I Trulli, Puglian Cuisine in New York City

The trend in New York these days is regional Italian food–not the “Northern Italian” cuisine found at so many of the city’s Italian restaurants but the food from Italy’s 20 regions.  I Trulli is the cuisine of Apulia or Puglia, the heel of Italy’s boot.  It is named after the trulli, or circular, white, stone hobbit-like houses found in Alberobello and other cities in Puglia.  While I Trulli has been open in New York for a number of years, this was my first visit.

The menu at I Trulli has some interesting Puglian classics, but the majority of it is characteristic of Southern Italy or Italy in general.  For example, the malloreddus from Sardinia, cavatelli with broccoli rabe (they add almonds); spaghetti with meatballs and tomato; penne with ricotta, tomato and basil; eggplant parmigiana; veal Milanese; chicken parmigiana; broccoli rabe with pepperoncino and more.

It’s hard to see our bread for the evening, but it came with ricotta cheese, the current condiment of choice at Italian restaurants in the city instead of the typical olive oil.

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The focaccia was very good–fresh and with pronounced tomato flavor.

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We got the fritto misto for antipasto.  This pic is not the best–it kind of looks like a huge fried grasshopper–sorry about that.  But it was fried calamari and whitebait, a general term for small fish–which may have been sardines.

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We also got the panzerotti, which are the smaller, Puglian version of calzones.  I got the classic tomato and cheese, and they were very good.

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I thought it would be fun to try a salumi and cheese plate as well although none of these were from Puglia.  I got the mortadella; talleggio, a cow’s milk cheese from Lombardy; and crotonese, a sheep’s milk cheese from Calabria.  All were very good.

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For my entree, I wanted to get the orecchiette because those are characteristic of Puglia, but I didn’t want to eat rabbit ragu.  So I got the cavatelli with broccoli rabe and toasted almonds.  It was good.

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My friend got the malloreddus with saffron, sausage and tomato.  It was good as well.

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