You may already recognise the name Sacla when I mention pesto or pasta, but Sacla have recently launched their new fresh range, no longer bottled or jarred goods, but “pasta as it should be” with a bespoke dinner with Lee Behan and The Friday Food Club team.
Celebrating their 20th year, Sacla, the Pesto Pioneers, teamed up with Lee and his fabulous kitchen team to create a menu that would surprise myself and the chefs, writers and foodies invited along, just how creative you could be with prepared sauces or pasta.
On a lovely sunny Friday evening at the Auriol Kensington Rowing Club, we were welcomed with a chilled glass of Bruno Giacosa Extra Brut Spumante on the al fresco terrace, before we all started tucking into the gorgeous canapés of sage puffs with basil pesto and creme fraiche, crumbed quails eggs with an asparagus and white wine sauce that sat beautifully in individual white spoons, goats cheese and tomato pesto calzoncini, and my favourite, mussels with a pesto cream crumb.
The amuse bouche was a Coriander Pesto Pea Fritter with spiced green sauce, but despite the Italian range, it definitely tasted more Asian inspired which worked wonders for me. The Roero Arnies 2010 served alongside it worked well with the warmth of the sauces and crisp fritters.
The pasta dish was Sacla Trofie pasta with cherry tomato and wild garlic sauce, with shaved aged parmasan. This was the old Sacla that I knew of, and had to say, loved this. The sauce itself was sweet and tangy and the pasta was a nice change from the usual dull fusilli or penne that you’d find most casual ‘pasta’ evenings. Luckily enough, some of this Trofie was included in the Sacla goodie bag and all I could think about was what to make with it myself.
The main dish was arrancini and pork bitterballen served with spicy red pepper sauce and rocket percorino salad. Arrancini is a risotto rice ball, breadcrumbed and fried to produce a crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, delightful vegeterian dish that I’ve come across. Here, it oozed with melted mozzerella in the middle which I couldn’t get enough of. The spicy red pepper sauce was delightfully tangy with the pork bitterballen (a dutch mince ball with lemon zest). This was accompanied by a glass of Nebbiolo D’Alba 2008, a mellow and alluring red wine.
To finish the meal, we had just enough room for the Bison Grass Vodka and Mint Pannacotta with candied Pistachio and summer berries. I’ve never been a great fan of minty desserts however this pannacotta completely worked so well and was a delight to come across. It was a sexy dessert with a little booze and just enough wobble to make one giggle when it was placed down at the table.
The evening was a great success and everyone, including myself, had a fabulous time. Many thanks to Lee, Fi, Claire Blampied (Sacla UK’s Managing Director), and the Friday Food Club team for making it happen. Who know’s maybe a Modern Chef evening shall happen soon?
The menu was based on Sacla’s new fresh range, all of which is available in most Waitrose stores and Selfridge’s Food Hall now.
Check out the other reviews and pictures of the evening:
Other photographs of the evening can be found here.