When a bunch of Italians get together, it is bound to get saucy. So in friendly competitive spirit, we all challenged each other to a #sauceoff. We were judged by a group of close friends, who managed to stay unbiased. After enjoying several bottles of great Italian wine, we dished it up, but one dish was clearly #1. Grazie.
Our host, Team Paul Iacono, stirred the crowd with his Tagliatelle & Ragu Bolognese. Not a heavy meat sauce that you would expect in a bolognese, Paul’s was layered with flavor and very light. The winner!
The De Martes went all ‘Italian Job’ on their dish. James is an amazing chef and worked all day on his handmade Tortellini “tastasal” with Treviso, bacon ragù in a free-range chicken broth with parsley pesto and grana padano. The whole dish was perfection, the parsley pesto gave it a very fresh flavor. In second place – James is looking for a re-match!
Last but not least, #BillyisTheBest and I pulled out a classic we often make at home, Pasta Ceci. Seared chicken with onion, garlic, chick peas, arugula, parmesan and toasted bread crumbs. An Italian peasant dish inspired by my momma, Roro Bitetti.
Round TWO will be happening soon!
This was such a fun way to have a dinner party. Rachel DeMarte expertly created a charcuterie platter from Bari Foods, and we each prepared our dishes at home, then plated them up at go-time.
Layer in some wine (and grappa) – it was a fun night worth competing for.
Looking back on 2013 – it was a great year, but we all are looking forward to what 2014 has in store for us, and here is what I’d like to see more of.
1. WINE: On a recent trip to New Orleans, my boyfriend and I fell in love with Chablis at Restaurant R’evolution, and just can’t get enough. I also want to learn more about Italian wines, especially big Brunellos, with the help of Vino Italiano.
2. BAGUETTE: In Paris with my besties, hot dogs on the Champs-Élysées in a baguette are a must-have obsession. We are talking the thin ‘crunchy on the outside yet very soft and chewy on the inside’ kind. More delicious things need to be put in a baguette, so chefs please take note. Pastoral does a great job at stuffing baguettes with Jamon Serrano, BLTS and Spanish style tuna on their sandwich menu.
3. SEAFOOD: This Dungeness Crab with fava bean puree, bottarga and radishes is not only a beautiful presentation, but a delicious appetizer served with thin crackers at Nico Osteria. Bacon and pork belly will always be in my heart, but lighter seafood extravaganzas are welcome. You’re welcome.
4. FANCY: Caviar, yes please. And shaved truffles, please don’t stop. These crème fraîche and caviar numbers were served at the Brioni opening. Class. All the way.
5. ESCAROLE: Can it be the new kale? This salad at Pizza House 1647 is perfectly light yet robust with flavors with the addition of roasted string beans, grape tomatoes, garbanzo beans, a wedge of asiago, fennel and scallions. Chickory and Dandelion Greens are also on my list. If you have any leads let me know.
6. ARTICHOKES: This is the one vegetable where I can never get enough. Steam them, grill them, stuff them. Just get out of my way when they are done. La Madia grills them with garlic and a creamy mustard sauce.