Tag Archives: pasta

Top 10 Foods to Get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival

This list of top 10 foods to get at NYC’s San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy is the definitive guide to the traditional foods eaten by Italian Americans.

1. If you try nothing else at the San Gennaro festival, you have to try cannoli.

La Bella Ferrara cannoli

Where to get cannoli:  the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

2. Sausage and peppers sandwiches–When Italians go to festivals, this is what they get.

Where to get sausage and peppers–at a stand.

3.  Zeppole are fried dough balls in powdered sugar–a staple of Italian festivals.

Where to get zeppole–at a stand.

4.  Clams

Where to get clams–at a stand, Umberto’s Clam House on Mulberry.

5.  Pizza/calzones

Where to get pizza/calzones–Sal’s on Broome Street (the fried calzone is to die for!), the first pizzeria in America–Lombardi’s on Spring Street.

6.  Torrone–Italian nutty nougat confection

Where to get torrone–at a stand or at Ferrara on Grand.

7.  Italian cookies

Where to get Italian cookies–the legendary Ferrara on Grand, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, at a stand.

8.  Gelato

Where to get gelato–Ferrara on Grand, Caffe Roma on Broome, Mo on Mulberry.

9.  Pasta

Where to get pasta–Puglia on Hester, Vincent’s on Hester/Mott, Angelo’s of Mulberry Street, Benito One on Mulberry.

10. Italian pastries

Where to get Italian pastries–the legendary Ferrara on Grand Street and Mulberry, La Bella Ferrara on Mulberry, Caffe Palermo on Mulberry, Caffe Roma corner of Mulberry and Broome.

–Dina Di Maio

Advertisements

Tandem, a Ragu Restaurant in Napoli

IMG_2662

Tandem is a restaurant just steps off of the main drag, Via Tribunali, in Napoli’s Centro Storico district. The restaurant is dedicated to Napoli’s claim to fame, ragu, or gravy, a slow-cooked tomato-based sauce with various cuts of meat like beef or pork.   Tandem’s website says it is the first restaurant dedicated to only ragu, and that ragu is virtually unknown outside of Napoli.  This latter statement is a fallacy, as ragu is known in other parts of Southern Italy and in the United States where millions of Neapolitan and Southern Italian immigrants settled over 100 years ago.  Ragu is what is known in America as Sunday gravy.

At Tandem, the gravy is cooked for 6-8 hours similar to how it is cooked at home.  Opened just three years ago, the restaurant is trendy and not to be missed for the visitor to Naples.  It is a popular destination, so I would suggest a reservation.  However, I did not have a reservation and was able to be seated immediately outside.  (While I enjoyed dining outside because the restaurant is located on a side street with much local color, the general downside of dining outside in Napoli is the panhandler.  Panhandlers in Napoli are more aggressive than the ones I’m used to in NYC, and unlike the ones in NYC, they don’t just want money, they are happy with food or anything you are willing to give them.  I won’t get into a discussion on how one feels about panhandling, as people have different views, some see it as a nuisance and others want to take a more spiritual route and give.  I tend to fall in the former camp–I’m a New Yorker–and it’s always good to have a healthy suspicion so you do not fall prey to crime.  So yes, if you surmised that there was an aggressive panhandler there that night, you would be right. However, he eventually went away and he did not detract from the delightful experience.)

While ragu has meat in it, the great thing about Tandem is that there are plenty of vegetarian alternatives, including seitan.

I got the manfredi with ragu and ricotta.  It was delicious.
IMG_2660

My friend got the gnocchi with vegetarian ragu and provola.  It was also delicious.

IMG_2661

We shared grilled eggplant, and this was probably the best eggplant I’ve ever eaten.

IMG_2663

We also shared grilled provola cheese from Sorrento that was wonderful.

IMG_2664

If you are visiting Napoli, I highly recommend a visit to Tandem.

