We try to have at least one meal at 'Il Gallo Nel Pozzo' in Panicale's sweet little piazza every time we stay here in Umbria. Each time we've eaten here, we have had a wonderful time...even once when we just popped in for dessert.
Saturday night was no exception.
We were embarrassingly late for our reservation, and I felt awful...but Simone, the owner and front man, put us right at ease, and we settled down and relaxed into the evening.
Simone Gallo is the son of Aldo and Daniele Gallo, who own Bar Gallo just across the piazza. It's a nice situation all around. Lorena, Simone's wife, runs the kitchen with the help of Gianmarco Costantino and Carlo Serio. It works for us.
We sat down to take a look at the menu, and were brought a tasty little bite...
Super thin and crispy bread with new olive oil infused with ginger. It was refreshing and unusual. I liked it very much.
Simone knows our favorite Umbrian white wine, which is Grechetto, and he chose a nice one for us
This particular bottle came from the hills around Lago Trasimeno, so even better. It's a variety we have come to love, and we rarely see it back home in California.
My starter was just perfect...a seasoned pecorino flan with caramel pears and pistachios. Salty from the pecorino, with a nice sweetness from the pears. A wonderful combination. Great textures, too. The pistachios are special from Sicily,where Lorena comes from. When she visits family there, she brings back goodies to share.
|The pomegranate bits were a nice touch, and the little green 'swipe' is pistachio cream.|
Johnny had polenta with a touch of rosemary, porcini mushrooms and gorgonzola. Also a beautiful presentation, with color from pomegranate and new season olive oil. This was almost like a lasagna, rich and creamy and full of flavor from the porcini and cheese.
I'm glad we always share!
Fortunately, the servings are not large...just the right amount for a starter, and so flavor forward.
|Ready for round two!|
|Blurry, but happy.|
Kind of the story of my life.
We really enjoyed sitting downstairs, where we could chat with Simone and Lorena when they had a moment. I love it when Lorena pops out to ask how we like everything...there is a bit of a language barrier, but enjoying good food transcends this situation, and we all have a good time.
Next up, our main dishes of pasta with spinach on the side.
|We love the way greens are served here. Simple, with lots|
of good olive oil, salt and a touch of lemon. Sometimes a bit of chile, too,
I ordered the 'umbricchelli', a thick hand rolled pasta... made in house, of course. This type of very simple pasta can be found throughout Italy, with different names. In Umbria, it's umbrichelli.
On this night, it was served with a pesto of dried tomatoes from Sicily, on top of a fragrant leek cream sauce.
Fantastic...the pasta was perfectly al dente, the pesto rich and tangy...and I love anything with leeks. A very nice dish.
Johnny had a great dish, too...tagliolini, a thin pasta, with sautéed radicchio and Cannara red onion served on home made apple sauce.
This dish would normally be served with pork sausage, which makes total sense, but Simone was just fine with letting us leave the sausage in the kitchen.
It was a really tasty combination. The red onions are a regional specialty, and they have a nice sweetness to them. This played well with the bitterness of the radicchio. Deep flavors all around.
The pasta itself was divine...great silkiness and a perfect bite.
A great choice for a chilly autumn evening.
|Yes, we did.|
While deciding on dessert(!), we spotted the painting of Panicle that Johnny gave Simone and Lorena last year...it was nice to see!
|Just up the stairs...|
What we like about this place, is that the kitchen is creating modern versions of traditional fare. Always something interesting for vegetarians, too. It's a nice change.
I guess I have to quit writing.."we rarely order dessert"...because it would be a big fat lie. We have been really enjoying desserts for a couple of years now, I must say. Normally we split one (another big old lie, I'm afraid), but we went for two, because they both sounded too good to resist.
|Dark chocolate tart with mandarin cream and a candied fig.|
This was an intense bite..90% chocolate..very special, and almost like coffee in flavor.
I loved the mandarin cream sauce with it.
|Chestnut cheese cake with salted caramel.|
Need I say more? Soooooo good.
Cute presentation, too.
We will look forward to returning again in the spring, which will offer a totally different menu. It's fun to be here in different seasons, just to experience the changing menus throughout the area.
Thanks you, guys, we had a great dinner. As always...!
If you find yourself in the area of Lago Trasimeno, make a point to enjoy lunch or dinner at:
Il Gallo nel Pozzo