Well readers, it's almost Halloween. We've passed Canadian Thanksgiving, and US Thanksgiving is upcoming. Starbucks, Tim Horton's and other Cafés are offering Pumpkin Spice Lattés, and even great local restaurants like Fratelli's Authentic Italian Cuisine on the NW Freeway are finding interesting dishes to cook with this gourd/squash that can be prepared in savoury as well as sweet dishes. October and November (extended as of Oct. 24th!) Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays during dinner hours they're offering up a special Fall Pumpkin Menu. I was invited with a couple of others to sample their special dishes this evening, enjoyed the dishes immensely and now wish to share them with you, dear readers!Unfortunately, I did not get to try the Pumpkin ravioli due to arriving unfashionably late, but that's my opportunity cost. I will get out this way before end of the month and give it a try.
I can tell you that the pumpkin risotto was fabulous. Orange yellow instead of the usual white green, mostly savoury due to the pumpkin being wood roasted, but yet having that creamy consistency you'd expect from standard risotto.
The Cappelachi--thick ribbons of fresh pasta folded into a hat, filled with wood fire roasted pumpkin in a brown butter sage and roasted garlic sauce, topped with shaved parmigiana cheese, was a big hit with this diner. It started off chewy with the pasta, then turned buttery and sweet. The sweetness of the pumpkin filling was a nice contrast to the other flavours and textures, and the cheese gave it a little dose of salt and savoury for balance. I'd definitely order a dinner portion of this dish--totally worth the trip early in the week.
I know some folks feel like Pumpkin gets overdone in October and November, and when it seems that unimaginative chefs are just dumping canned pumpkin pie filling into other dishes, I can see how it could get trite. That is NOT what Fratelli's is doing at all. This is genuine pumpkin, cooked or fire roasted by Chef Teresa and her staff. No surprise to me since she grows herbs in planters on the West Side of the restaurant. Although she learned to cook in Mexico City, she learned how to cook robust, authentic Italian cuisine and that location has hung in there for 12 years and counting, so they're definitely doing this right in the cut throat market that is Houston.
If you've not made your way out there yet, I'd seriously advise checking them out. The Houston Press loves their Pasta Bolognese and several local foodies have raved about their wood fired thin crust pizzas.
Fratelli's Authentic Italian Cuisine is located at
10989 NW Freeway (on the south side, just east of 34th Street)
Houston, TX 77092
Mon-Thu 11 AM to 2:30 PM, 5 PM to 9:30 PM
Fri 11 AM to 2:30 PM, 5 PM to 10 PM
Sat 5 PM to 10 PM
Reservations Recommended Fridays and Saturdays
And remember to Eat Happy, Y'all!!!