Sprezzatura
Summer 2019
Scott Conant
Charlie Palmer Signature
Scott Conant
DEFINING SPACES
Design details in Mora Italian and that mural
ON THE PLATE
Meet Mora Italian executive chef
Matthew Taylor, plus recipes and all about tomatoes
TUSCANY INSPIRED
Travel to the land of Sprezza cooking and pantry essentials
SC WINES
Scott Conant introduces nuanced Italian wines
BEHIND THE BAR
Cocktails at Mora Italian
AROUND TOWN
Local places to frequent
Charlie Palmer Signature
WELCOME TO SPREZZATURA!

Like many Italian words, sprezzatura has no one direct translation but rather encompasses an essence or feeling—in this case, a philosophy that influences style, behavior, and taste. Much like in my restaurants, I want sprezzatura to resonate throughout these pages.

This premiere issue puts the spotlight on Mora Italian in Phoenix, Arizona, where we celebrated our second anniversary this past February. While I moved to Phoenix for the opportunity to get off the grid, I couldn’t escape the fact that there’s so much excitement happening on the culinary landscape. Many great chefs and restaurants are already in town—in fact, my favorite Italian place in the whole country is right here, along with a solid Italian community that I’ve been blessed to tap into.

I’m a big Bob Dylan fan and take to heart his mantra of “being in a constant state of becoming.” Each kitchen I’ve worked in has been a culmination of my experiences before it, a piece of the puzzle. Mora is part of my own personal evolution. And I believe it’s good to reinvent yourself along the way, to do things over with a different perspective, honing your skills and making yourself better.

In terms of quality in a casual setting, Mora is the perfect iteration of my Italian cooking style. The menu offers a lot of generosity and a variety with its ingredients, as well as a distinctive emotional connection. We have captured something very special at Mora. From the design, atmosphere, and mood of the room to the food and beverage service, everything syncs up.

In this issue, you will also read about my signature Italian wine collection—something that is very personal to me—as well as Sprezza, my signature line of cooking and pantry essentials. This year I’ve been busier than ever filming, among others, Food Network’s Chopped, along with new episodes for Best Baker in America and for Top Golf’s digital series, Chef Showdown. On top of that, there’s Cellaio Steak in Monticello, New York; Osteria Fusco in the LGA Airport; and, of course, Mora Italian. So I have a full plate! I am very excited to give you insight into some of the things I am working on, but even more excited to share what is coming up soon. Stay tuned and enjoy the reading!

Charlie Palmer Signature
Mora by Design
Mora by Design
LGE Design Group Interior Designer Fabiola Sweis walks us through Mora Italian, from bespoke floor tile to exposed ceiling beams.
“I wanted to craft a space that had a harmonious balance of Italian nostalgia and modern-day trends,” says Fabiola Sweis, an interior designer with LGE Design Group. The same company is responsible for the buildout of the restaurant from the ground up.
Fabiola Sweis used a variety of textural materials to create an eclectic space that is both modern and warm. “Brick, reclaimed wood, steel, and ceramics complement one another and emphasize the innovative nature of this trendy destination, while natural materials like wood on soffit walls adds warmth and depth to the space.” The result is a seamless transition from old to new, and this unique combination of seemingly disconnected materials that creates an atmosphere conducive to guests sharing a meal with family and friends.
Phoenix Creative
In Conversation with Muralist Keanen Kasten
“I wanted to incorporate a vintage vibe to balance the soft modern feel of the restaurant.”
Artist at a Glance
At what age did your artistic sensibilities emerge?
As far as I can remember, I was always doing some sort form of art. I was constantly drawing as a child.

What role does your art play in the scheme of things?
I am just trying to make the world a prettier place, one piece at a time.

Tool of your craft you can’t live without?
Spray paint.

Which other contemporary artists do you most identify with?
I draw inspiration from many artists, from the well-knowns of our time—Basquiat, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Pollock—to modern-day masters like Conor Harrington, Cleon Peterson, and Damien Hirst. These great artists have broken the mold, and that is what I identify with them most.

Do you have a motto you stand behind?
In a world that is so caught up on fitting in, the greatest gift one could have is to stand out.

If you weren’t an artist …
Architecture and design is my other passion. I feel art and architecture really go hand in hand. They both harbor great satisfaction from creating something beautiful out of nothing.

How can readers best connect with you?
Through my social media. My Instagram account is kastern.art, and my website is kastenart.com.