Baked Pasta with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce

baked pasta with pumpkin sage sauce

Oxygen magazine is known for healthy recipes, but when I saw this baked pasta with pumpkin-sage sauce, I couldn’t resist.  I totally made it fattening.  But it was worth it. It’s a real crowd-pleaser!

Baked Pasta with Pumpkin-Sage Sauce

adapted from Oxygen magazine, November 2015 issue

2 12-oz. boxes rainbow rotini

olive oil

1 onion, chopped

4 teaspoons ground sage

2 cans pumpkin puree

3 cups whole milk

1 cup light cream

12 oz. grated pecorino romano

salt and pepper

1/2 jar (about 4 oz.) sun-dried tomatoes, chopped

Cook pasta.  Saute onions and sage in oil for about 10 minutes, until soft. In pot, combine milk, cream and pumpkin. Whisk. Add onions, salt and pepper and 1/2 cheese. Cook a few minutes (doesn’t need to be thick). Put pasta in casserole dish. Pour sauce on top. Top with remaining cheese and tomatoes. Bake 400 degrees for 10 minutes and lower to 350 for 10 more minutes.

Pasta with Mascarpone and Peas

Peas are a great spring vegetable.  While looking for a pea recipe, I found this pasta dish from British Italian chef Antonio Carluccio in his cookbook, 1oo Pasta Recipes.  I improvised with what I had on hand and also doubled the recipe.  He used marille pasta, and I used strozzapreti.  He used fresh basil; I used dried.  He used parmesan; I used pecorino.

photo(44)

Pasta with Mascarpone and Peas

1/4 cup butter

2 lbs. chopped tomatoes (I used Pomi.)

14 oz. frozen peas

basil to taste

2 8 oz. containers mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup grated pecorino romano cheese

red pepper flakes to taste

salt and pepper to taste

2 lbs. strozzapreti pasta

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan.  Add tomatoes, peas, basil, mascarpone, pecorino, red pepper, salt and pepper.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  Cook pasta in salted water for 10-12 minutes until al dente.  Drain.  Serve with sauce.

Weekend Whets 10/4

American Cheese Month, October:  Celebrate cheese month with a passport to get discounts at cheese shops.

Spain’s Tapas Trail, October 1-8, 2013:  Participating restaurants create a unique tapa and drink pairing for $10.

Plate by Plate: Project by Project NY’s Annual Tasting Benefit , Friday, October 4, 2013, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., 82 Mercer, Soho:  Charity event showcasing New York’s premier restaurants. Tickets $150.

North:  Nordic Food Festival, October 2 through 7, 2013, various locations, NYC:  Celebrate Nordic cuisine with lunches/dinners by Scandinavian chefs and cooking classes with Scandinavian chefs.

3rd Annual EscapeMaker’s Local Food & Travel Expo in Brooklyn, Saturday, October 5, 2013, noon to 5 p.m., Borough Hall, Brooklyn:  Exhibitors who are within a 50-mile radius of Brooklyn will be exhibiting.  Tastings and a special Made in Brooklyn market.

Chile Pepper Festival, Saturday, October 5, 2013, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Brooklyn Botanic Garden, Brooklyn:  Celebrate chile peppers with live music, 40 food artisans, chocolate and gardens.

Czech Street Festival, Saturday, October 5, 2013, Noon to 5 p.m., East 73rd Street between 1st and 2nd Avenue, and Staropramen Party,  5 p.m. to 9 p.m., Bohemian National Hall, 321 East 73rd Street, Manhattan:  Celebrate Czech Independence with Czech food and music.

Eats for India, Saturday, October 5, 2013 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., New York:  25-course cocktail party of Indian canapés to support clean water for India. Tickets $75.

K-Town Festival and Parade, Saturday, October 5, 2013, 10 a.m to 5 p.m., 32nd Street between Broadway and 5th Avenue (Parade  is on Sixth Avenue between 38th Street and 27th Street from noon to 2 p.m.), Manhattan:  Celebrate Korean culture with a parade and festival with Korean food and music.

