A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

As Pittsburgh becomes a buzzier city, appearing on trendy lists and drawing more and more millennials to nest in 152xx zip codes, several people have asked me for my opinion on living here. I’m not a Steelers fan. I’m not a Penguins fan. I’m not a Pirates fan. I’m barely a Pittsburgh fan. I am, however, a food fan. I’m the wrong person to ask about living in this steel city, but I’m the right person to ask about eating in this steel city, and all of my Pittsburgh recommendations will include three words: Chef Justin Severino

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

Brooklyn, Philly, Paris… with their fast pace, intense styles, and constant flux of inspiration, a part of me would move to any of those cities in a heartbeat, but those cities are established. They’re ever changing, but their characters are set. There’s an unfinished aspect to Pittsburgh that I appreciate. Pittsburgh is still being carved, still re-emerging and reinventing itself. 

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

Pittsburgh is a city in progress: good progress (new restaurants, retailers and cleanup initiatives) and bad progress (tearing down history for “trendy” condos, clogged infrastructure and fracking). We are living in a narrowing window of time in which grit, a good attitude and a strong idea can take shape without independent wealth, and it’s why I call Pittsburg home. 

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

It’s why so many talented chefs and purveyors have returned as highly trained, prodigal talents. Having honed their skills elsewhere, where the competition was less friendly, they’ve returned to Pittsburgh, where opportunity could still be claimed. It’s a modern day gold rush where the currency is a 40-seat brick and mortar.  

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

Chef Severino and his wife/business partner, Hilary, were two of the returnees. They made their mark with Cure, where each meal I ate lingers fondly in-between memory and a spot on my tongue. But what really impressed me, what I dare say even kept me in Pittsburgh, was the way Justin set about changing the entire food scene, not just his corner of Lawrenceville.

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

He brought chefs from other cities to Pittsburgh for collaborative dinners, made these events fun and approachable (and even a bit tipsy!). He brought farms to his tables and tables to his farms, and all the while, he continued to improve and to gain deserved attention. Then he expanded, carefully and intentionally.   

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

After an enviable research trip through Spain, Justin and Hilary returned and launched Morcilla, the lyrical Spanish word for blood sausage and a nod to Justin’s focus on charcuterie. It was his passion for charcuterie that led to this dinner I attended.

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

This meal was a collaboration with Dietz & Watson, the family-owned company behind the ubiquitous meats and artisan cheeses I grew up with. This summer Dietz & Watson is encouraging us all to #choosethetable, an effort to reclaim a few extra moments of quality time with friends and family by gathering over food, so they invited local bloggers to join them for a dinner with Chef Severino inspired by their product line.

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

The meal was a combination of Justin’s technical savvy peppered with nostalgia- creamy cavatelli mortadella followed a chilled green garlic and dandelion soup whose earthy base visually masked its many components (fried egg, aged gouda espuma, bacon, lemon oil and dill). It was part theater- the pouring of the soup, the presentation of the wines, and his entertaining presentation of his menu, and in between, it was a chance to meet new people, share our perspectives on our home and you know, compare our latest Netflix binges. 

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

The #ChooseTheTable campaign is a reminder that dinnertime or mealtime doesn’t have to be complicated, it just has to be intentional. To emphasize this notion, Dietz & Watson is hosting a dinner tour, so you too can attend a dinner much like the one I attended.

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino

After 75 years at your table, Dietz & Watson is inviting you to their table. They’re partnering with the nation’s top culinary talent to create ten curated, local dining experiences across the country, and Pittsburgh is one of the stops! Chef Justin Severino will be serving up a meal much like this one, and you can join. Enter here to win your delicious reminder of why it’s so important to choose the table. 

Cheers,

Ps: This post was sponsored by Dietz & Watson, but all opinions and bits of mortadella are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands who support With The Grains

Curious about the details of the menu? Here’s the recap:

A Charcuterie Inspired Dinner at Morcilla with Chef Justin Severino

Cocktail:

Spicy Bourbon-Citrus

Course 1:

Green Garlic & Dandelion Soup
with Fried Egg, Aged Gouda Espuma, Bacon, Lemon Oil and Dill

Course 2:

Cavatelli Mortadella
with Asparagus, Mascarpone and Pistachio

Course 3:

Honey Cured Ham
with Summer Sauerkraut, Smoked Fingerling Potatoes and sauce Ravigote

Dessert:

Goat Cheese Panna Cotta

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