Category Archives: Italian

FOOD - "The Delicious" - Italian

Spaghetti Incident in the Lower East Side

August 28, 2015

NYC is always cooking up something new, isn’t it? Since I’ve been cooking more at home recently, I haven’t been exploring as much, but recently I was invited to check out the newly-opened Spaghetti Incident in the Lower East Side.

Spaghetti Incident in the LES

Spaghetti Incident in the LES


And just to get it out of the way in case you’re wondering, the name of the restaurant was taken from the Guns N’ Roses album that refers to an inside joke of when Axl Rose and Steven Adler got into a food fight while on tour :).
SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES


While a lot of Italian restaurants can start to look pretty similar, this place has a distinct difference: they’re the first place in the city that serve spaghetti to go in cones.
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Take-out cone

Take-out cone


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The novelty of that aside, the pastas are actually really delicious. In fact, the chef and owner of this joint, Emanuele Attala, also owns one of my personal favorite restaurants in the city, Malatesta in the West Village (I even had my birthday dinner there one year because I love it so much). So, I guess you can say it was almost a given that I would love this place as much as I did.

He, along with the sous chef Ettore Pardosi and manager Giovanni Gentile, came up with the idea of serving spaghetti in a cone after being inspired by the way Italians serve street food in the festivals back in the 50s. And they really make eating here as close to their native Italy as possibly — it feels like you’re eating in their home with the bar overlooking the kitchen and the rest of the restaurant outfitted like a 70s style kitchen.

Bar area

Bar area


Interior

Interior


The pastas are made with fresh ingredients, and cooked to perfection. Must try: the chitarra homemade spaghetti with mozarella, basil, and fresh tomato sauce, and bucatini (kale pesto with walnuts, garlic, and parmesan in cream sauce).
Chitarra

Chitarra


Kale pesto spaghetti

Kale pesto spaghetti


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Salmon pasta


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For the apprehensive, you can eat their spaghettis on plates too if you’re eating at the restaurant (the cones are to-go). They also have a selection of salads and traditional Sicilian rice balls (arancini) that’s not to be missed.
Arancini

Arancini


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It’s such a cute concept shop, you have to stop by and check it out if you’re in the area!


Restaurant Info:
Spaghetti Incident

231 Eldridge St,
New York, NY 10002
(646) 896-1446
Lower East Side
REPORT CARD
Meal: Dinner
Occasion: Checking out a new restaurant
Price: $$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: ***
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Yes!



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FOOD - "The Delicious" - Homemade - Italian

National Ravioli Day + easy way to donate food using #RanaRavioliChallenge

March 20, 2015

When Giovanni Rana, makers of delicious, authentic, Italian pasta, told me they’re partnering with food banks to fight against hunger in their latest challenge, I told them to sign me up. The initiative is two-fold: not only are they making it easy to donate food, they’re encouraging spending time with family and friends for their Rana Ravioli Challenge by making food at home.

Giovanni Rana products

They sent me some of their products to prepare a ravioli dinner with friends recently, using a mix of their Ravioli Cheese Forte with their Marina sauce and their Ravioli Mushroom with their Basil Pesto sauce. The food was prepared easily, and was so tasty. I tried different combos, with thyme-pepper chicken (recipe here) and rosemary-garlic bread. On another occasion, I topped the mushroom ravioli with sundried tomatoes.

Mushroom Ravioli with rosemary-garlic bread


Basil Pesto ravioli with chicken


Cheese ravioli with marina and topped with parmesan

They all made delicious meals (and FAST). But the best part — there’s an easy way to donate to feed the hungry. TODAY on 3/20 in honor of National Ravioli Day, use the hashtag #RanaRavioliChallenge on your social platforms (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook), and each time the hashtag is used by a different account, Giovanni Rana will donate 1 pound of pasta to the Food Bank For New York City.

I would love if you guys could participate — every little bit counts! Feel free to link this post or one of my photos to help with the initiative :).


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FOOD - "The Delicious" - Italian

West Village: L’Artusi

March 17, 2015

I’m a completely different eater now from when I first moved to NYC. It went from steps of eating out all the time, to ordering in all the time, to now cooking all the time (or as I look at it, a progression of enthusiasm, to complacency, to now a revived sense of adventure). I eat out now mostly when it’s convenient for whoever I’m meeting (anyone who knows me now knows I usually offer to make something as an excuse to stay in, but that could also be winter’s effect on me). Yesterday though, when my friend Angel and I were looking for a place to grab dinner, I remembered L’Artusi. The Italian restaurant is a beautiful, two-level spot in the West Village that I was first introduced to Fashion Week years ago when NARS hosted their first blogger dinner there. It was also responsible for instilling my love for brussels sprouts because there’s is like another level. Trying to make a reservation here in the past few months has not been an easy feat — I’ve been trying on separate occasions for a small group and it never worked out so when they actually had one available, we nabbed it.

