Cucina Alessa

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Italian cuisine

Cucina Alessa’s three locations serve up authentic homemade Italian cuisine at its finest. 

As a young boy in Naples, Alessandro Pirozzi spent his days in the kitchen with his grandmother and three sisters, learning the secrets of Italian cooking. Now, after graduating from culinary academy and working in the food industry in England, Scotland and Austria, the chef creates fresh, homemade dishes de Italia in his Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, and Huntington Beach restaurants.

“For me Italian food is from Venice to Sicily and everything in the middle. Every city has a specialized one item that is good, and I like to capture the best accents of every city dish. Our menu is like a trip to Italy with a little stop in Napoli,” says chef Pirozzi about his handcrafted blend of traditional and original Italian dishes. Seafood pasta featuring chunks of lobster, fennel and sherry reduction stuffed ravioli in a vodka cream sauce, invites guests to taste a morsel of his hometown, while a pappardelle bolognese jolts taste buds with an expedition to northern Italy.

True to his origin, chef Pirozzi and family members make pastas and sauce fresh from scratch seven days a week and import cheeses, oils, salts or any other ingredient that requires the unique Italian flavor flair. Although the extravagance of his dishes are unquestioned, chef Pirozzi insists that sometimes simpler is better.

“The best sauce for me to make late at night is what some people might call pomodoro. It is just roasted garlic and extra virgin olive oil, a bit of salt and fresh chopped tomato, cooked halfway down with cut basil. It is a delicious fast and easy sauce that everyone can make,” he says. While the layman may be able to blend the simple ingredients of the sauce, he may not have the garden of fresh herbs, tomatoes and peppers that Pirozzi keeps.

“People use us as a second kitchen,” says Pirozzi, whose menu ranges from a $4 salad to a luscious $35 dollar veal chop, not to mention the dessert menu. Tiramisu, crème brulee, ricotta cheesecake, spumoni and gelato are just an array of the sweets that are made in-house by the Pirozzi family and staff.

“We are all about making items homemade, daily and very fresh. We just like to do things basic, traditional and Italian!”

LAMB RAGU

Serves 12

Ingredients:
1 boneless lamb shoulder
1 onion, quartered
2 carrots, quartered
2 celery stalks, halved
2 roma tomatos, quartered
5 garlic cloves
2 rosemary sprigs
3 bay leaves
2 cups red wine
1/2 gallon beef stock
Salt and pepper

GARNISH:
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1 cup red wine

METHOD:
Season both sides of lamb shoulder with salt and pepper. Heat a pan on high flame with canola oil, and sear on both sides until golden brown. Remove lamb and saute vegetables. Add tomato paste and herbs when vegetables are cooked. Deglaze with red wine. Place lamb, vegetables and stock in a pan and cover with aluminum foil. Cook in a 300 degree oven for 4 hours. Remove from oven, uncover and let cool completely. Once cooled, shred the meat, removing any fat as you go. Strain cooking liquid and reduce by 1/4. Mix shredded meat with the finished sauce and garnish.

 For garnish: Heat a pan with enough oil to coat the bottom. Add mushrooms and saute. Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the chopped parsley and red wine. Reduce liquid until dry.

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