CELESTINO RISTORANTE & BAR
HOLIDAY MUSHROOM & TRUFFLE GOODNESS
The holiday season is upon us and while it is that most wonderful time of the year, it also means it’s time to marvel, cherish and appreciate the Holiday Mushroom and Truffle Menu at Celestino Ristorante & Bar in Pasadena throughout the month of December.
“This is my favorite time of year,” says owner and executive chef Calogero Drago. “Not only is it a time of joy with the holiday season approaching, but it is a time for hearty and delicious dishes that can be accentuated through the deep and earthy flavor of mushrooms and truffles. They just make everything better!”
The Holiday Mushroom and Truffle Menu is broken up into three categories: Morel Mushrooms, Porcini Mushrooms, and Fresh Quercetti Truffles from Italy. Each dish in these three categories highlights the differences in taste, texture and complexity of their respective “gifts from the earth.” For those who want to take luxury to an even higher level, Celestino also has the incredibly rare White Truffle on hand. Availability is very limited, so ask your server for the daily white-truffle specials.
During our recent visit to mushroom and truffle fest, we started with the divine Porcini Mushroom Soup with Black Truffle and loved its delicate and soothing taste, which left us wanting more mushrooms! It’s so simple, yet complex, rich and decadent. The flavors are unbelievable. Have this as your first dish and you’ve already set the tone for a truly wonderful meal.
Another favorite dish was the Veal Carpaccio with Shaved Fresh Truffle and Pecorino Cheese. This is such a tasty treat as the mushrooms accentuate the truffles and the combination with veal really brings this dish to life.
A great hearty selection is the Homemade Wide Pappardelle with Fresh Porcini Mushrooms, which showcases that heavenly wild forest floor flavor.
The Morel Mushrooms, most commonly found in their dried form, are only available fresh for just a very brief period each year. The rich, meaty flavor and texture of these fresh honeycombed mushrooms are portrayed with a rather simplistic elegance in dishes such as Tagliolini with Fresh Morel Mushrooms & Pecorino Cheese.
Porcini mushrooms are an edible wild mushroom whose fruit body can be described as having a dense, white stem. Popular dishes with porcini, besides the lovely soup with black truffle, and the pappardelle, include Risotto with Fresh Porcini Mushrooms, and the Roasted Rack of Veal with Porcini Mushrooms.
The most delicate of the mushroom trio available this season are the fresh Quercetti Truffles from Italy. Known for its unique mushroom shape, these delectable truffles make an appearance in a myriad of dishes on the Holiday Mushroom and Truffle Menu, including the Risotto with Shaved Fresh Quercetti Truffle, Gnocchi Stuffed with Mushroom in a Quercetti Truffle Cheese Sauce, and the Tortellini with Meat in Zaferan Percorino & Black Pepper Sauce. Other dishes in this section featuring these delightful truffles also include Chef Drago’s Filet of Sole with Mixed Vegetables and Shaved Quercetti Truffles.
“Even though we have a set Holiday Mushroom and Truffle Menu, it does not mean you won’t catch me creating yet another extravagant truffle treat throughout the season,” says Drago. “The only way to know what I am up to is to come in and experience it for yourself.”
This is a true delicacy available once a year. Don’t miss out. Reserve your table now as these treats are only around until the end of December.
Celestino Ristorante & Bar is located at 141 South Lake Avenue in Pasadena. Open for lunch Monday through Friday from 11am to 2:30pm and for dinner from 5:30pm to 10:30pm Monday through Thursda; 5:30pm to 11pm on Friday; 5pm to 11pm on Saturday and 5pm to 10:30pm on Sunday. Call 626.795.4006.
Story by Jose Martinez
Some Photography Courtesy of: Celestino Ristorante & Bar