STARTERS
: A mound of shredded kale with walnuts, apple, an pecorino. Highly recommend, it’s light and delicious.

Kale salad



MAIN
: Beets ravioli, filled with ricotta cheese, and poppy seeds; Spaghetti with garlic chilies and parmesan.

Ravioli


Spaghetti

The ravioli was delicious, but now I get why the waiter pushed us to order more…you’re pretty much paying $18 for five pieces of ravioli. Which hurts my heart because at $4 a piece, I know I could buy a whole packet of them at the store for $4. But since we are at a fancy place, we have to play by fancy rules. So not about this life. Angel said the spaghetti was tasty and light with the mix of garlic and parmesan.

SIDE
: Brussels sprouts with pecorino and black pepper.

Brussels sprouts

It was a teeny bit heavy on the salt, but it was still a delicious mix of cheese and seasoning and I love that they roast it to a crisp.


DESSERT
: Hazelnut chocolate torts with praline crunch and salted caramel gelato.

Hazelnut chocolate torta

Dessert was a good note to leave it on (give me hazelnut/praline anything and I’m happy). A good place for a fancy date night (I think everyone around us was on one, now that I think about it). Or to catch up with a friend who you’ve been planning to have dinner with for, like, a year (Hi Angel!!).

REPORT CARD
Meal: Dinner

Occasion: Craving brussels sprouts
Price: $$$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: **
Service: ***
Would I go back?: It’s a solid spot (date night!) with a nice, dimly-lit ambiance and attentive staff. I’d go back to try more things off the menu, but I’m making ravioli at home!


Restaurant Info:
L’Artusi

228 W 10th St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 255-5757
West Village

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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Homemade - Italian - Recipes

Recipe: Seasoned thyme pepper chicken with sautéed veggies

March 10, 2015

It’s been a long time since I got together with some of my friends and when they were picking out a restaurant, I thought it might be nicer to have a home cooked meal so I offered to cook. Everyone was on this workout binge apparently, and really wanted protein in the meal. I had to nix my plan for breaded chicken and thick sauces and decided to go with a healthier option. But I didn’t want to skimp on taste. I thought veggies and chicken would be an easy way to go. I made this up as I went along but it tasted pretty good so thought I’d share:

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Ingredients

5-6 boneless chicken breast
8-10 sprigs of thyme
Pepper, salt to season
1 tsp of red pepper flakes (you can skip this if you don’t want any spice)
A dash of cayenne pepper (again, can skip if you don’t want spice)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
extra virgin olive oil (to sautee)
6 oz of white mushroom, sliced
6-8 shallots, sliced
1 red onion, sliced (or you can just slice more shallots if you have enough…I mixed it up a little here)


DIRECTIONS

1) Season chicken breasts with thyme, salt, pepper, cayenne, and red pepper flakes until completely covered. Set aside.

2) In a non-stick frying pan, warm olive oil (a few teaspoons) and minced garlic on medium heat for a few minutes. Add mushrooms, shallots and onion and sautee until brown.

Veggies


3) Move veggies around to the perimeter of the pan. If needed, add another tsp of oil in the middle and lay chicken breasts in the middle (about 2-3 might fit depending how big the pan is). Cover and cook each side for about 5 minutes until slightly brown.

Finished chicken


Note: I left the veggies in there so the chicken has those juices as it cooks. If you feel the veggies are burning, you can remove, but I left it for at least the first couple breasts to cook and removed.

4) When chicken is ready, serve with the mushroom/shallots/onion mixture on top.

Super easy, delicious, and healthy. If you want to take it a step further, you can even bake the chicken, which I might try next time. I also served with a side of basil pesto mushroom ravioli, and another of spinach and cheese ravioli in marinara (clearly I’m not counting carbs). I’ll detail that in another post!

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FOOD - "The Delicious" - Italian

Dinner at Davio’s in Midtown East

July 4, 2014

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New York is pretty saturated with Italian restaurants, and there are not a lot of places that I’ve felt the desire to revisit. Davio’s is one of the exceptions. Everything from their beautiful ambiance, to their hand-rolled potato gnocchi with organic mushroom, basil and truffle oil that practically melt in your mouth made my dining experience there a couple months ago with my friend Priya and her daughter Madina one of the best. I’ve since went back a couple times, and tell everyone about it. Their menu is on the pricey side (apps averaging $15, where dinner plates are closer to $28-$30), but they show you it’s worth it. Some of their highlights:

Goat cheese croquettes

Delicious salad with roasted baby beets, goat cheese, hazelnuts, and a beet vinaigrette:

Vegetarian salad


When I asked for another vegetarian option for salad, the chef put together a fresh, special mix here:

Spring salad

And when it came to dishes with truffle, including this caramelle pasta dish with gorgonzola, ricotta, mascarpone, parmigiano, and black truffle butter, the waiter grated fresh truffle over the pastas:

Carmelle pasta


Shaving fresh truffle

It was my first time trying lobster, but the sides of buttery dips gave each bite so much flavor.

