100 Favorite Dishes: Risotto frutti di mare from Firenze a Tavola
No. 68: Risotto frutti di mare from Firenze a Tavola
Upstairs, in the convivial, bright-lit dining room of Parisi, the tables are littered with irresistible airy pizzas and housemade pastas, frilly salads and hearty sandwiches, and there's not an empty seat in the house. Downstairs, in Firenze a Tavola, the rusticated, moodily-lit quarters curated with sconces, wine bottles -- all Italian -- stone and brick accents, blond wooden chairs and brown harvest tables, the mood is flavored with romancing couples, winos -- serious winos -- and the rest of us who congregate to take advantage of the monthly-changing menus from owner Simone Parisi, who only serves dinner in the subterranean hearth Wednesday through Saturday.
This month's board, tricked out with osso bucco, frito misto and several pastas, is one of the most challenging -- challenging, that is, for anyone who doesn't want to implode, because everything on the damn menu reads like a love letter to Italy, except that the descriptors aren't sappy, or wistful, but pure and present. Parisi has long been lauded for its risotto, made with Acquerello carnaroli rice, sown using organic farming methods, and while it's expensive, it's also one of the reasons why the risotto here is so perfect. The beads are creamy, plump and tender, streaked with the orange of saffron and soaked in a simple shellfish stock, and the shellfish -- an arrangement of butter-poached petite lobster tails, mussels and shrimp that retain their oceanic pride -- is cooked with the same mastery as the risotto.
Hungry for more? All the dishes in our countdown are linked below:
No. 94: Seafood soup from Farro
No. 73: Gumbo from Bistro One
In late 2009, we embarked on a culinary journey that took us through our favorite dishes in the Mile High City -- one hundred, to be exact -- as a precursor to the Best of Denver 2010 issue. Now we're back with round two, counting down (in no particular order) a hundred more of our favorite Denver dishes in a list that, by our imperfect calculations, should be wrapped up by the time the Best of Denver 2011 hits the streets on March 31. In the meantime, if there's a dish you think we need to try, tell us about it in the comments section below, or shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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