This is my first ever Pumpkin Fest and it’s a family dinner, all squashed around a table. Ha. It’s a gathering of near and dears to sample a series of pumpkin recipes. All of the courses need to involve our main ingredient in one form or another. It’s a time to celebrate harvest, a time to catch up after the summer ends. A time to drink some beer on a sunday night and anticipate pie.
Mezzomondo Trattoria in Studio City (http://www.mezzomondotrattoria.com/) was the site for this particular Pumpkin Fest. Elio Cavallari and his wife Luba, owners and operators, hold this all-out, veggie out kinda party. It’s not a permanent menu in place or a dining flight. It’s a special night for family. It gives Elio a chance to catch up with his daughter and friends. It also is the only time of the year the man from Milan makes his famous pumpkin ravioli in a sage butter. This ravioli you can only find here, and if you can make the trip, do. How far would you go for an amazing plate of pasta? I know I’ve brought toll-money on some such trips. You wait for the pasta with the anticipation of Christmas. It’s that good. When you arrive at Mezzomondo, the smell of the fresh roasted pumpkin fills the air.
This particular night we began with some Blue Moon’s Pumpkin Ale. Great tasting beer to start with was made even more satisfying with a pumpkin hummus. The pumpkins were roasted with chili peppers, cinnamon sticks and onion in a citrus water bath. Tahini, roasted garlic, fresh parsley and lemon were added and it all got scooped up on a fresh toasted pita chips. Major yummy flavor and the texture of fresh pumpkin versus canned, enormous. The hummus was fluffy and rich. The hummus was really really good. I know. I made it. Next a nicely rounded chardonnay was opened.
The second appetizer was a pumpkin sunflower seed cracker topped with a chicken liver mousse bolstered with cognac. The woodsy flavors danced nicely on the texture of the cracker. More often than not, this mousse can be a heavy way to start. There a many signs in New Hampshire warning you about heavy moose crossing. Either can ruin your appetite or Accord. On the side was a saute of bok choy and arugula with raisins. Drop that green goodness on top of the chicken liver and say “Ravioli per favore.”
Well, there was one more twist Elio decided to throw, pumpkin polenta with some savory sausage. Oooooooooh, it was good. I thought he was trying to kill us before the ravioli. The man has a very distinct sense of humor and has done worse for smaller laughs. Knowing he had many former employees at the table, and all considered family. he decided to express his passion for looking good, while eating well. Mind you his mastery of english can come and go with the harvest seasons. The topic was Hugo Boss clothing and his love of it. He proclaimed to the table, “Hugo Boss? I am Hugo Boss.” (it came out sounding like ‘you good boss’) Even if the comedy didn’t hurt your rib cage, the polenta was rib sticking.
Ravioli time! Served on a searing hot plate. The sage butter warming the nose and the taste buds from that toasty plate. We popped some cava to lighten the palate. The ravioli didn’t mind in the least. There aren’t many. And they need to be eaten slowly. They are that good. The recipe is guarded and the appearance at Mezzomondo, short-lived. These ravioli are outstanding on every level. The flavor, the texture and the smell all blew me off the terra-cotta tile. Hold on to your cava, here comes dessert.
Elio’s daughter and new husband prepared a pumpkin cheesecake pie with fresh whipped cream. My eyes were pumpkins at this point. It’s incredibly sweet to watch the nesting of a loving couple that lives to eat. First of all, they’re registry for wedding gifts brings them a wealth of kitchen accessories to create wonders from.They’re going to be experimenting with recipes and needing test guest palates for their wares. Second, their love can only go further with some laughs and good pie along the way. The way to the heart of someone you love……. . With this pie I are squared.
So this was the first Pumpkin Fest Dish It Out attended, hopefully not the last. You must go say Hi to Elio and Luba and give some of the ravioli a try. I can’t guarantee the full Fest’s menu will be available to you when you do, every one of us at the table brought something to share in the bounty. But do expect a warm welcome and a full heart.12415 Ventura Blvd
Studio City, CA 91604
Neighborhood: Studio City