Chef Cesarina Mezzoni Channeled Italian Inspirations On Summer Menu Highlights
Having recently returned from an 8-week R&D trip to her homeland, Chef Cesarina Mezzoni has channeled her Italian inspirations into Cesarina Ristorante’s seasonal specials. Alongside gourmet pasta di giorno offerings, some newfound favorites can be found below.
Polpo Fichi e Basilico, a standout newcomer
When it comes to antipasti, sweet-and-savory combos reign supreme! Alongside returning favorites like the Prosciutto e Melone Insalata, Cesarina’s Polpo Fichi e Basilico is a standout newcomer. Chef Cesarina Mezzoni boils the octopus for this dish first, before grilling it quickly to finish. The extra-crispy polpo is glazed with a house-made fig compote and plated on bed of lemon-gold potatoes, frisée, fresh figs and “burrata e basilico.”
A new addition to Cesarina’s popular build-your-own pasta program, Marinella is a bright-tasting sauce inspired by a signature sugo from one of Rome’s most iconic trattorias, Da Felice. Fresh red sauce is whipped together with creamy oregano-garlic ricotta then served with perfectly ripe cherry tomatoes, a generous dollop of ricotta salata and basil.
Pappardelle al Sugo di Spuntatur
Among the curated pasta entrées, dubbed “Cesa’s Faves,” Pappardelle al Sugo di Spuntature is a modern take on an old-world recipe. Traditionally prepared as a hearty stew and served over polenta, spuntature is a quintessential demonstration of “cucina povera” and one of Chef Mezzoni’s most beloved comfort foods. Elevating the Roman dish, tender pork shoulder is braised in a simple tomato sauce, creating a rich ragù for Cesarina’s made-from-scratch pappardelle.
A handful of new cocktails also zero-in on Cesarina’s roots. Starring imported amaros and Italian-made liqueurs, the spirit-forward bevies include Lo Spritz Granat, a bubbly refresher with sweet vermouth, herbal genepì and fruity notes, and the Parenti Serpenti, a rye-based cocktail with a lovely balance of hibiscus and citrus.
“Bellissimo Chianti” | Cesarina Ristorante’s Wine Program
Introducing “Bellissimo Chianti,” Cesarina Ristorante’s first private-label wine hailing from the rolling hills of Tuscany. The propriety vintage comes through a partnership with Fattorio Lornano, a family-run winery in Castellina (Chianti). Certified under the Chianti Classico Consortium, Lornano is a celebrated producer whose winemaking philosophy is characterized by sustainable agriculture and dedication to the authentic character of the Sangiovese grape.
Shaped by the vineyard’s diverse soils and microclimate, the wine is fermented in 100% stainless steel tanks, followed by maturation in French oak barriques of second passage, before being bottled in a traditional straw-covered fiasco and embarking on its transatlantic journey to Cesarina Ristorante.
Available by the bottle or glass, in addition to on-site retail, Bellissimo Chianti is an intense ruby red color with an elegant bouquet of fresh fruit, currant and baking spices. On the palate, dark cherry and a touch of earthiness are surrounded by nice round tannins, making the medium-bodied wine a perfect pairing for any of Cesarina’s meat-driven pasta dishes or red sauces.
Alongside the new house chianti, Chef Cesarina Mezzoni’s wine program has undergone an overhaul. Shifting partiality towards boutique Italian wineries and ethically-sourced varietals, the revamp has ushered in several gems like Alfio Mozzi’s Sforzato (2013) and a Ribolla Gialla by Damijan Podversic (2017).
See you there
Cesarina is located at 4161 Voltaire St, San Diego, CA 9210. They open 12PM, Monday to Friday, and 11AM, Saturday to Sunday. They close at 9:30PM daily.
See you there, San Diego!