Tastes Meatpacking District, Saturday, October 5, 2013, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., Gansevoort Plaza, Meatpacking District, Manhattan:  Outdoor food tastings to benefit Lab School.  Tickets $35-$45.

4th Annual Sugar Sweet Festival, Sunday, October 6, 2013, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., The City Reliquary, Brooklyn:  Celebrates New York’s bakeries and bakers with a bake sale and baking competitions.

Slow U – Sustainable Seafood (Sashimi and More), Tuesday, October 8, 2013, 6:30 p.m., International Culinary Center (formerly known as the French Culinary Institute), 462 Broadway, Manhattan:  Enjoy sushi as you learn about sustainable local fisheries and the family fishermen.

Slice Out Hunger, Wednesday, October 9, 2013, 6 p.m., St Anthony’s Church – 154 Sullivan St (at Houston), Soho:  Sponsors match every dollar spent for Food Bank For New York City.  Tickets are $1 each.  Pizzerias include Lombardi’s, Rubirosa, John’s, Grimaldi’s, Joe’s, DiFara, Arturo’s and more.

Southern Italy and Genoa in the Early History of Pasta: Debunking the Myth of Arab Influence, Thursday, October 10, 2013, 6:30 p.m., Park Avenue United Methodist Church, 106 East 86th Street (between Park and Lexington), Upper East Side, Manhattan:  Dr. Anthony Buccini will argue that the origins of pasta making are from foodways in Southern Italy, not the Arab world. $25-$40.

Explore Brooklyn:  Italian Restaurant Week, October 10-17, 2013, Brooklyn:  Celebrate Italian American Heritage Month with discounts and deals at participating Brooklyn Italian restaurants.

NYC’s First-ever African Restaurant Week, October 13-20, 2013, NYC:  Celebrate African food with three-course prix fixes at NYC African restaurants.

Lopate and Locavores: Tips From Your Waiter, Tuesday, October 15, 2013, 7 p.m., The Greene Space, 44 Charlton Street, Tribeca, Manhattan:  Leonard Lopate leads a panel of service professionals from New York City restaurants to discuss dining etiquette, dinner date mistakes, tipping, how to get a great table without a reservation and how to get treated like a regular.  Tickets $20.

Soup Festival, October 19, 2013, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Smith Street, Brooklyn:  Judges pick the best soup from area restaurants.  Marilyn Gelber, president of The Brooklyn Foundation, and  Molly Simms, Senior Editor of Bust Magazine are the judges.  Money raised from the event benefits the Culinary Arts Program in the local public School For International Studies.

606 R&D Backyard Pig Party, Monday, October 21, 2013, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., 606 R&D, 606 Vanderbilt Avenue, Brooklyn:  Live bluegrass music, Peak organic beer, mulled cider and your fill of pork and fixin’s!

James Beard Food Conference, Monday and Tuesday, October 21 & 22, 2013, Convene Conference Center, Manhattan:  Explores The Paradox of Appetite: Hungering for Change.  Tickets $500.

Book Release Party for Mast Brothers: A Family Cookbook, Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 6 p.m., Wythe Hotel, 80 Wythe Ave, Brooklyn:  Mast Brothers share stories and recipes for American classic recipes.  With admission, you’ll receive a signed copy of the book, a complimentary beverage and hors d’oeuvres.  Tickets $50.

Iron Chef Cooking Competition with GE Monogram, Tuesday, October 22, 2013, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Manhattan:  You and a team compete creating dishes with a secret ingredient.  $45.

Culinary Luminaries: Edna Lewis, Wednesday, October 23, 2013, 6 p.m., Wollman Hall (B500), Eugene Lang College, 65 West 11th Street, Manhattan:  Event discussing the life and work of Edna Lewis.

Food Film Fest, October 23-27, 2013, New York:  Watch the films and eat the food too!  Ticket prices vary.

