Friday, May 13, 2016

Jamie's Food Revolution Recipe Series: My Spaghetti Bolognese and Jamie's Italian Pastas...

I had been asked what my favourite go-to recipe is, and I would have to say out of everything I cook, hands-down it has to be Spaghetti Bolognese (a hearty spin on Jamie's ten Cook For Your Life recipes-- Classic Tomato Spaghetti). It is so versatile, you can use a variety of meats, or in combination and/or a whole whack of veggies, that could be hidden in the delicious sauce and enjoyed by the pickiest of eaters. I like to use up the odd bits and ends of veggies in the fridge and simmer my sauce for two hours to get tender melt-in-your mouth morsel after morsel bite. Jamie says of his classic tomato spaghetti, "it is a great introduction to pasta for kids – loads of fun to eat, and a brilliant base for adding all kinds of other fresh ingredients.”

Speaking of pasta, the family was super excited to dine at Jamie's Italian restaurant in Toronto's Yorkdale this weekend to celebrate our wedding anniversary of 13 years! I'm in Jamie recipe mode, gradually cooking up his ten recipes for my family and with my friends, and I thought where else would I want to try and dine? Jamie's menu features a nice array of delicious pasta creations which I hope to try a few with my husband and kids. And it hit me just like that.... it literally dawned on me after weeks of planning my own rah-rah Food Rev day events with Real Food For Real Kids and Northview Heights Secondary Culinary Department to inquire, what the heck they had planned for Food Revolution Day! :)

Big-Batch Spaghetti Bolognese

Jamie’s Italian is Jamie Oliver’s first North American restaurant at Yorkdale Mall. Family-friendly Italian dishes of pastas, pizza, mains and salads are made with sustainable, ethically sourced and local-when-possible ingredients. They also have an appetizing kids menu that offer adult-loving flavours such as Salmon in a Bag and Seven Cheesy Pasta.

Lots of Jamie's cookbooks, chopping boards and Jamie branded napkins 
handsomely on display off the front foyer into the main dining room.

The busy bustling bar scene on Saturday at 5pm...

The view from the second floor onto the bar dining area...

I asked to speak to the head chef of the night and here is Chef Simona. She approached my table and we started gabbing about Food Revolution Day! I was stoked to hear their team has invited 20 middle school children to partake in a cooking activity to make Jamie's DIY Oaty Fruity Cereal-- one of his ten recipes but one which Jamie is particularly highlighting to emphasize the importance of a nutritious breakfast to start your day off right. They will contact me further next week to provide me more details so I can share back to my local and global Food Revolution team! So exciting and fun!!

With Jamie's Italian Chef Simona

Appetizers consisted of Artisan Breads-- house-baked focaccia, ciabatta, carta di musica, sourdough, grissini served with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic and black olive tapenade, Pork and Fennel Meatballs-- slow-cooked pork meatballs in a fiery arrabbiata sauce with lemony gremolata and Crispy Squid with garlic and lemon mayo, chilli, parsley and fried garlic.

Pork and Fennel Meatballs with spicy sauce on top (original) and ours on the side.

Crispy Squid with garlic and lemon mayo

Enjoying a variation of Singapore Sling-- YUM!

Here comes our mains...

Serving up deliciousness with charming server Dawson!

Fresh Crab Spaghetti with garlic, capers, chilli, fennel, parsley, anchovies, lemon and olive oil. Loads of crab and just the right amount of oil to smoothly tie all the flavours together on al dente noodles. I just loved the bite of fennel and capers, and the hint of chilli was perfect.

Tagliatelle Bolognese is Jamie's first restaurant boss and ongoing respected mentor Chef Gennaro’s original pork and beef Bolognese recipe with hints of fresh rosemary-- slow-cooked and served with pangrattato and Parmigiano Reggiano. Such a hearty, succulent and flavourful sauce on top of complementary ribbon noodles! YUM!

We asked for no cheese and breadcrumbs were topped instead.

A charcuterie cured meats board for uno-- Fennel salami, pistachio mortadella, prosciutto and schiacciata piccante served with mini buffalo mozzarella, pecorino & chilli jam, a selection of pickles, olives and a crunchy slaw.

Two tomato cans act as pillars to anchor the cured meats board. How neat!

And of course, how can we bring our kids to an Italian restaurant without ordering pizza. Jamie's Italian serves up nice thin pies-- this one Margherita with Sicilian tomato as the base, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. Mmm... just like nonna makes it.

This was definitely a nice dining experience for the family to mark a special occasion. We ordered off the regular menu for everyone and shared, and most of the dishes were appreciated by my kids. Dessert was a simple three scoop fruit sorbet of each lemon, mango and strawberry, and three spoons for five mouths to savour! Thank you Jamie's Italian, and looking forward to hearing, seeing and retweeting all the wonderful fun action at your kids' cooking event on Food Revolution Day May 20th!

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