Annette has fond memories of Venice, so we turned to that fair city for the third in our Exploring Italy series of celebratory birthday feasts. Most of the dishes came from Anna Del Conte's The Classic Food of Northern Italy.
- A Cato Corner Hooligan cheese (one of Annette's favorites) and some Reggiano Parmesan with a bottle of Allegrini Palazzo delle Torre 2009
- Risi e Bisi: a hearty traditional soup of rice and baby peas with crushed fennel seed
- A bottle of Secco-Bertani Valpolicella 2008
- Baccala Mantecato on Broiled Polenta: another Venetian classic that was far more delicate than we expected from the salt cod.
- A bottle of an excellent, chocolatey San Giuseppe Amarone della Valpolicella 2003.
- Stewed Savoy Cabbage: cored and quartered Savoy cabbage cooked on a soffrito of panceta, onion, and parsley and then braised in white wine - the surprise hit of the evening!
- Stuffed Sole (spinach, golden raisins, pignoli) in a Venetian Saffron Sauce (a reduction of the fish poaching liquid with saffron and a bit of sugar).
- For dessert we had something non-Italian: a cranberry mincemeat pie made by a friend and brought down by Annette.