into bite-size pieces
1 clove garlic, roasted
¼ cup mascarpone cheese
¼ cup mayonnaise
6 tbsp chopped herbs (chives, parsley, tarragon)
½ lemon, juiced
1 ½ tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1-2 ripe avocados, divided
Salt & pepper, as needed
2 4-oz burrata cheeses
1 cup mixed sprouts (alfalfa, lentil, broccoli and/or onion)
½ cup baby kale leaves
½ cup country bread croutons, crushed
Coarse sea salt, as needed
Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
Blanch the broccolis in boiling salted water for 2-3 minutes until crisp-tender, then shock in an ice bath. Drain well and transfer to a mixing bowl.
To make the green goddess dressing, combine the garlic, mascarpone, mayonnaise, chopped herbs, lemon juice, olive oil and half an avocado in a food processor. Pulse to combine and blend until smooth. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.
Dress the broccolis with some of the dressing and a pinch of salt, reserving the remaining dressing.
On four plates place a spoonful of the dressing. Cut each burrata in half and place half on each plate. Arrange the dressed broccolis around the burrata. Garnish with sprouts, kale leaves and thick slices of avocado. Sprinkle the crushed croutons over top and finish with a pinch of coarse sea salt on the burrata and avocado and drizzle olive oil over the top.
About the Chef
Executive Chef Matthew Accarrino combines his strong Italian culinary heritage with extensive classical training under the tutelage of some of America’s top chefs. After arriving in the Bay area in 2007, Chef Matthew expanded his portfolio of popular creations by taking advantage of the glorious bounty of California’s extensive farm-to-table offerings.
Currently, Matthew is the Executive Chef of San Francisco’s famous SPQR Restaurant where he has received national recognition by introducing many exciting and unique offerings. Under Matthew’s leadership and direction, SPQR (“The Senate and People of Rome” in Latin) has earned a Michelin star for eight consecutive years. He has also been nominated for and earned a variety of awards including “Best Chef: West” by the James Beard Foundation for five straight years and Food & Wine’s “Best New Chef” award in 2014.
Committed to direct sourcing to ensure freshness, Accarrino participates directly in the supply chain development of many of his special ingredients. And, very importantly, he has established close relationships with some of the iconic Napa wineries to create the perfect pairings for each of his creations.
In October 2012, Chef Matthew co-authored an important book titled “SPQR: Modern Italian Food and Wine.” The cookbook and wine guide celebrate the rich regional food traditions of Italy and many modern innovations in Italian cuisine.
Hill Family Estate Napa winery in Yountville enjoys bringing tasty recipes to pair with our wines. Follow our blog for more new and creative ideas for your next dinner party.