Centrolina Embraces Fall with a Harvest Dinner


By Guest Contributor Lani Furbank

It might not feel like it today (80 degrees in November?!), but you can tell we’re well into fall by the barrage of Instagram photos of burnt orange trees, pumpkin patches, and, of course, PSLs (even though Starbucks is trying to convince us it’s Christmas already with their premature red cups).

It’s tough to choose my favorite part of this season, but the bounty of hearty vegetables is at the top of the list. It’s apparently at the top of Chef Amy Brandwein‘s list, too, because her recent Fall Harvest Dinner at Centrolina was a beautiful tribute to autumn in the mid-Atlantic.

Centrolina is a synergistic concept – the restaurant serves seasonal, authentic Italian cuisine that rotates weekly, and the menu is heavily based on what is available at the market, which Chef Brandwein curates. Most of the fresh produce comes from Path Valley Farms, an Amish collective in Pennsylvania that adheres to organic growing practices. Local sourcing is the focus of the market, with a few imported Italian specialty items available as well.

The Fall Harvest Dinner is the first of what Chef Brandwein hopes will be many more seasonal harvest dinners. This four-course feast showcased greens, sweet potatoes, squash, and more. A Virginia wine pairing rounded out the meal with wines from Thibaut-Janisson Winery, Barboursville Vineyards, and RdV Vineyards.

The first course was a pan-fried Mortadella served over a bed of fried flower sprouts, onions, and pistachios.

The delicate and flavorful Sweet Potato Rosetta with Collard Green Pesto stole the show for me – and lucky for us, Chef Brandwein shared her recipe! The pasta shell exterior is filled ricotta and sweet potato, rolled up like a jelly roll, and then cut into segments. Before it goes in the oven, you cut slivers around the edge of the roll. As it bakes, the pasta flakes out and forms a beautiful rosette! Looks good enough to eat.

The duck for the main course came from La Belle Farms in New York, which raises hormone- and antibiotic-free ducks. It was wood-roasted and served with fresh Tuscan kale, pancetta-wrapped fingerling potatoes, and fig mustard. Deeply flavorful, hearty, and filling. Just right for the brisk autumn weather.



Lani Furbank is a freelance writer and photographer who covers the intersection of food, farming and the environment. She is based in the DC area and loves cooking, hiking and crafting. Read about her adventures at www.LanisCupOfTea.com.


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