April 27, 2010
Food is a topic that is on everyone’s mind and these days what is genuine Italian is a hot topic. This evening, three owners of Italian Specialty shops in New York city will share their secrets and talk about smart shopping. The lecture is part of a series of six educational lectures organized by Casa Italiana Zerilli-Marimo’ and the Gruppo Ristoratori Italiani.
The panel includes Lou DiPalo of Dipalo’s Fine Foods whose family originally hails from Basilicata. DiPalo’s family opened its first shop in 1910. Today’s store is much larger than any of its previous incarnations and Lou’s son has opened his own wine shop next door.
The second guest at the lecture will be Louis Coluccio Jr of DColuccio & Sons in Brooklyn. Louis Jr. is very entertaining and passionate about food, especially those that his family has been importing for decades.
The third speak is Antonio Magliulo of Buonitalia in the Chelsea Market. Buonitalia is very well known in New York restaurant circles and many order directly from his wholesale business. There is also a lovely cafe’ within the premises and many consider it to have some of the best espresso in New York. All told, the evening should be exciting with tidbits and new information. I’m looking forward to going.
April 26, 2010
Whenever the munchies overcome my weak will power and I feel like something tasty but not too heavy that is authentic Italian and reasonably priced, one of my favorite destinations in NYC is Bocca. An elegant eatery in Gramercy, a neighborhood packed with culinary heavyweights, Bocca is a Roman restaurant that offers culinary specialties for every palate. Executive chef David Buico has designed lunch and dinner menus that feature the most savory old time Roman classics, like Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe, home made pasta served with precorino romano and coarse black pepper, Maccheroni alla Gricia, bronze casted and slowly dried pasta served with guanciale, coarse black pepper and pecorino di fossa, Maialino al forno e carciofi alla romana, slow roasted suckling pig with roasted fingerling potatoes and artichokes, and many other favorites.
But that’s not all – something else is worth mentioning, something that many restaurants don’t really pay too much attention to: the bar menu. At the bar it is possible to satisfy any craving and the crowd’s favorite is Supplì al telefono (Fried rice balls “on the phone”).
Filling yet smooth, Supplì al telefono is a dish that is very popular in Rome and it’s not unusual, when making risotto, to make some extra on purpose in order to make these delicious rice balls using the leftovers (common belief is that when the rice is older it holds together firmly so that the balls do not break during the frying process). The name comes from the dish’s visual effect, meaning that when you bite into the supplì the melted mozzarella that is hiding in the flavorful rice flows out in long strips, somehow resembling the cord connecting a telephone handset to the hook. Arborio and/or Carnaroli rice is perfect for making supplì.
Supplì can be seen as a variant of Sicily’s arancini or Naples’ palline di riso or as a kind of croquette.
By Natasha Lardera
September 1, 2009
Farro, a form of wheat that has its’ husk intact, is making a splash in the United States. A grain that is traditionally eaten in Tuscany, Abruzzo and Lazio, Farro may just be the new orzo, another grain from Italy that has become a mainstay on many menus.
Farro is arguably more rustic than orzo. It is darker in color and has a delicious nutty and firm flavor. Tuscans use farro for soups, as an alternative to pasta or as a side dish. Much whole wheat pasta is made from farro as are many desserts. Farro can also be used in salads instead of other grains such as quinoa.
Farro is also extremely easy to make and is generally cooked in the same way that you would make rice or orzo. It is supposed to be chewier than rice so it can be cooked for a shorter period of time. In it’s easiest form, it is delicious with some fresh tomato sauce, basil and pepperoncino (macerated red pepper).
Farro is an ancient grain which first came to light in the Middle East. From there, it spread to Italy where it has been grown for centuries. It is somewhat harder to grow than other forms of wheat and therefore has been less popular in other areas of the world.
In Italy, you can generally find farro both in the main supermarkets and in health food stores. Farro is considered to confer healthy benefits and has very low cholesterol. In the United States, you can find farro is some high end Italian grocery stores or online at a variety of websites.
It is unlikely that we will see farro on every menu any time soon which is too bad because the nutty flavors go very well with fall meats, wines and vegetables. A healthy soup of farro and legumes is perfect for a cool fall evening with a glass of sangiovese. While one doesn’t want summer to end, farro reminds me there are some lovely fall foods and farro is one of them.