Batali

Chianti Comes To Town

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Sassello and awesome reserve production CHianti from Castello Verrazzano

by Luigi Cappellini

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Daniel Bellino-Zwicke and Cavalier Luigi Cappellini of Castello Verrazzano at DeGrzia Restaurant

New York  …

Yes Chianti came to town the other day. The town? New York City. The Chianti, Castello Verrazzanno … Luigi Cappellini of Castello Verrazzano (Owner) visited with me and tasted me on his latest offerings from his equisite wine estate in Greve in Chianti Classico .. Chianti Classico is the great wine region in Tuscany that produces Italy’s most storied wine “Chianti” along with Vin Santo and porprietory Super Tuscan Wines .. Mr. Cappellini is the proud owner of one of Chianti Classico’s and Italy’s finest most beautiful wine estates. They produce three different Chianti wines; a Chianti normale, Chianti Riserva, and a special limited edition Cru Chianti in Sassello which was formally bottled as a Super Tuscan but has by a good choice of Mr. Cappellini been made and classified into Chianti Classico Riserva status. Luigi brought the Sassello to me to taste along with other fine wines. Let me tell you, when I tasted the Sassello, it blew my wine. The “Sassello” Chianti Classico Riserva 2007 is one of the finest wines that I have tasted of a few thousand wines this year. The wine has everything going on for it, and I’m not going to go into some drrwn out boring discription other than to say it was delicious, tasty, “In Perfect Balance,” and just one of those extra special wines. I love it, and ordered 2 6 packs on the spot. We have many great wines in our extensive cellars of Big Names of great prestige and storied vintages, and I can easily say, that when we take delivery of this wine next week it will be among our greatest wines in our cellars of a couple thousand, the wine is great as great can be, “Basta!”

Luigi also brought his 2009 Chianti  normale and Chianti Reserva 2007, both quite tasty. Unfortunately, I wasn’t tasted on their (Verrazzano’s) great Vin Santo, which I’ve drank on numerous occasions in Greve at the Verrazzano Estate .. I wasn’t tasted on it, as the importer Palm Bay does not import that particular wine from Verrazzano, but I can tell you from experience, the wine is nutty, lush, and just perfect …

One wine that Luigi tasted me on and of which I just bought 2 cases as I love it, is a wine called Verrazzano Rosso, with a subtitle of MiniTuscan … The wine is super tasty and very affordable … It is made of Sangiovese, Cannaiolo, Mavasia, and a tiny bit of Trebbiano. This wine is made in the classic true old style of Chianti of which white grapes were allowed in the blend of mostly Sangiovese Grapes along with the native Cannaiolo, and white native grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia. The wine is quite tasty of medium body and ripe as well as a tad of bitter fruit flavors. As I said, this wine as made in the way that Chianti used to be made with native grapes of the Chianti Classico wine region. The laws and rules of what is a Chianti Classico by the law of the Italian Goverment and Chianti Consorzio were changed in 1996 to incude the sacraligious inclusion of international grapes like Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon … For those who know me, they know I distane this practice along with a few other people who are Chinati lovers and purest. We wish for the laws to change back and exclude all “non-native Grapes” like Merlot, Cabernet Suavignon and any others, and for Chianti to incude only native grapes and a blend of mostly Sangiovese and including small amounts of native grapes like; Cannaiolo, Colorino, Malvasia Nero, and very tiny amounts if a property so chooses of the white grapes of Trebbiano and Malvasia Bianco. This is true CHianti and the kind of Chianti Luigi Cappellini makes at the Verrazzano Estate.

Daniel Bellino Zwicke

CHIANTI

CHIANTI

"La TAVOLA" is Greenwich Village Italian by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

“La TAVOLA” is Greenwich Village Italian by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

WHAT WINE For SUNDAY SAUCE? ITALIAN GRAVY?

