Irresistibly Italian Prosciutto!

Columns Ono, You Know

January 20, 2013

Story By: Alana Folen | Photos by: Leah Friel

Italy is beckoning me. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve been back to my fatherland, but I think this year is the perfect time to make that much anticipated journey back to Southern Europe. What do I not love about Italia? The moment I set foot in Rome, I feel right at home in this bustling city, and then taking in the beauty and charm of Positano, a village and commune on the Amalfi coast, is breathtaking. The sights and sounds of Italy awaken my senses, yet it’s the classic cuisine that feeds my soul. Italian fare is characterized by its extreme simplicity and ingredients that center around premier quality and freshness.

Take prosciutto, for example, a dry-cured ham that is usually thinly sliced and served to your liking. Prosciutto is made from either a pig’s or wild boar’s hind leg or thigh, and the process of making this coveted meat can take anywhere from nine months to two years, depending on the size of the ham. It’s believed that the most renowned and expensive legs of prosciutto come from central and northern Italy.

Such a simple food boasts a supreme flavor and is often served as an antipasto, on top of pizzas or in sandwiches. This week, it was my pleasure to partake in true Italian prosciutto at the following Ono, You Know establishments. The secret to a great prosciutto lies in the delicate sweetness and buttery texture of the meat, which is said to result from the re-

strained use of salt during the curing process. Molto delizioso!

Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar

Italian authenticity seeps from every crevice of Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar at Royal Hawaiian Center in Waikiki. Behold a menu that boasts an impressive array of delectable classics direct from Italia, including a nice selection of antipasti, soups, salads, brick oven-baked thin-crust pizza, pasta and more. Yet, what certainly woos any Il Lupino fan, in addition to the cuisine, is its atmosphere, which is relaxed and sophisticated at the same time. The restaurant features indoor and outdoor seating, an alfresco bar, open kitchen and a salumeria. As the first of its kind to bring the Italian tradition of salumeria to the Islands, Il Lupino offers prosciutto, salami and other cured meats as well as Italian cheeses carved fresh at the diner’s request.

This being said, this premier Italian restaurant opens the doors to many prosciutto possibilities. Straight from the deli, enjoy prosciutto in its purest form as its presented to you on a platter and served with olives, and dabs of whole grain and Dijon mustards for $6. Then opt for the antipasti Prosciutto di Parma ($13), in which the prosciutto is nicely complemented with slivers of sweet cantaloupe.

And you haven’t experienced the best of Il Lupino without tasting the superlative pizza, especially Prosciutto Pizza ($16) topped with melt-in-your-mouth slices of Prosciutto di Parma, rucola, fresh tomato and mozzarella shavings. Now, this is divine pizza!

If you’re still aching for more prosciutto after this, take a bite out of Prosciutto, Mozzarella and Tomatoes Panini. Priced at $12, you can be sure this panini will leave you satisfied.

It’s always the right time for a taste of perfection at Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar.

Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar
Royal Hawaiian Center, Bldg. B, Level 1
2233 Kalakaua Ave., Suite 110

Romano’s Macaroni Grill

Romano's Macaroni Grill's Warm Spinach and Shrimp Salad ($22)

Romano’s Macaroni Grill’s Warm Spinach and Shrimp Salad ($22)

Home of some of the best Tuscan-inspired Italian cuisine, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, located at Ala Moana Center’s Hookipa Terrace, is a family favorite that captivates diners with its exciting atmosphere and top-of-the-line service.

Gigantic portions are signature here, so be sure to come hungry. With so much to choose from, including lasagna, pizza and flatbread or fresh pasta, selecting an entree can be somewhat of a challenge. However, being that I simply fall head-over-heels for every aspect of Italian cuisine makes this task rather simple.

Fully aware of my pursuit for prosciutto, chef Nawai Kekoolani created one of Macaroni Grill’s most popular salads — Warm Spinach and Shrimp Salad ($22). While the name doesn’t give much away, this refreshing salad features fresh spinach sauteed with fennel and roasted garlic, and chef Nawai adds a hint of lemon juice and fresh sea salt for some added flavor. Prosciutto crisps, a slice of prosciutto, seared scallops and black tiger shrimp round out the dish, which is finally topped off with pine nuts and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Notice that this salad is sans dressing, and for good reason.

“There are so many flavors to this dish that there’s really no need for any dressing,” Kekoolani says. “Prosciutto is cured, so the naturally sweet and salty flavor of the meat helps to enhance the dish.”

Make memories at Macaroni Grill, where quality Italian ingredients shine through and opera singers add to the experience. Viva Italia!

Romano’s Macaroni Grill
Ala Moana Center, Hookipa Terrace
1450 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 4240

Kit n Kitchen

Kit n Kitchen's Prosciutto Salad Pizza ($12.95)

Kit n Kitchen’s Prosciutto Salad Pizza ($12.95)

Once again I find myself back at one of my most beloved eateries — Kit n Kitchen. I just can’t get enough of this place, as Kit n Kitchen owners and husband-and-wife team of Kit and May Yiu have perfected the art of blending European fare with Asian cuisine — both of which are very well respected in the culinary world. May serves as executive chef here and possesses such a talent in the kitchen. Everything she whips up from scratch is beyond appealing and makes me want to devour everything in sight. Topping my list, in fact, is Kit n Kitchen’s Prosciutto Salad Pizza ($12.95), which features the restaurant’s famous prosciutto salad nestled on a hand-rolled, thin and crispy crust with a creamy sauce. This pizza is obviously a step up from the Prosciutto Salad, but it’s this salad that brings the pizza’s robust flavors to life. Priced at $9.95, Prosciutto Salad spotlights tender pieces of prosciutto and a poached egg atop crisp baby mixed greens tossed with just the right amount of balsamic vinegar. Deliciously healthy!

Without a doubt, Kit n Kitchen keeps up with your appetite.

Kit n Kitchen
Varsity Center
1010 University Ave.

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