”Norman, you need to learn how to cook because when you grow up you may marry someone who cannot cook.”
The passage of time had proven Nonna Pia correct. Her son Norm ended up marrying Natasha who is great at many things—cooking not being one of them. Because of Nonna Pia’s insightful wisdom, Chef Norm named his company in homage to his beloved mother, which is how “Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces” came to be.
Whilst conducting taste tests on all the sauces, I became hardcore obsessed with the Gold reduction—white balsamic vinegar slowly simmered until it turns golden brown. It tastes lighter and fruitier than the darker balsamic reductions with a slightly more tart finish. I found it to be perfect on everything—salads, grilled fish and even fresh fruits and desserts.
Their signature balsamic reduction is infused with Okanagan BC Cabernet Merlot to create a full bodied, lush and velvety Cabernet Merlot reduction. It is delicious drizzled over burgers, grilled red meat and I found it to be a perfect paring with cheese.
Nonna Pia’s Balsamic Reductions are sold in every major grocery chain in Canada. I found them at Loblaws, Sobeys, Whole Foods and Metro. They can also be ordered online.
See recipe below.
Cabernet Merlot-Caramalized Onion Tart with
Gorgonzola and Bosc Pear
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 cups of sliced onions, sliced root-to-top into 1/4-inch thick slices (about 2-3 med onions)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
12 ready made tart shells or 8 oz frozen puff pastry (defrosted a couple hours in the fridge)
2 oz Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, diced
¼ cup Nonna Pias Cabernet Merlot Reduction
1 Bosc pear quartered and cleaned
1. Heat oil in a large deep pan on medium-high heat. Add onions and cook for about 10 minutes or until wilted and starting to brown. Add balsamic reduction. Reduce heat and cook gently, uncovered for 20-25 minutes or until richly caramelized. Add a little water if the onions look like they are starting to dry out. Cool.
2. This appetizer can be done with ready made Tenderflake pastry shells or you may use puff pastry. For ready made shells, follow the instructions for baking then fill tart with onion mixture and top with Gorgonzola and pear. Bake at 350 degrees till cheese starts to melt and tart is warmed through. Drizzle with Nonna Pias Classic Balsamic Reduction.
3. For puff pastry, roll pastry into a 10-to-14-inch rectangle. Place pastry on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Prick with a fork at a couple inch increments to prevent the pastry from forming big bubbles while baking.
4. Spread onions over pastry, all the way to the edges of the pastry. Dot with cheese. Sprinkle with fresh pear. Refrigerate if not baking immediately.
5. Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 18-20 minutes or until cheese has melted and pastry is crispy. Cool for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges or squares, drizzle with Nonna Pia’s Classic Balsamic Reduction and enjoy!
Recipe reprinted with permission from Seana Sterner, Nonna Pia’s Gourmet Sauces Ltd