January 09, 2012

Pranzo at the Santa Maria Goretti Centre

Santa Maria Goretti Community Centre
9110 110 Avenue NW
Edmonton, AB T5H 1S5

Just West of the stadium is the Italian pocket of Edmonton, and the Santa Maria Goretti Centre is the heart of that community. Every Sunday, between 11am-2pm, pranzo (Italian for lunch) is served in the community centre banquet hall. For $20 per person, guests are treated to seven dishes, served family style. It was a lot of fun to meet up with 8 members of my foodie group to enjoy some Italian cooking and hospitality!
The fixed menu changes every week, but when you arrive you can check out what's waiting for you.
Vitello Tonnato
We started off with antipasti. At first glance, I actually thought the tonnato (tuna) was horseradish and took a piece from the bottom layer to avoid the topping (bad flashbacks to mistaking horseradish for mashed potatoes as a child). Reassured it was safe by my fellow foodies, however, I dug in and enjoyed. The meaty flavor of the thinly shaved vitello (veal) contrasted beautifully with lemony tuna smeared on top and decorated with capers.
Bread & Salad
A garden salad in a simple but tasty vinaigrette was served next along with a basket of fresh bread. And it was good bread: crusty on the outside, the soft inside melted like cake on the tongue. I should have paced myself a bit more, but I enjoyed a far too much of it.
Four Cheese Ravioli al Pomodoro
Next came my favorite course: the pasta! The cheese ravioli were clearly fresh and were perfectly cooked with a marvelous chewy texture. The simple tomato sauce was fresh and bright. Topped off with a little Parmesan cheese, I was in heaven.
Potatoes and Mixed Vegetables
I seem to have missed snapping a photo of the main course: chicken breasts with a mushroom gravy. These were accompanied by roasted potatoes and a winter vegetable blend. Like the rest of the meal, it was simple but excellent. The chicken was seasoned well and very juicy and the savory mushroom sauce was delicious poured over it and the potatoes.
Say Cheesecake!
As our server wheel the cart with the cart of cheesecakes towards us, the group collectively groaned, but, being a group of food lovers, no one was going to turn down dessert. We chose between cranberry, berry-lemon, turtle, and peanut butter varieties, but most of us managed to taste all of them. They're all recommended, but I thought the turtle was the real star. I loved the whipped cream topped, cookie crumb crust, and rich chocolate centre together. A rich end to a rich meal. I didn't need to eat for days.
...or for a few hours, anyway.

Pranzo at the Santa Maria Goretti Centre is a great place to meet and enjoy food with a group or family (be sure to make reservations). The food is relatively simple and it's all stuff you've had before, but fresh ingredients and TLC in the kitchen go a long way to producing consistently tasty dishes and a very pleasant experience.

Website: http://www.santamariagoretticentre.com/sunday-pranzo/

Sunday Pranzo at Santa Maria Goretti Centre on Urbanspoon

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