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Greer's OC: Pair the perfect wines with Italian creations

July 14, 2010|By Greer Wylder

You are in for an Italian culinary treat. One of Orange County's most accomplished chefs, Franco Barone, former executive chef of Antonello Ristorante for nearly 20 years, and his wife, Donatella, are hosting their first wine dinner at 6 p.m. July 27 at their namesake Il Barone Ristorante in Newport Beach. You can taste his old-world-meets-modern-Italian culinary creations paired with Mission Wine Co. wines from Ciro Cirillo. Space is limited, and the wine dinner is priced at $65 per person, all inclusive.

Reserve your spot at Donatella@ilBaroneRistorante.com. For more information, visit http://www.ilbaroneristorante.com.

The dinner starts with assaggini, a selection of antipasto, thin slices of cured swordfish drizzled with orange, citrus mustard vinaigrette topped with baby greens and paired with a glass of Falanghina. Next dish is homemade thin pasta twills in a old fashion lamb ragú paired with Sangiovese Puglia. The second course, thin pounded medallions of beef tenderloin rolled with Parma prosciutto, provolone cheese, pine nuts bread crumbs and fresh herbs in a garlic white wine tomato sauce, paired with La Cattura. For dessert, fresh peaches and vanilla custard tarts served with caramel sauce and vanilla gelato, paired with Moscato d'Asti.

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If you can't make the wine dinner, you must stop in for lunch or dinner. Il Barone, a hidden gem, is one of our favorite Italian restaurants. From the kitchen, you can taste Donatella's mother's recipes, like her breadsticks and cannelloni di Mamma Giovanna, homemade crepes, braised beef and veal, tomato, mozzarella and parmigiano ($15) and Franco's homemade pastas and family tradition classics. You must try the grilled octopus salad with celery, red onions, arugula and lemon ($10); the homemade pasta twills in delicate rabbit ragu ($14); and the tasty vitello al vapore, veal scaloppini, steamed in a clay pot with lemon juice and herbs. And save room for dessert: layered chocolate mousse sponge cake with raspberry sauce, ricotta and mascarapone cheesecake, and raisins cooked in mosto sauce.

The restaurant is open for lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday and dinner from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Il Barone is at 4251 Martingale Way, Newport Beach. For more information, call (949) 955-2755.

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