You’ve seen him judge fierce contenders on Food Network’s popular show, Chopped, now celebrity chef, cookbook author, entrepreneur and Scottsdale resident Scott Conant is celebrating the two-year anniversary of his Phoenix restaurant gem, Mora Italian! Located on 7th street and Missouri, this neighborhood eatery is serving out authentic, homemade delights that would make any Italian grandmother proud! From his fresh pasta dishes to his mouth-watering Ribeye, Scott’s contemporary approach to Italian food has foodies returning time and time again.
When we stepped into his kitchen at Mora Italian, we were surprised to find out his road to culinary success almost didn’t happen. Growing up in Waterbury, Connecticut, he opted to enroll in a plumbing program and chose Culinary Arts as his second choice and Hairdresser/Cosmetology as his third. Lucky for us, there were too many plumbers enrolled and his culinary adventure began. He's worked at various restaurants around the world, but it was his L'Impero in New York where the rave reviews flooded in. L'Impero received top honors by the James Beard Foundation in 2003 for Best New Restaurant. After gracing the covers of coveted magazines like Gourmet and Food and Wine, his Scarpetta restaurant in New York City launched him even farther. With Esquire magazine naming the restaurant "Best New Restaurant in America", Conant continued to open hit after hit.
We were lucky enough to clock some cooking time with Scott as he prepared a few of his favorite dishes. Starting with his Mushroom Polenta with Truffles and Bacon- there was not a lump in sight and the mushrooms on top were simply, divine! Another delicious dish on the menu is his Pasta Pomodoro. With noodles made from scratch in house every day, there’s no need for them to be drowning in sauce. And a lunch would not be complete, unless we tried his Vegetable Ash Rubbed Ribeye. The meat was perfectly charred on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside! Unfortunately, Mora isn’t opened for lunch, but you can get a taste of heaven every night of the week.
Address: 5651 N 7th St, Phoenix, AZ 85014
Phone: (602) 795-9943
Recipes courtesy of: Chef Scott Conant, Owner, Mora Italian
MUSHROOM “BOSCAIOLA” POLENTA, TRUFFLES & BACON
1 quart whole milk
1 quart heavy cream
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 cups polenta
3 cups parmesan cheese, finely grated
¼ lb unsalted butter
• In a heavy bottom sauce pan, combine salt, cream and milk.
• Slowly heat the mixture and bring to a boil. Making sure to whisk often so the milk doesn’t burn.
• Slowly whisk in the polenta, making sure there are no lumps. Whisk for a few minutes.
• Move mixture to a low temperature spot and continue cooking for three hours. Stir occasionally so the mixture does not burn.
• Add cheese and butter, whisk to incorporate it into the mixture.
• Keep warm until ready to serve
Roasted Mushrooms with Truffle and Bacon
1 cup mixed wild mushrooms
2 sprigs thyme picked
1 cup bacon, largely diced
2tsp truffle puree or canned truffle pieces (available at most stores)
2cups roasted chicken stock
as needed salt, kosher
• In large heavy bottomed sauté pan or skillet add the bacon and allow it to render all its fat until crispy but not burnt.
• Add the mixed mushrooms (don’t worry the mushrooms will absorb the bacon drippings), picked thyme and lightly brown.
• Add the roasted chicken stock to the same pan and reduce the liquid by half.
• Finish with the truffle puree or pieces at the very end.
• Season with salt as needed
• Depending on the bacon used you may need very little or no salt.
• The mushrooms, truffle and bacon may be served directly over the polenta as is or accompanied by a roasted chicken and used as a sauce with the polenta being the base or starch for the dish.
28 each eggs, yolks only
3 each eggs, whole
¼ cup olive oil
1 Tbsp salt, kosher
¼ L water, plus more to bring dough together
3.3# 00, pasta flour
200 grams semolina flour
• Combine eggs, egg shade, olive oil, salt and water whisk
• Combine flours and whisk
• For a kitchen aid set up divide this quantity in half it cannot take this amount of dough.
• Mix flour into wet using water to bring the dough together
• Let rest for 1 hr or use next day
20lbs Plum Tomatoes, Ripe
2cups garlic, cloves
1qt Olive oil
1tsp Chili flakes
3ea Basil, Bunch
• Blanch tomatoes and shock in ice water. Remove skin and discard. Deseed the tomatoes and strain the liquid from the seeds. Discard the seeds.
• In a heavy bottom pan, add the garlic to the olive oil and cook on medium low heat till garlic is golden brown.
• Strain and reserve infused oil
• In a large heavy bottom pot add the garlic infused oil, chili flake and salt. Cook for 2-3 minutes so that the chili flakes bloom in the olive oil.
• Add the tomatoes to the oil and mash with a potato masher as it cooks
• Cook tomatoes for one hour and 45 minutes
• Remove from heat and add in the basil. Checks the seasonings adjust with salt as needed.
• Cool down the tomato sauce and reserve
6 oz Pomodoro Sauce
2 tsp Butter
6 each Basil leaves, sliced
2 Tbsp Parmesan Cheese
as needed Olive Oil
as needed Chili Flake
• Drop pasta in Boiling Salted Water
• In separate Saute Pan, Add tomato sauce and reduce slightly,
• Season with chili flake and salt.
• When pasta is 80% Cooked, transfer to pan with sauce and a small amount of pasta water.
• Finish cooking the pasta in sauce,
• Finish with Olive oil, butter, Grana And Basil,
• Toss to emulsify,
Vegetable Ash Rubbed Ribeye
5 # Vidalia Onions (may substitute yellow onions)
• Peel, cut off stem, core of Vidalia onion. Cut into quarters and separate into petals.
• Separate petals on a half sheet tray, keeping to one layer.
• Place into 180F oven, low fan, for two days, periodically stirring the petals.
• On the beginning of day 2, raise oven to 200F. Watch the petals as they turn dark brown to even black. Stir occasionally. Onions will need to be fully dried out. This process may be quicker or slower depending on the oven.
• Once onions are a deeper dark brown-black and dry, remove from oven and cool to room temp.
• Place onions in the vita prep and make into an ash, if the onions get a little extra color or if they burn slightly this is ok.
Remaining spice rub
Yield: 2.5 cups
1Tbsp sezchuan peppercorns
12Tbsp smoked paprika
1Tbsp red chili flake
2tsp all spice
6Tbsp mustard seeds
4Tbsp picked rosemary
• Toast in individual pans: sezchuan, cumin, red chili flake, and mustard seeds. Cool to room temp.
• In spice grinder, add untoasted all spice with toasted spices and grind to about 75%. Add paprika and rosemary then grind to powder form. Remove.
• Combine the toasted ground spice mixture and onion ash (which should be ground as well)
44oz. Prime Ribeye, bone-in
as needed chili flake
as needed thyme
as needed rosemary
as needed cloves of garlic, crushed
as needed extra virgin olive oil
• Marinate the meat in evo, rosemary, thyme, crushed garlic and chili flake for at least 24 hours
• Season beef with the vegetable ash/spice mixture, sear off the exterior. Set beef in a sheet tray with beef fat and or olive oil, fresh thyme and rosemary.
• Bring to a mid-rare temp in a 275F oven, slowly, basting/turning the beef periodically.
• Rest. Cut. Place onto draining sheet or towel. Season with finishing oil and sea salt