Shrimp and Grits 13

Amerigo’s Farm Dinner Series Is Cooking Once Again

Face it, when it comes to food—great food—freshness is an indispensable flavor enhancer. Amerigo’s executive chef Steven Robilio knows this. For the past five years, he has nurtured a close relationship with the area’s best farmers, even sponsoring the Franklin Farmers Market.

“Great relationships with the farmers make it so much more special for me to cook their product,” he says. “I know where it has come from. I know the love that has gone into the raising or the growing of it, and what it has taken to get it to me.”

He has spearheaded Amerigo’s Farm Dinner Series, a five-course dining experience held at Amerigo’s two flagship restaurants, Nashville and Cool Springs, from April through October.

“I was trained in classical French cuisine, but I am a very simple cook,” he says. “I like to let the ingredients speak for themselves. I take those ingredients that the farmers have put so much work into and let the flavors come out.”

For $50, diners sit down banquet-style in a private dining room to enjoy Steven’s inspirations based upon what’s in season along with expert beverage pairings.

“I get a lot of enjoyment out of watching people eat my food,” he says. “Their faces when they’re eating it—a taste that they might not normally eat, yet approachable by everybody.”

Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients for individual serving/plating:

  • 1 scoop of grits (recipe below)
  • ½ ounce extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces diced pancetta
  • ¼ cup diced tomato
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon Calabrian chili purée (recipe below)
  • 6 each 16/20 size jumbo shrimp
  • 4 ounces white wine
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon fresh chopped parsley


  1. Place pancetta and oil in sautée pan over medium heat and cook until crispy.
  2. Add tomato, white wine, garlic butter, chili purée, shrimp and flour
  3. Cook until thick and shrimp are hot.
  4. Pour over a scoop of grits.
  5. Garnish with parsley.

For Chili purée

  1. Pull the stem off the top of the chili,
  2. Place 3/4 cup of chilis in blender with 1/4 cup water.
  3. Blend until smooth.

For Grits

Serves 8

  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 1 quart water
  • ½ pound grits (Not instant! Steven use Old Spencer Mill grits.)
  • ¼ pound butter, diced
  • 2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoon onion powder
  • 2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne
  • ½ teaspoon Tabasco
  • 10 ounces goat cheese
  1. In a large rondo, heat the milk and water to a simmer, and then add in the grits. Whisk often, until the grits are thick and cooked.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and whisk well to combine.

For a schedule of Amerigo’s Farm Dinner Series, visit