Text and Fotos by Fiona S. Escandor
AFICIONADOS of Italian cuisine have a lot to look forward to this summer, as Acqua at Shangri-la’s Mactan Resort & Spa introduces its new menu. The restaurant offers a breadth of new flavors — from a fusion of heirloom recipes and contemporary flares — while keeping up with its reputation of serving dishes made with the finest and freshest ingredients.
The resort’s Italian Chef Gianfranco Pirrone led in introducing the new dishes to media guests last March 13. A six-course dinner preview was served, starting with a mussels and calamari tomato soup as entrée, then with the main course of layered eggplant cake inspired by a family recipe of the chef’s, and ending with the classic tiramisu topped with mascarpone mousse as dessert.
Served in between were the appetizing pasta selection consisting of the red agnolotti filled with buffalo mozzarella in a bed of basil pesto sauce, and the zesty spaghetti with scallops in citrus pesto. Chef Gianfranco, who hails from Sicily, shared that the new menu is a combination of famous dishes from northern Italy, characterized by creamy butter-based sauces, and from the southern regions, which are prepared mainly using olive oil.
The new menu will be available in Acqua by April. The poolside Italian restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For reservations, contact 231-8224.
Italian Cooking up close
Prior to the menu preview, a cooking demo also led by Chef Gianfranco was held in Acqua. He revealed how to prepare two of the restaurant’s well-loved dishes, which will still be included in the new menu, namely the saffron risotto with shrimp (risotto zafferano e gamberi) and the fettuccine with truffle and porcini mushroom cream sauce (fettuccelle al tartufo e porcini). Fresh ingredients plus a discriminating taste in mixing in the spices are essential in whipping up a delectable serving of the two. Check out the recipes below:
Saffron risotto with shrimp
* Sauté onion and garlic bits in oil or butter
* Add toasted risotto rice and cook until translucent
* Pour white wine and stir until absorbed; add saffron stock
* Continue to add stock and stir until the risotto is thick and glossy
* Add parmesan cheese, shrimps; leave risotto to sit for a few minutes for the flavors to settle.
* * *
Fettuccine with truffle and mushroom cream
* Sauté onion and garlic bits with butter
* Add dried porcini mushroom
* Pour cream
* Season with salt, pepper
* Add fresh fettuccine pasta
* Add parmesan cheese and truffle oil and sauté
* Stir in fresh herbs before serving