You might have seen his work on the side of the Phase 1 building: an astronaut taking a selfie in space. At Mora Italian, his art is equally compelling. This time, it celebrates the out-of-this-world experience of being an Italian screen star in this 1950s pop art–themed mural.
Keanen Kasten wanted to be part of the Mora Italian experience from the moment he saw the renderings for the space. “I had never seen a restaurant in the States look like that, and I knew my work needed to be there: something over the top and yet refined that could be appreciated by all demographics.”
Home Grown
Home Grown
Executive Chef Matthew Taylor on growing up in a kitchen, Phoenix as a food city, and what it means to cook Italian.
Executive Chef Matthew Taylor might be Canadian-born, but his varied experiences in many of the valley’s kitchens have defined, though not limited, the bulk of his career thus far. “The only jobs I have ever had were in a kitchen, starting as a dishwasher in a high-volume chain restaurant at the age of 15.” He was formally introduced to cooking through a vocational culinary program that he attended while in high school and then went on to study at the Art Institute of Phoenix. “The vocational program ignited my passion and showed me that cooking for a living could be a respected profession,” he says.

Taylor enjoys the experiences Phoenix has afforded him and affirms the changes in the city’s food offerings. “When I first moved here, there were only a handful of chef-driven restaurants. Typically, higher-end dining rooms were relegated to large-scale resorts.” He credits a movement toward chefs staying put instead of fleeing to the big coastal cities to make a name for themselves. He is perhaps too humble to include himself in that growing pool of talent. He also cites the relationship among chefs, local farmers, growers, and winemakers that’s “blossomed into something special that we can be proud to showcase on a national, even global level.” Seacat Gardens is a good example of that synergy. Learn more on page 10.

with Spiced Honey & Peperonata
Yields about 20 fritters to serve 6 to 7
Ricotta Fritters
Ricotta Fritters
RICOTTA FRITTERS
1 1/4 pounds ricotta
2 oz mascarpone cheese
2 tbs caramelized shallots
1 tbs caramelized garlic cloves
3/4 cup ground panko
1/8 cup minced Italian flat-leaf parsley
1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil, as needed Kosher salt to taste

Mix first 7 ingredients and season with salt.

Using 1-oz scoop, portion mixture and place on sheet pan. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

BREADING PROCEDURE STATION
Breadcrumbs as needed
All-purpose flour as needed
Eggs as needed
Ground panko as needed
Salt to taste

Dip the fritters in breadcrumbs, then flour, then egg, then panko. Repeat with all the fritters. Fry fritters until golden and crispy. Season with salt and cut in half. Reserve.

PEPERONATA
Yields 3 to 4 cups

1 pound baby mix color peppers
(Tinkerbells), stems removed
4 tbs burnt honey
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
4 tbs capers, nonpareil
1 cup vegetable stock
Salt to taste

Grill peppers until charred and tender. Combine peppers with rest of ingredients and stew for 30 minutes. Adjust with salt and reserve.

TO PLATE
Peperonata
Fritters
Micro basil
4 pickled Fresno peppers
Grana Padano cheese, microplaned

Place 2 ounces of peperonata on the center of each plate and spread out evenly.

Place 3 pieces of fritter on top of the peperonata.

Finish with micro greens, Fresno peppers and Grana Padano.

