At Donato Enoteca, creamy risotto is topped with roasted pork belly. The rice takes patience but you will have a beautiful risotto.
By Michelle M. Winner
Image Courtesy of Donato
Donato Enoteca is successful for so many reasons. The location, in Redwood City, part of San Mateo’s Silicon Valley, is one. The varied dining options and beautiful rooms to suit your mood are another; choose the Colleoni Room for elegance, the Gaja if you’d like a private room for 20, dine al fresco if you want to be outside on the patio, or take a seat in the modern and lively enoteca space to enjoy watching chef cook and the live music. But the main reason? It’s the sparkling service and the excellent food.
Executive Chef Donato Scotti creates weekly menus featuring cuisine from all regions of his native Italy. He utilizes the bounty of locally sourced produce, imports his burrata, prosciutto and cheeses, and his wine list focuses on smaller production wines from California, Italy and France. He offers house-made pasta, wood-fires his pizzas and has a nice touch with fish and meats. Your positive experience there will be the result of Chef Scotti’s expertise, curated fare, the talented kitchen and his experienced staff. The wines by the glass program is strong here, enabling you to enjoy the nuances of each pairing rather than trying to make a single bottle go with everything, which is also fine because they have some wonderful vintages too.
Image by Kurt Winner
This restaurant is one of my favorite places; one of my favorite courses was Carnaroli risotto Parmigiana with a glazed roasted Niman Ranch pork belly served over the top. I am certain the tender pork belly recipe must be a guarded secret but I can share with you my version of a wonderful, partially make-ahead risotto. But for the pork, you’ll have to make a reservation.
- 4 cups hot chicken stock
- 2 Tbsp salted butter
- 2 Tbsp finely diced shallots
- 2 cups Arborio rice
- ½ cup dry white wine
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (more to taste)
- 2 Tbsp butter
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Melt butter in heavy-bottomed pan. Sweat shallots in it over medium heat until soft approx. 1 minute
- Add rice to butter and stir for 2 minutes until each grain is coated.
- Add wine and cook 2-3 minutes until all wine has evaporated.
- Bring heat to medium high and add 2 cups of hot chicken stock.
- Stir and continue to sir once every minute for the next 8 minutes until the stock is almost absorbed.
- And one more cup and stir continuously.
- Bite into a piece of rice to test to see if it is al dente, not starchy.
- Continue to add small amounts of stock stirring until it is al dente.
- Spread on tray to cool.
- Refrigerate until needed.
- To finish cooking:
- Put back in pot with ½ cup hot stock and stir for 8 more minutes.
- When cooked add Parmesan, second portion of butter, salt and pepper. Serve hot
Michelle was born with a fork in her hand. As a culinary travel writer and confirmed foodophile she delights in the world-wide discovery of new flavor profiles, spices, salts and herbs. Based in one of the world's foodie meccas; Portland, Oregon, not far from "Pinot Noir Heaven" Michelle shares culinary travel and chef's recipes. Her photography has appeared in Saveur Magazine and she has contributed culinary travel articles to Forbes online, WSJ online, Business Insider, Condé Nast Digital Media, Islands magazine and many others. A confirmed globetrotter, she still keeps her bags packed and fork in hand (well . . . except through airport security.)