I’m a notoriously fussy client. Known for entering a restaurant and asking for the lights to be dimmed. Or providing a hard disc with my personal music selection because theirs sounds like elevator music in a three-star airport hotel. Well, in this case I couldn’t find fault. My recent experience at Scrigno del Duomo just off the main square in lovely Trento was practically perfect. Amazing food, excellent presentation and great company (the SdD wasn’t responsible for the company, admittedly…) Scrigno del Duomo is both low-pressure wine bar and dressed-up gourmet restaurant. The former, at street level, offers an across-the-board range of Italian and foreign wines by the glass, and an impressive array of appetizers and snacks laid out on the counter if you’re not hungry enough to order something delectably light from the menu.
The restaurant proper is downstairs, past the open kitchen and through a wine cellar enclosed by part of the Roman city wall, in the vaults of a 17th-century town house. Down here, accomplished chef Alfredo Chiocchetti does the really serious food, revisiting local culinary traditions and flourishing a formidable creative streak. They keep over 750 labels down there in the wine cellar we passed through. I took that on trust. Menus change monthly and are posted on the site, where there’s also a booking service. Even recipes appear online. But not this one, for a wicked winter primo so good I had to beg manager Alessandro Bettucchi to let me try it at home. It’ll warm the cockles of your heart and more besides.
Creamy squash soup with finocchiona ravioli and cracklings, 4 portions.
For the soup you need 80g onion, 200g (net) squash, a bay leaf, 300 ml vegetable stock, 50 ml cream, 1 egg yolk, salt, pepper and sugar to taste and some olive oil (take it as a given that all olive oil is extra virgin). Fry the onion gently in olive oil. Add the cubed squash and the bay leaf, season and stir over a low heat for a few minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer until the squash is soft. Put it all in the blender, then add the cream and egg yolk mixed together and adjust the seasoning.
For the ravioli filling you need 100g of sweet potato purée, 100g of finocchiona (the ultimate Tuscan salami made with fennel seeds) cut into small cubes, 30 ml of delicate olive oil, 30g Trentingrana (the granacheese produced in or around Trento), 2g fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Mix all together and check the seasoning. Prepare ravioli as you would…
For the cracklings, chop 200g of lardo or cured back bacon with lots of fat, including the odd piece of vegetable and herbs to taste; place in an ovenproof dish and melt off the fat in a hot oven. Keep the crispy cracklings warm.
When the ravioli are cooked and made even more wantonly flavoursome with a dash of melted butter, sit them on a portion of creamy soup in each dish, scatter with cracklings and serve at once. Thanks, Alessandro! Opening times and contact details here