Step by Step: How to Make Il Pittore’s Cantaloupe Soup
It was Il Pittore that turned Stephen Starr onto the power of great chefs, we like to think.
In the early years, Starr’s restaurants focused more on concept than culinary for their draw (consider Buddakan, Continental, Jones, etc....with Morimoto being an outlier). The newest ventures from the prolific restaurateur, however, are built around or with hot chefs, such as Serpico (Peter Serpico) and Fette Sau (Joe Carroll). Il Pittore was the turning point.
Chef Chris Painter had been Starr’s culinary director for years, but finally got his own kitchen in late 2011 when he opened this petite, bi-level Italian in Rittenhouse. The ensuing three years have been good — in fact, Painter was just voted “Best in Philly” in Philadelphia magazine’s annual readers’ poll.
Why don’t more people rave about his housemade pastas? One reason is price: the restaurant is not cheap. That’s why Painter’s new summer prix fixe tasting menu is an extra good deal.
For $45, you get four changing courses featuring the best from local farms in PA and NJ. By rough estimate, the soup-pasta-entree-dessert parade would normally run you at least $65 (and that’s being very conservative). The farmers’ menu is available nightly.
We stopped in to get the skinny on the first dish on this week’s list (here), which is a chilled cantaloupe soup. You could easily do this one at home, Painter says, even if you don’t have all the exact same garnishes. Follow along below for a step-by-step look at how it’s made.