Monday, July 5, 2010

Bring Milan to Your Dining Table

Restaurateur Gia Suarez, proprietor of Bravo Ristorante Italiano in Makati's Salcedo Village, shares with Travelife readers some of her favorite, simple Italian recipes from the Northern Italian city of Milan, which is featured in the June-July issue of Travelife Magazine (see Katrina Encanto's account of three weeks of studying design and enjoying life in Milan).

Milanese Cooking From Gia’s Italian Kitchen

Italian cuisine varies depending on which region of Italy it comes from, writes Gia, in the June-July issue of Travelife Magazine. Depending on their location, regions blessed by differing climates of the Mediterranean, North Africa, and Europe, will surely generate different produce, which in turn influences the local gastronomy.

The olive oil dishes that we’ve come to associate so closely with Italian cuisine is generally native to Southern Italy, since the Mediterranean sun and sea favors the growth of olive trees, and their round acerbic fruit. Conversely, many dishes from Milan, in Northern Italy’s Lombardy region, contain a lot of milk, butter, and cheese, from the livestock that thrive on the grassy fields.

At Bravo Ristorante Italiano, we embrace Milanese cooking, and our spreads like the creamy Artichoke and Spinach Spread, flavorful Garlic Cheese Spread, and the rich Salmon Mousse reflect this appreciation. Adding a little versatility to the dish, Bravo’s Artichoke and Spinach Spread is perfect as a fondue, or even a pasta sauce.

Spaghetti Carbonara is another well-known Milanese dish, and quite close to Filipino hearts and stomachs. At Bravo Ristorante Italiano, we prepare the popular northern Italian dish with gorgonzola, a pungent blue cheese made from cow’s milk. Interestingly, the dish was supposedly invented by a cook of the Carbonari, a group of Italian revolutionaries who fought for Italian independence from the end of the 18th century, from ingredients easily available on hand.

Yet another Milanese specialty is the slow cooked, richly flavored Ossobuco, also available at Bravo Ristorante Italiano. It pairs perfectly with Risotto alla Milanese, another Milanese prepared with saffron, butter and wine.


A perfect appetizer – or antipasti as the Italians call it – this dish not only tastes and looks good, but it also makes for entertainment, especially if penalties are accorded to those who drop their crostini in the fondue.

1 bottle Bravo Artichoke & Spinach Spread
1 box Bravo Crostini
Grated Parmesan cheese

Pour the Artichoke & Spinach spread into a microwaveable bowl and top generously with parmesan cheese. Microwave until cheese turns brown, then serve hot or over a fondue burner with crostini. Serves 3-4.


Despite simple ingredients, this recipe makes for a hearty dish that is perfect in a gathering of family or friends.

210 grams Spaghetti, cooked “al dente”
1 bottle (210 grams) Bravo Artichoke and Spinach spread
150 grams Blanched spinach, drained
70 grams Cream cheese
35 grams Butter
200 grams Beef tenderloin, sliced into strips
15 grams Grated parmesan cheese

Over a low fire, sauté the beef in butter until brown, and reserve. Mix the Bravo Artichoke and Spinach spread and cream cheese in a bowl. Add the blanched spinach to the spread and cream cheese mix. Toss in the pasta, the beef, and mix evenly. Transfer to a serving plate, sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese, and serve hot. Serves 3-4.

Bravo Ristorante Italiano is located at 114 H.V. dela Costa St., Salcedo Village, Makati. Call 886-7885 or 750-3378 for reservations, or visit

Bravo sauces, spreads and salad dressings are available at Rustans, Shopwise, S&R, Landmark, SM, Tropical, Waltermart, Cherry, Parco and Pioneer Supermarkets.


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