Zucca is ranked No. 76 in our Canada’s 100 Best list of 2015 restaurants, as voted for by culinary leaders across Canada.
As Zucca Trattoria approaches its 20th anniversary, the Midtown restaurant continues to serve as a destination for modern Italian cuisine.
Chef Andrew Milne-Allan, a native New Zealander, opened Zucca’s doors on Valentine’s Day in 1997. His emphasis on regional specialities, homemade pasta, fresh fish, farmer’s market-sourced vegetables and naturally-raised meat was welcomed as a “breath of fresh air” for Toronto’s culinary scene.
Before opening Zucca, Milne-Allan established himself as a pioneer in a number of culinary waves in Toronto. In the 1970s, he opened The Parrot, a Mediterranean-inspired restaurant, which became part of the original Queen West scene. On College Street in the 1980s and 1990s, the authentic Italian menus of Trattoria Giancarlo and Bar Italia played a significant role in establishing Little Italy as a culinary destination.
At Zucca, Milne-Allan continues to create intense flavours, served with a graceful simplicity. The restaurant features a seasonal, menu with a prix fixe option, as well as a 70-label wine list.
2150 YONGE STREET.
TORONTO, ON M4S 2A7
Chef: Andrew Milne-Allan
Sommelier: Blair Aspinall
Roasted Artichokes Roman-style
- 8 medium Artichokes
- 8 sprigs flat-leaf Parsley, leaves chopped, stems reserved
- 6 large mint leaves, chopped
- 4 sprigs fresh oregano, leaves chopped, stems reserved
- 6 cloves Garlic
- 2 Tablespoons grated Pecorino cheese
- ½ cup homemade breadcrumbs
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 lemon
Squeeze ½ lemon into a bowl of cold water. Snap off the tough green outer leaves from the artichokes working in a circular fashion until they show mostly yellow. Trim off the remaining pointed green tip. Invert the artichoke and trim the green outer layer from stem and heart. Cut in half lengthwise and with a small spoon remove the fuzzy choke. Rub the cut surfaces with lemon and drop into the water.
Heat some olive oil in a pan that can hold the artichokes in one layer. With the flat side of your knife squash 3 of the garlic cloves and add to the pan along with the herb stems which can be tied in a bundle for easy removal later. Drain and rinse prepared artichokes and add to the pan with herbs and garlic. Salt well. Turn up the heat to medium and stir the artichokes well in the flavoured oil for a minute or two. Add cold water to almost cover the artichokes and bring to a boil. Cover pan and cook over a lively heat until tender to the point of a knife and most of the liquid is absorbed, 8-10 minutes.
While the artichokes are cooking prepare the stuffing. In a bowl combine the chopped herbs, cheese, breadcrumbs and the remaining 3 cloves of garlic finely chopped. Add a splash of olive oil and squeeze the mixture together well with your hands to extract the flavours.
When the artichokes are cool enough to handle place them cut side up in a roasting pan large enough to hold them in one layer. Place a spoonful of stuffing in each artichoke half pushing it in to the leaves and the depression where you removed the choke. Scatter any extra stuffing over the pan. Flip the artichokes so they bake stuffed side down, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 425C oven until golden brown, about 10 minutes.