From the earth to the kitchen table
Call it big gardening—that’s how Carl Seacat of Seacat Gardens prefers to identify his line of work. With half an acre in South Phoenix and another half in Paulden, and an eye to growing this fall at Enchantment Resort in Sedona, Seacat believes that huge acreage and investment isn’t necessary to grow fabulous vegetables.
You won’t find him riding around in a tractor or using mechanical equipment. Instead, everything is done by hand, which allows Seacat to control the whole process, from planting to harvest. He grimaces when the subject of weeding comes up. “There are no shortcuts or an easy solution. I weed by hand. It’s the most time-consuming element of growing vegetables— and also the most important.”
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Serves 4 to 6
2 lbs tomatoes (about 6 medium tomatoes)
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3–4 tbs red wine vinegar
4 oz shallots, sliced thinly
5 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 cups mixed leafy greens, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
4–6 slices ciabatta bread, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, grilled at the last moment
Method
Cut tomatoes into halves, quarters, or slices, depending on size. Mix olive oil, vinegar, shallots, basil, and salt and pepper into a bowl. Marinate tomatoes for at least 3 hours. Toast bread.
To serve
Divide tomatoes onto plates. Top with greens. Drizzle marinated mixture over greens. Finish with the Parmigiano and more black pepper as needed. Serve with bread.
Heirloom Tomato Salad
Serves 4 to 6
2 lbs tomatoes (about 6 medium tomatoes)
3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil
3–4 tbs red wine vinegar
4 oz shallots, sliced thinly
5 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
Fresh ground black pepper to taste
4 cups mixed leafy greens, rinsed and dried
1/2 cup shaved Parmigiano Reggiano
4–6 slices ciabatta bread, drizzled with extra-virgin olive oil, grilled at the last moment
Method
Cut tomatoes into halves, quarters, or slices, depending on size. Mix olive oil, vinegar, shallots, basil, and salt and pepper into a bowl. Marinate tomatoes for at least 3 hours. Toast bread.
To serve
Divide tomatoes onto plates. Top with greens. Drizzle marinated mixture over greens. Finish with the Parmigiano and more black pepper as needed. Serve with bread.
Travel
Villa Mangiacane
Tuscan Sunshine
“Honesty, integrity, and soul” not only is Chef Scott Conant’s mantra in the kitchen, but it specifically applies to each ingredient he uses. And so when he decided to produce a line of cooking and pantry essentials, he knew they had to come out of Italian soil, grown the right way. Partnering with Tuscany’s Sogno Toscano, the result is a collection of nine sauces, spreads, and olives, highlighted by Chef Conant’s signature and highly craveable Pomodoro Sauce.
From the Vine
by Dino Tantawi
Dino Tantawi of Vignaioli Selection

Since 1999, Dino Tantawi of Vignaioli Selection has scoured Italy to bring his best wine finds to the American consumer. Tantawi’s approach to selecting wines reflects his own wine attitude, philosophy, and experience. He feels the history and background of vineyards and winemakers are essential to the character and regional depth of their wines. Found in each of Vignaioli’s wine selections is an interpretation of terroir, microclimates, and winemaker philosophies.

VIGNAIOLO (vee-n’yah-EEOH-loh): Italian for “vine-dresser,” someone who tends to the vines (pl. vignaioli)

Ayla 2015 Pinot Grigio
Ayla 2015 Pinot Grigio
White gold with bronze highlights. Grown in Isonzo del Friuli, in the northeastern region of Italy. Medium bodied, delicate with a zippy and refreshing finish. Aromas of flowers, honey, lime blossom, and hints of tropical fruit.
Pairs with: Salami, white meat, fishes, and pasta.
Karya 2016 Super Tuscan
Karya 2016 Super Tuscan
Ruby red with aromas of fresh plum, blackberry, olives. Ripe fruit, cedar, and spice notes. These nonindigenous grapes are grown in Sant’Angelo in Colle, Tuscany.
Pairs with: Hearty pasta dishes, mushrooms, or grilled and roasted vegetables.
Sprezza Chef Conant’s signature 2008 Barolo
Sprezza Chef Conant’s signature 2008 Barolo
An intense garnet red with an aroma of violet. These Nebbiolo grapes are grown in the northern Italian region of Piedmont, notablel for its full body, complexity, richness of the terroir, and long finish. Aged 36 months prior to its release.
Pairs with: Meats, especially large steaks, and aged cheeses.
La Sala Chianti Classico
La Sala Chianti Classico
Deep ruby red with purple highlights. Made 100 percent from sangiovese grapes grown in San Casciano in Val di Pesa, Tuscany. Elegant with fruity aromas of red currant and cherry, with subtle spice and black pepper. Aged in French oak casks for six months and stainless steel for six months before bottling.
Pairs with: Red and white meats, meat sauce pastas, cured meats, and soft pecorino cheese.
Vignaioli Logo
Wine
BY THE BOTTLE
Piedmont, home to Conant’s signature Barolo
SC Wines
the Italian connection
If food brings us around a table, perhaps it comes as no surprise that Chef Scott Conant has introduced a collection of signature wines to achieve the same goal. They are Italian, of course, bold statements of great Italian varieties and winemaking styles. There is a pinot grigio named for his daughter Ayla, a Super Tuscan named for his daughter Karya, and Conant’s signature Barolo, Sprezza.
There’s another family connection. Chef Conant’s grandfather Lupo was a winemaker, and the wolf stamp on every bottle is an homage to both him and Conant’s wife, whose maiden name, Bozkurt, means “grey wolf” in Turkish.
Lavender: The Color of Summer
Drinks with a lavender twist
Son of a Bee Sting

0.75 oz lemon juice
0.75 oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water)
0.25 oz rose water
1–2 slices of ginger
2 oz gin

Combine lemon juice, honey syrup, rose water, and fresh ginger in mixing tin. Muddle ginger. Add gin and ice. Shake and fine strain into glass. Fill with ice. Serve with lemon peel.

