Mirko Paderno is Chef de Cuisine of Culina Modern Italian and Vinoteca, two regional Italian restaurants in the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles. Milan-born Paderno says one of the dishes he’s most proud of is rooted in family tradition.
“When I was younger, I used to help my mom make potato gnocchi every Sunday in the wintertime,” he says. “I remember being around the table with my two sisters and playing around with the flour, eggs and potatoes. It was always a magical time.”
He has translated that memory into a modern-day small plate: hand-rolled gnocchi with a braised sugo of the day. In the rendition served at Vinoteca, he braises lamb shank with porcini, making a rich, comforting ragù. “It is very cozy and warm, and I can still taste my mom’s gnocchi in every single bite,” says Paderno.
“It’s a great pairing because the fluffy potato gnocchi soaks up the braise’s sauce and seasonings, which offers a more flavorful experience and consequently intensifies a guest’s memory of the dish, prompting them to return to the restaurant for more.”