By Alison Bailin Batz
Though some serve comfort food and others fusion, most of the Valley’s chefs share one very special thing in common – Mom (or Grandma). In fact, many have such a deep connection to the women in their lives that they offer culinary creations directly inspired by them. Dive right into six chefs’ favorite dishes that are reminiscent of their childhoods, homelands and, most of all, their families.
Chef: Stefano Fabbri
Mom: Marisa Fabbri
Dish: Campanelle verdure, $15.95
About: Handmade campanelle pasta tossed with freshly made pesto and sauteed zucchini, mushrooms, broccolini, eggplant and grape tomatoes, topped with grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for a healthful, flavorful vegetarian dish.
Info: 8977 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480.998.1366; www.pomopizzeria.com.
“As with most children, getting me to eat my vegetables was a frequent challenge for my mother – and she found pasta was the way to do it. This is an homage to her cleverness, and the pesto recipe is hers. It’s fresh, peppery and aromatic but doesn’t overpower the other flavors of the dish. The vegetables in her campanelle would change depending on the season, but I use my personal favorites year-round.”
Kitchen West at The Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch
Chef: Rick Dupere
Mom: Katherine Dupere
Dish: Fried mesquite honey cheese curds with cherry jam, $11
About: A Southwestern spin on a Midwest favorite with honey mustard and a secret ingredient from Mom – her highbush tart cherry jam sauce for dipping.
Info: 7700 E. McCormick Pkwy., Scottsdale; 480.596.7522; www.destinationhotels.com/scottsdale-resort.
“I inherited hundreds of cookbooks and cooking magazines from my mother. She had no problem interpreting exotic recipes with ingredients that were locally available to us and loved experimenting with sauces. While some of the family shied away from some of her creations, I was never afraid to try anything. This cherry jam recipe is in honor of one she always made, often on holidays.”
Chef: Pauline Martinez
Mom: Julie Micakaj
Dish: Chicken on the coup, $12.59
About: Sausage and sage stuffing is crisped on the griddle and then topped with peppery sausage gravy and two eggs.
Info: 6501 E. Greenway Pkwy., Scottsdale; 480.998.6026; www.perkeatery.com.
“My mom always used to make a sauce with smoked sausage. During Thanksgiving, we’d always have leftover stuffing so I would add cream to her sauce and crisp up the leftover stuffing. More than just a hit with our family, it’s one of our most popular dishes on the menu – it was even featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Talavera at Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North
Chef: Samantha Sanz
Mom: Olga Bojorquez
Dish: Pan-seared salmon with a calabacitas tart and salsa trocadero, $40
About: Pan-seared salmon is paired with a tart made of calabacitas, tomatoes, caciocavallo cheese and salsa trocadero, which is a tomato-based sauce.
Info: 10600 E. Crescent Moon Drive, Scottsdale; 480.513.5085; www.talaverarestaurant.com.
“My mom would always cook lunch for us after school. One of my all-time favorites was her calabacitas. I took her dish and made it something completely different and refined by transforming it into a tart that resembles veggie lasagna. The salsa trocadero is a sauce made at my family’s restaurant, which is located in Sonora, Mexico.”
Chef: Josh Bracher
Mom: Beth Aiello
Dish: Cabbage rolls, $19
About: Cabbage stuffed with pork, beef and rice is braised in pomodoro sauce, served over Boursin mash, and topped with bryndza cheese.
Info: 10050 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480.477.1390; www.sonatasrestaurant.com.
“We had a lot of European culture growing up, especially with my mother’s side of the family being Finnish. One of my mom’s signature dishes was cabbage rolls, which I always devoured. The cabbage roll is found in nearly every European region, but often with a cultural twist. My favorite that she would make was of Lithuanian origin and has been on our menu since our inception.”
Chef: Azucena E. Tovar
Mom: Maria Esperanza Olvera Garcia
Dish: Pollo con calabazas y crema chipotle, $19.95
About: Chicken breast with chopped zucchini in a creamy, zesty chipotle sauce.
Info: 2534 N. Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale; 480.994.1799; www.lossombreros.com.
“There is nothing quite like the way your mom makes something. When I moved here from Mexico, I missed so much of her cooking, especially her steak mole dish and her insanely flavorful chicken with cream sauce, so this recipe is a near replica – with a few twists like my addition of spicy chipotle to the cream. I also take out the bones, which are actually used in a lot of Mexican cooking for additional flavor, but not always so popular here.”