Amore Estivo
1 oz vodka
0.75 oz raspberry liqueur (We recommend Pallini Raspicello)
0.75 oz peach shrub
Prosecco

Combine first three ingredients and ice in shaker. Shake and fine strain into coupe/martini glass.
Top with prosecco. Garnish with fresh raspberries or edible flowers.

Negroni Rosa

1 oz Crooked Water
Citrus Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Ramazzotti
Aperitivo Rosato

Combine all 3 ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and give a light stir. Strain into glass over large rock ice cube or regular, if you prefer. Garnish with grapefruit peel.

Son of a Bee Sting

0.75 oz lemon juice
0.75 oz honey syrup (equal parts honey and water)
0.25 oz rose water
1–2 slices of ginger
2 oz gin

Combine lemon juice, honey syrup, rose water, and fresh ginger in mixing tin. Muddle ginger. Add gin and ice. Shake and fine strain into glass. Fill with ice. Serve with lemon peel.

Amore Estivo

1 oz vodka
0.75 oz raspberry liqueur (We recommend Pallini Raspicello)
0.75 oz peach shrub
Prosecco

Combine first three ingredients and ice in shaker. Shake and fine strain into coupe/martini glass. Top with prosecco. Garnish with fresh raspberries or edible flowers.

Negroni Rosa

1 oz Crooked Water Citrus Gin
1 oz Campari
1 oz Ramazzotti Aperitivo Rosato

Combine all 3 ingredients into a mixing glass. Add ice and give a light stir. Strain into glass over large rock ice cube or regular, if you prefer. Garnish with grapefruit peel.

Christina Arellano

The cocktail list at Mora Italian is carefully curated by Events & Beverage Manager Christina Arellano. Growing up in the business (her grandparents owned an Italian restaurant), Arellano quickly realized that great food and drinks always bring people together. She started crafting cocktails to match her grandmother’s bold, classic dishes. She has a similar goal today at Mora Italian.

“With each sip comes a sense of belonging, with each cocktail comes a sense of tradition.”

—Christina Arellano

“With this cocktail list, I stay true to classic Italian-style cocktails with a fresh modern twist,” she explains. “I want to convey that sense of being in Italy with friends and family, enjoying hours around the dinner table, laughing and talking. So with each sip comes a sense of belonging, with each cocktail comes a sense of tradition.”

Arellano was also inspired by herbs and fruits in season in Italy. “It is important to me to incorporate locally grown, fresh produce into our cocktails.” She points to the heirloom tomatoes in their Seasonal Spritz that come from Seacat Gardens. “I love the challenge of being able to create something for everyone,” she adds. “But more importantly, I love the challenge of creating an experience.”

Cocktails Title
For the team at Mora Italian, being a part of Phoenix’s culinary scene isn’t just a work thing—it’s a life thing. So we asked everyone to share their best food and drinks recommendations around the city, and here’s what they had to say.
Best Coffee Shops
32 Shea
32 Shea

32 Shea
Try a Nutella mocha.
32shea.com

lux Central
luxcoffee.com

Dutch Bros Coffee
Get a white coffee.
dutchbros.com

Fair Trade Cafe
azfairtrade.com

JoBot Coffee
jobotcoffee.com

Best Coffee Shops
32 Shea
32 Shea

32 Shea
Try a Nutella mocha.
32shea.com

lux Central
luxcoffee.com

Dutch Bros Coffee
Get a white coffee.
dutchbros.com

Fair Trade Cafe
azfairtrade.com

JoBot Coffee
jobotcoffee.com

Publisher
Michael Goldman

Editor-in-Chief
Pamela Jouan

Design Director
Seton Rossini

Managing Editor
Christian Kappner

Assistant Editor
Stephane Henrion

Senior Copy Editor
kelly suzan waggoner

Contributing Writer
Pamela Jouan

Photography
Ken Goodman (cover shot, pg.3)
AweCollective.com (pg.4)
All other photography courtesy of Mora Italian.

Advertising Inquiries
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Mora
5651 North 7th Street
Phoenix, AZ 85014
602.795.9943
moraitalian.com
Cellaio
888 Resorts World Drive
Monticello, NY 12701
845.428.7497
cellaiosteak.com
American Fare
Thanks for reading our Summer 2019 issue!