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Wine for Sunday Sauce? What do you drink? Which wine pairs best with Sunday Sauce, thee Supreme Dish of Italian-America? Is it Chianti, most iconic of all Italian Wines? Perhaps Aglianico or Piedrossa from the region of Campania where the roots of Italian-American Sunday Sauce Gravy begin? Or a Sicilian Wine like Nero d’Avola or Norello Mascallese? If you trace the roots of Italian-American Sunday Sauce and the people who created it, Sicilians are among the top of the list. Now, I know since you came to this page that bottle of Carlo Rossi “Paisano” just had to catch your eye. And I’m sure most of you are asking the question, “Carlo Rossi Paisano, are You Kidding?” The answer. “No, Not Really.” Well I’m not saying it’s the best choice. OK so we have to match a good wine with that fabulous Sunday Sauce of yours. What to drink?

I’m here to tell you, it can be one or more of many wines, and don’t count a wine like Carlo Rossi Paisano out. “You’re Joking?” You say. No. Listen, this can be your wine, maybe not. I myself have drank some of the World’s Priciest, and so-called greatest wines in the World, “Trophy Wines,” like; Sassicaia, Gaja Barbaresco. La Tache, Chateau Petrus, Cahteau Haute Brion, Petrus, Chateasu Cheval Blanc, Chateau Latour, all the great Brunello and barolo wines, great vintage Champagnes, you name it, “I’ve had it.” And with my knowledge of wine, I can tell you, a lot of it is hype, and Marketing BS, and sometimes not. And I’ll tell you this, do not be so much of a snob, a Wine Snob. You see that Carlo Rossi, with all the prestigous wines that I’ve consumed over the years, I’m not above drinking that. Carlo Rossi .. The wine has special meaning and affection for me. It’s one of  the two wines my uncles always bought for our Sunday Family Meals. Meals of Meatballs, Sunday Sauce “Gravy,” Ravioli, Veal Marsala, Chicken Cactitore. My Uncles Tony and Frank always had either Carlo Rossi paisano or Gallo Hearty Burgungy on hand. They were their wines, and they only had other wines if someone brought something like Bolla Valpolicella, Rufino Chianti or some other wine. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Paisano or Gallo Hearty Burgundy are great wines, “No.” But they are not that bad. They are Italian-American Wines made by Italian-Americans and have social significance to Italian-Americans. These wines are part of our history, as are the wines from the great Robert Mondavi, The Mondavi Family, Francis Ford Coppola and other Italian Families in America.

So what am I saying? What wines to drink with the Sunday Sauce or any home-made Italian American Meal? Well, actually most of the time I do drink wines from Italy with my Sunday Sauce or whatever Italian food we’re making. The Carlo Rossi is just when we eat over Uncle Tony’s house with Uncle Frank and all the wonderful meals with Aunt Fran, Aunt Helen, Mommy, Cousin Tony, and my brothers and sister and the whole family. No, I’m not above drinking Carlo Rossi or Gallo if my Uncles are serving it. When we’re eating at home, we usually love to drink Chianti, most times, sometimes Barolo, Barbera, or Brunello. But most often it’s Chianti which I love and it goes quite well with just about anything we eat, especially Meatballs, Sausage, and Sunday Sauce. Chinati comes from Tuscany and is a medium bodied wine made mostly from Sangiovese (The Blood of Jobe), and with small percentages of other native Tuscan grapes like; Colorino, Malvasia Nero, Cannaiolo, or Ciegolo. 

One thing I must say is, that I usually don’t like wines like Big, concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon or Syrah from California or Australia. To me, these are the last wines I would ever want to drink with Italian food. Reason. These wines are usually to rich, and because of that, they clash with the food instead of complementing them. the wines you want to drink should have good flavor, but be light to medium in body and weight. Not Bif, Fat, Rich, and concentrated. “No Bueno!”

Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

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La TAVOLA Is Aailable in Paperback and KINDLE on AMAZON.com

Clemenza’s Meatball Sunday Sauce

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Well, it seems we’ve been waiting forever, 41 years to be exact since the release of one of America’s most epic movies, The Godfather by Italian-American Director Francis Ford Coppola. What have we been waiting for? A book dedicated to the legendary scene when Corleone Family Caporegime Peter Clemenza teaches Michael Corleone (Al Pacino) how to make “Sauce,” Sunday Sauce that is, aka Gravy, the beloved, monumental, most important dish in all of Italian-America, its cooking, eating and gathering of the family. Clemenza fries up some garlic with tomatoes and Tomato Paste, then “throw in your Meatballs and Sausage,” he adds a little wine, a bit of sugar, and that’s his secret. It’s a piece of movie, AMerican, and Italian American History, purely classical and it’s in Daniel B. Bellino’s new book Clemenza’s Meatball Sunday Sauce, the most anticipated cookbook of 2013 ..

