Imagination, combined with a precise technique and a great personality, enhances dishes by Raffaele Ingrosso, that can be tasted at the restaurant Azzurra in Torre San Giovanni, Ugento’s Marina. For several years, unfortunately, the Salento food tradition has been stingy in expressing new talents, but a radiant exception is provided by the Bottazzo family in Ugento, that with the restaurant Azzurra has been offering an alternative table, perfect and with margins for further growth dining since 1986.
And especially thanks to the chef consultant Raffaele Ingrosso, with his long years’ experience in the cuisine of Modena, which enabled him to transform the tortellini in a wrapper, a piece of dough that can be filled with any ingredient. In fact, to us, at Azzurra, he suggested them in two different versions, after a soup of seafood and meat, rich at the same time balanced, with violet Gallipoli shrimps, squids, mussels, clams and Zollino blacks chickpeas. The tortelli, kneaded with Senatore Cappelli wheat flour, has been prepared by Raffaele with shrimps, sea bass and clams seasoned with sundried tomatoes and, in the second version, with buffalo ricotta cheese by the company La Querceta and turnips served with sundried tomatoes and stracciatella cream.
Therefore, is the Chef Ingrosso cuisine traditional or creative? We can only confirm that it is very tasty and based on the local products. Moreover, it is open becoming an attraction of the friendly and always busy Azzurra, making it a must stop for those who frequent the area.
Our dinner was mainly fish, which varies according to the day with everything that comes from the sea. But here you can also enjoy homemade pasta and exceptional pizzas made with only organic ingredients, accompanied by a large number of craft beers. All chosen from a menu magazine format that varies with the seasons. The wine list also offers a good selection, the service is informal but more than correct. An “unicum” the water list on the table. And speaking of wine, we were suggested the “12 e mezzo”, a fresh rosé wine by Vigne&Vini, which we began to sip while eating peanuts offered in hermetic glass jars on each table as greedy “entertain”.
Exciting for flavors, colors and combinations the dishes of the tris served as an appetizer: filleted cod with land and sea fennel, as it is often called the salicornia, squid on a bed of parsley cream and tuna tartare with caramelized Tropea red onion As already pointed out, the cuisine by Raffaele Ingrosso retrieves local products with an open and modern look, combining them with precise art in complex dishes ranging in skillfully in tastes and sometimes tasty provocation, like the jelly ginseng to savor after the appetizer to “clean” the mouth before switching to the next dish. Another tangible example, the fish soup mentioned before and the main meal, his must dish, which “gather” his Greek experience in Thessaloniki: octopus steamed first and then grilled, served on mashed Sieglinde potatoes from Taviano. To finish off, for dessert, a very pleasant and fresh apricot semifreddo.
Our overall impressions? A local to be recommended both for a gourmet dinner and for a fun evening out with friends, having pizzas and unconventional beers, as the Spanish Er Boqueron with seawater.
It is a shame, though, that it is impossible to enjoy the sea front because there are no tables outside on the large pedestrian promenade of Torre San Giovanni. But this fault is not due to the Bottazzo family, but to the municipality of Ugento: we hope that by the time of our return to Azzurra, necessary to taste the other delights of the chef Ingrosso, the problem will solved and there will be the chance to dine with the added value of the magnificent sunset on the fiery horizon of the Ionian Sea.
Azzurra Restaurant & Pizzeria
Corso Annibale 66, Torre San Giovanni – Ugento (LE)
Info: + 39 0833 932070 – +39 338 3746261
(Traduzione di Monia Saponaro)