The evolution of epicurean expression that is Massimo Navarretta has taken many beautiful forms along the more than 30 year journey. Along the way, I’ve been fortunate enough to express myself with restaurants like Enoteca, Scampi, and now Onotria. Growing up on a farm in the vibrant agricultural Italian town of Caserta I stay true to my roots and it is expressed in every dish, as I share glimpses of the first flavors introduced to me as a boy. Starting from my travels in culinary school, I came to understand how through food I could clearly express the essence of each regional cuisine.

Forging relationships with what were, at that time unknown artisanal wine producers (who would later become known as the great producers of their respective regions), I isolated the pronounced flavors inherent in the soil and paired them with local ingredients and intensifying the flavors of each hand crafted dish. This creative and calculated gamble has lead to one of the finest and most sought after cellars in Orange County, coupled with a menu offering dishes whose flavors are complimentary down to your last bite. I am pleased and honored to have you as my guest.

Mangia bene, vivi felice

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Warm Holiday Wishes

      I want to wish the warmest to you and your family from Onotria, as well as from me, Massimo Navarretta, and my family. I want to bring back some of the Christmas traditions of the Southern Wine Region of Italy. Onotria Wine Country Cuisine occasionally gets its own narrations of cultural culinary experiences. We also bring back some of those celebrations because culinarily speaking we are a country close to the water. We didn't do a lot of spending and gift giving but we did do a lot of sitting and eating and enjoying conversation with our family and friends. One of the most amazing parts of the Christmas celebration was the feast of the food. Because of our vicinity to the sea, we would go and pick up Calamari, Seppia, Clams, Octopus, and all of that translated into the dinner for Christmas Eve. As well as all of the seasonal greens: the Rapini, the Escarole, and the Fennels, chestnuts, Porcini mushrooms, Ovuli. Which make our Mediterranean diet such a wonderful healthy diet.
     One of the best memories as a kid would be the excitement in finding the mushrooms and chestnuts. Also sitting by the fire and watching the chestnuts pop, because if you don't cut them, they will explode, and we would have particular enjoyment at watching the old ladies jumping when the chestnuts would pop out of the ashes, of course, these days we would get lawsuits, but it was still fun.
For our seventh year anniversary we would like to enjoy a piece of our tradition with you at Onotria. Through the month of December, we're going to create a menu that reflects those traditions with a twist and an innovative touch. We're going to do the octopus poached with black olives, fresh fennels and Pacchino tomatoes, garlic, EVOO, and oregano. Linguini with Calimari and fresh Rapini. And of course the omnipresent fresh Merluzzo or Cod in a cassoulet, over sweet potatoes in a Moscato wine sauce and green olives, or classic deep fried with beer batter in a lemon dry Vermut sauce. Roast chestnuts whipped with fresh Marscapone in a chocolate cup Ganache. Buon Natale a tutti and the best to your family. Salute!

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