Guest post by Becky Hughes
Two hot seasons ago, my friends and I would often spend our weekends at Gymnasium, a restaurant by a pool with a beach view on the Petite Corniche in Plateau. A friendly Italian woman named Francesca cooked amazing Italian food there – I would always order her gnocchi – as my friends and I sipped perfectly chilled prosecco.
Francesca has since then moved her Italian eatery and she now operates out of her home in N’Gor, having a “home restaurant.” This means you can make a private reservation and eat directly at hers or you can order evening deliveries via Jumia Food. While the ocean view has changed, the quality of her cooking has not.
I stopped by her home in N’gor to taste the Italian food that had previously enchanted my friends and me. While I glanced at her menu, I had no idea what to choose – her variety in pasta dishes and pizzas was so extensive. Everything seemed so good. Francesca said her pizzas are popular for delivery but I wanted to try some pasta. So Francesca offered to make a scaliatelli aux fruits de mer.
As we chatted over the scent of sautéing garlic in simmering olive oil, she told me about her experience cooking in the Caribbean, and her 25+ years of working in different Italian restaurants. She and her husband moved to Senegal two years ago to import artisan Italian food products to Senegal (wine, prosecco, pasta, olives, etc).
Francesca started off cooking a focaccia bread with her homemade dough. She began making focaccia bread and she said the secret to her pizza and focaccia dough is letting it sit for a 48 hours to absorb the yeast – this makes the dough more digestible.
I started off with her homemade focaccia. Crusty, warm, thick and topped with cherry tomatoes, parmesan, and basil, it was the right amount of salty savoriness. Next came the scaliatelli aux fruits de mer – thick pasta cooked al dente with shrimps and seafood and doused liberally with olive oil. Even though I witnessed Francesca cook my meal, I somehow missed how she managed to make her food so savory and fresh. Francesca assured me how simple her recipe was – “It’s just extra virgin olive oil, parsley, salt, and a little bit of garlic.” Everything I ordered lived up to my memory of eating at her previous restaurant in Gymnasium.
Next time I know what I will be ordering from Francesca’s — pizza.
How It Works:
1. For evening delivery, you can place your order directly on Jumia Food.
2. For private reservations, call Francesca directly at 77 844 05 79 or 77 181 40 83. Her house is located in N’Gor, down the street from Chez Katia. She has the best prosecco 😉