Sicilian Paradiso. Because of its strategic location in the center of the Mediterranean, Sicily attracted numerous invaders, all leaving their mark on local cuisine. It is simple food, “cucina povera,” but immensely rich in ingredients, giving us some wonderfully flavorful options for our summer Sicilian menu. Fruits and vegetables are abundant. Eggplant, fennel, tomato, citrus, peaches, pistachios, almonds, olives, ricotta and swordfish are all featured. Though agriculturally rich, Sicily has suffered under the weight of adversity. Internationally acclaimed film, Cinema Paradiso, offers a particularly poignant glimpse into post war rural life – still amazingly relevant today. We think it is an enriching addition to this week’s menu, creating an authentic Sicilian experience.
Emilia-Romagna: Heartland of Ingredients Think of your favorite Italian ingredients…pasta, olive oil, parmesan, balsamic vinegar, prosciutto, and cured meats. These are the cornerstones of Italian cuisine and they are what make Emilia-Romagna one of the most important gastronomic regions of Italy. Italians have an innate sense of place. Land is of upmost importance as the source of ingredients for their century’s old recipes. It is the root of their heritage and their cuisine – an expression of local values. This week’s menu showcases these mainstays and more of Italian regional cooking and brings me back to some fun memories as a young American roughing it in the Italian Apennines.
The Big Night! "In love and life, one big night can change everything." Just like in the film "Big Night," the Ricchi's had the opportunity to serve a dinner that would forever change the trajectory of their lives. Only after a month of opening their Tuscan restaurant, newly inaugurated President George Herbert Walker Bush came to dinner, creating a media buzz that would firmly establish them as Washington's newest authentic Italian restaurant. This week's menu highlights i Ricchi dishes that were relatively unknown when they opened in 1989, but which have become customer favorites.
Leave the gun, take the cannoli! Many Italian-Americans grow up thinking the specialties prepared by their grandmothers are authentically Italian. Though certainly rooted in recipes from the “old country,” many were changed as immigrants adapted to their new home in America and to the ingredients they could find. “It is the memories and experiences the Italian immigrants brought with them, coupled with the products they found, that developed into today’s Italian-American cuisine,” says renowned Italian chef and author, Lidia Bastianich. Much of mainstream America was introduced to this immigrant culture through movies like “The Godfather.” This week’s menu highlights some of the most beloved dishes made famous by the movie. Menu NY “Antipasta” Salad Mixed lettuces, tomato, provolone, “mutzadell,” salame,...
Piemonte, Risotto & Napoleon. In their regional cuisines, Italians understand and celebrate their homegrown specialties, much of which are rooted in long traditions. Piemonte is rich in ingredients ranging from the Alps to the rice paddies of its plains, to the manicured vineyards on the rolling hills of Le Langhe. Our menu this week showcases all of these, embellished with local folklore and historic battle stories.