Lobster


I thought I would love the shrimp dish more, but to me the pastas and lobster were the real super stars. The shrimp did have a nice spicy tamarind kick to it:

Baked shrimp

The only thing I regrettably missed taking pics of was their dessert spread. They have a whole selection of chocolate molten cakes, ice creams, and sorbets from their own bakery.

A pic I found from Davio's will have to do for now..but they are to die for


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The whole experience was so much fun, and the wait staff was one of the nicest I’ve encountered in the city. The staff smiled and coo’d at Priya’s 1-year-old daughter Madina (granted, she has that effect on people), but they were totally accommodating of the young’n, even providing her with crayons and paper to color and when she was bored with that, a bowl of mash potatoes that she decided to spend the remaining of the evening dipping her spoon in and out of.

On top of that, the restaurant is always taking part of great events. I went back for Sunset Yoga they did with Exhale Spa (one of the best yoga classes I’ve taken!) and a charity initiative they help host with Pretty Connected, where beauty bloggers and editors got to donate our unused and unopened beauty products to women in need. A restaurant with great food that’s also doing great things…sign me up.


REPORT CARD
Meal: Dinner

Occasion:
Price: $$$
(Out of three stars)
Ambiance: ***
Food: ***
Service: ***
Would I go back?: Yes


Restaurant Info:
Davio’s

451 Lexington Ave,
btw 44th and 45th Street
New York, NY 10017
(212) 661-4810


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American - FOOD - "The Delicious" - Homemade - Italian - Recipes

Recipe: Homemade lasagna

February 12, 2014

I was Garfield in another life. I’ve asked my mom to teach me how she makes her lasagna a million times over the phone, but there’s something different about actually being there and making it with her.

Homemade lasagna

Every time I make a trip to Chicago I try to cook one thing with her (which sometimes is a ginormous fail because she’ll start cooking without me and finish by the time I come downstairs). This time I brought all the ingredients home for the lasagna the night before, but when we were supposed to cook I left the house for a second to run an errand with my dad and my mom called me to tell me she already started boiling the pasta. I caught her in time to tell her to stop so I can take pics and bake with her. The hardest thing is measuring portions because you know how moms do everything ‘by eye.’ But since it’s one of my favorite dishes of her’s, I had to try:

Ingredients



Ingredients:

1 box of lasagna pasta
1 lb of ground beef (recipe here!)
12 oz Cottage Cheese
1 cup Ricotta Cheese
8 oz Mozzarella Cheese
2/3 cup Parmesan Cheese
2 eggs
Spaghetti sauce (we used with carmelized onion and garlic)
Salt (to taste, about 1 tsp)
Pepper (to taste about 1 tsp)
Italian seasoning (to taste, about 1 tsp)
Salt
9×13 baking dish
1 tsp of butter, or cooking spray to grease baking dish


Directions:

Cooking ground beef and pasta


1) Boil lasagna strips according to directions. Strain and set aside.
2) Cook ground beef (recipe here). Add sauce to the ground beef. Heat, mix together, and keep aside.

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3) Pre heat oven to 375 degrees
4) In a separate bowl, mix 1 egg with ricotta cheese. Mix in Italian seasoning, pepper and pinch of salt. In another bowl, mix the egg and spices to the cottage cheese.

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5) Grease baking dish. You can use a cooking spray, a little oil, or we just used butter.
6) Lightly coat the bottom of the dish with a little of the sauce from the ground beef mixture (about 4 tbs). This will keep the bottom moist.

Coating baking dish and layering pasta


7) Place first layer of lasagna strips. About 4 should do it – make sure there are no spaces and it’s well packed.
8 ) Next, spread a layer of the ricotta cheese/egg mixture.
9) Layer over the cottage cheese mixture next.
10) Then top with the ground beef/tomato sauce mixture.
11) Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over that.

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12) Then, place the second layer of lasagna strips. Repeat the same with the cheese and sauce layer.
13) Top now with the third layer of lasagna strips.
14) For the final layer, just add ground beef/sauce, and mozzarella, and finish by sprinkling the parmesan cheese.

Before covering and placing in oven


15) If you like, you can add a pinch more of salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
16) Cover the pan with aluminum foil. Stick in oven and bake for 45 minutes.
17) Remove the foil cover, and let it bake for another 15-20 minutes.

Bake covered first then uncover for last 20 minutes


18) Let it cool for about 10 minutes before you cut into squares and serve.

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I tried to make a very short (albeit, not the greatest quality) video on my Instagram, so if you want to see the steps in motion, check it out @BeautyNDFeast. Let me know if you try it and what you think!


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