Brooklyn Crab’s 1st Annual Oyster Fest, Saturday, October 26, 2013, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Brooklyn Crab, 24 Reed Street, Brooklyn:  Unlimited tastings of regional craft beer with oysters.  Tickets $45.

Choctoberfest NYC, Saturday, October 26, 2013, Jimmy’s No. 43, New York:  Celebrate Fair Trade Month with a competition among homemade beer, cider, wine, mead, soda, kombucha, water kefir, milk kefir and other fermented foods that feature chocolate.

Get My Goat, October 27, 2013, 5:30 p.m., The Farm on Adderley,  1108 Cortelyou Road, Brooklyn:  The Farm on Adderley and Slow Food NYC feature a dinner menu with goat including roasted goat, goat cheese and goat’s milk. $30.

November

Cooking Lesson! How to Create a Week’s Worth of Healthy Dinners in a Snap, Wednesday, November 6 and Thursday, November 7, 2013, 7 p.m. to  9 p.m., Freshmade NYC, Manhattan:  Chef prepares four recipes for tasting and gives you recipes to take home. $40.
New York Taste, Monday, November 11, 2o13, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., The Waterfront, 269 11th Avenue, Manhattan:  New York magazine’s food festival with tastings by New York’s finest chefs.  Tickets $100-$195.

Festa di Tartufi, Friday, November 22, 2013, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m., Del Posto, Manhattan:  A celebration of Piemontese white truffles, Barbaresco and Barolo.  Mario Batali and Antonio Galloni host a five-course meal by by Executive Chef Mark Ladner.  Tickets are $1,000.

Rigatoni With Pumpkin Ricotta Sauce

pumpkin ricotta sauce

I’ve been wanting to make a pumpkin sauce for a long time.  Since I had all the ingredients and since it’s a perfect fall recipe, I decided there was no better time than now.  I kind of eyeballed the ingredients, so more or less is probably OK.

Rigatoni With Pumpkin Ricotta Sauce

1 box rigatoni

2 cups whole milk

1/3 cup whole milk ricotta

1/2 stick butter

1/2 can pumpkin

crushed red pepper, parsley, salt and pepper to taste

Cook rigatoni according to package instructions.  While it’s cooking, put all other ingredients in a pot and bring to a boil.  Lower and stir until thickened.  Serve over cooked rigatoni.  (Or pasta/macaroni of your choice.)

Want more fall pumpkin recipes?

Shirataki: The Zero-Calorie Noodle?

I’ve seen shirataki noodles in women’s magazines touted as the zero-calorie noodle for pasta lovers.  I figured I had to try it.  I found it at the Japanese grocery Sunrise Mart.  It is made from yam flour.  (There are versions made from tofu, but shirataki is made from yam flour.)  One of these brands says it is 0 calories, 0 fat and 0 carbs.  However, other brands say there are 10 calories per serving and 3 grams of carbs per serving (2 of those fiber).  In one bag, there are two servings, so that would be about 20 calories and 6 grams of carbs (4 of fiber).  If you look at the nutritional value of various spaghetti brands, you will see that 2 ounces of dry spaghetti is 210 calories and 42 grams of carbs (only 2 of those fiber).

Shirataki
These noodles do have a fishy-type smell, but that goes away once they are rinsed in water. Boil them for about 3 minutes in boiling water. I served them like spaghetti with tomato sauce and pecorino Romano cheese.  I thought they tasted good–almost like I was eating a plate of spaghetti.  The only difference was the texture of the noodle.  It’s a hard-squish al dente, not sure how else to describe it.  It reminded me of making spaghetti squash spaghetti, but it’s definitely a noodle not thin strands like the spaghetti squash.

shirataki spaghetti
I do think it’s filling, and I also think it’s a great substitute for pasta/noodles if you are counting carbs, cutting back or trying to avoid gluten or wheat.