Bella Frutteto in Wexford gives you a taste of fall both savory and sweet
Fall is here, and it’s the perfect time to savor crisp, juicy apples.
One restaurant creating exceptional dishes with this delicious fruit is Bella Frutteto in Franklin Park, located across the street from Soergel Orchards, which supplies the apples used in the dishes.
You may think only dessert-like dishes can be made with apples, but Bella Frutteto is turning these sweet delicacies into savory dishes, starting out with one of the house specialties: Apple Bruschetta, a sweet take on this traditionally savory appetizer that’s perfect for fall. Chunks of crisp Granny Smith and Red Delicious apples are tossed with red onion and red peppers in a sweet-and-tangy balsamic vinaigrette and served with Italian toast slices drizzled with a balsamic glaze.
If you want more of a savory version, try the Bella Blue Bruschetta made with fresh Roma tomatoes, basil, red onion, red peppers, and gorgonzola cheese tossed in a garlic vinaigrette.
Don’t fill up too much on all the bruschetta bread, because each table receives a loaf of crusty, warm Italian bread and a plate of dipping oil combined with Parmesan cheese and herbs. In my opinion, it’s one of the best dipping-oil plates around. So much so, they’ll give you seconds and some to go if you ask, which is A-OK in my book.
Besides the various types of bruschetta, other expected appetizers fill the menu, including banana peppers stuffed with spicy Italian sausage and mozzarella cheese served with marinara, spinach dip, and beans and greens, to name a few.
Since this is an Italian restaurant, I suggest you stick to the pasta entrees. Another house specialty and the reason for dining here is the Apple Ravioli: chunks of tart Granny Smith apples sauteed in a fresh sage-butter sauce with amaretto, golden raisins and balsamic roasted figs are tossed with jumbo cheese ravioli. This dish combines the sweet apples and fruit with the savory rich, buttery sauce and creamy cheese-filled ravioli, a combination that is delightful to eat. This dish is served in a smaller appetizer size, too, and I can tell you — it tastes great the next day as leftovers pan-fried to a crisp golden-brown.
Ravioli is a popular dish here, as other types include: Mushroom Ravioli served in a porcini cream sauce, Lobster Ravioli in a pink vodka sauce, Butternut Squash Ravioli tossed in a sage-butter sauce with diced butternut squash and pumpkin seeds, and the current seasonal favorite, Pumpkin Ravioli in a butternut-and-sage cream sauce topped with sweet peppered pumpkin seeds.
The best dish I had while dining for this review was the Crab Manicotti, another seasonal special. Crab, ricotta, spinach and a roasted red-pepper mixture are stuffed into three manicotti shells and baked with a creamy Parmesan sauce and topped with an herb-butter breadcrumb mixture. Think of it as an elevated, adult version of the classic tuna-noodle casserole, but so much better. The crab stuffing is creamy and gooey, the sauce is rich and garlicky, and the bread crumbs provide a needed crunch. If you crave something to warm you up on a cold, fall day, this is it.
The pasta selections here are stacked, with other options ranging from lasagna and scallop carbonara to roasted red-pepper gnocchi with grilled chicken and steak gorgonzola: sauteed steak and spinach in a gorgonzola cream sauce served with penne and topped with gorgonzola crumbles and a balsamic glaze. There’s also a make-your-own-pasta option where you can pick your pasta shape, type of sauce, and protein, if you’re feeling creative.
I urge you to stick with the pasta entrees here because I tried one of the meaty entrees: Jalapeno Stuffed Skirt Steak: grilled skirt steak stuffed with bacon, cheddar cheese, and sweet red onion topped with a jalapeno-cream sauce and served with a side of vegetables and scoop of mashed potatoes. Though the steak was very tender and cooked well, the toppings and stuffing overpowered the dish, creating too many competing flavors, in my opinion. The vegetables tasted frozen and the mashed potatoes a bit boring.
There’s some nice entrée-sized salads, including the Harvest Chicken: Field greens tossed in a balsamic dressing with dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, topped with a cranberry-glazed chicken breast, cheddar cheese and sweet potato fries (because it’s Pittsburgh). It’s a nice, lighter option that still gives you a taste of fall.
Dessert, though, I had absolutely no problem with. Another house specialty is the Chocolate Bombe: a half-circle chocolate cookie crust stuffed with chocolate mousse on top a chocolate brownie. It’s served cold, topped with Frangelico cream, and complements a warm cup of coffee or cappuccino nicely. There’s also a jumbo cupcake of the day — which was sold out the last night I dined — pumpkin cheesecake, and gluten-free options like flourless chocolate cake and crème brulee.
The next time you find yourself in the ‘burbs, stop by Bella Frutteto to get a taste of fall.
Read more: http://triblive.com/aande/diningout/9410302-74/sauce-ravioli-sweet#ixzz3rJSa90dV
Follow us: @triblive on Twitter | triblive on Facebook