Yes, Clemenza’s Meatball Sunday Sauce “Gravy” recipe is in their in all its fabulousness, as is Charlie & Big Paulie’s Goodfellas Sunday Sauce and Henry’s Veal & Peppers recipes. LEarn how to make Meatballs, Pasta Fazool, Spaghetti with Tomato Sauce, Mussels Marinara and much more. Daniel even includes the top secret recipe for Salsa Segreta, the “Secret Sauce” of beloved (now defunct) New York Italian favorite restaurant Gino’s …

There’s Daniel’s own famed Sunday Sauce and Amatriciana recipes and much more. This book is an absolute Gem “Must Have” for anyone interested in the wonderful Food and History of Italian-American, Italian Food and of course the star of the show, Sunday Sauce. You will delight in every recipe and the whimsical stories and anecdotes of the Italian American lifestyle, particularly in New York and of Mob Movies. As I’ve said it is a must have and especially now with Daniel’s generous introductory offer of just .99 Cents a copy. It’s a steal.

ClemzaMBSunSauceCOVER copy

CARBONE REPORT CARD

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NEW YORK MAGAZINE 1 STAR  …  Adam Platt

NEW YORK TIMES   3 STARS   of Possible 4  … Pete Wells

NEW YORK POST 2 STARS of Possible 4 .. Steve Cuozzo

BLOOMBERG NETWORK  3 1/2 STARS

THE NEW YORK OBSERVER …. Joshua David Stein says “Carbone Makes a Case Greatness In A Red Sauce Joint”

GAEL GREEME The Insatiable Critic Gives CARBONE (Greenwich Village) High Marks After Going to “Wrong Carbone” in Hells Kitchen ...

BLOGS OVERALL:  Most like or Love Carbone. Some Don’t, but Carbone defiantely comes out on the Plus Side with Bloggers.

 

 

 

 

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Mangia Bene!

Mangia Bene!

DiFARA “America’s BEST PIZZA”

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The PIZZA MAESTRO “Dom DeMarco”

“Yes,” Eating Pizza Made by The Maestro DOM DeMARCO

Is a Religious Experience !!!

 

Much has been said of the now famed Pizzeria (DiFarra Pizza) on Avenue J in Brooklyn, New York the Capital of Thee Best Pizza in the whole United States of America, bar-none, even Manhattan. Brooklyn lays claim to the Top two Pizzerias in the country, the top of the list 1 and 2, number 1, The Best and number 2, the second best. Well no, I don’t know if I should put it that way, as it sound s as one is better than the other, which is not ht e case, as they are both equally good, equally Great and equally the Best Pizza and the Best Pizzerias in the United States, though they are are little different than one another. The Pizza at both Totonno’s on Neptune Avenue in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York and Di Farra Pizza on Avenue J in Brooklyn are both otherworldly specimens of some the Finest Pizza on other and the Undisputed Best Pizza in America.

Wow, got off on a tangent about both Di Farra and Totonno’s when I just intended to talk about Di Farra Pizza, Dom DeMarco the Maestro of Di Farra’s and the Religious experience that it is to go there, watch Dominic masterfully make Pizza after glorious Pizza (without the help of anyone else), to watch in awe and anticipation and Salivation til you finally get yours (after about a hour or hour and a half wait), you hold it in your hand like a precious baby, and then to sink your teeth into it, savoring each wondrous bite after the other. “Yes,” it is truly a religious experience, that is, if you are a great lover of this wonderful invention, created in Napoli, spread throughout the the Italian Peninsular and then across the Atlantic to America from Italian Immigrants where Gennaro Lombardi opened the First Pizzeria in America on Prince Street in New York City some 100 years ago or so.

Back to Di Farra and Pizzaiolo Extraordinaire, Mr. Dominic DeMarco. It is Dominic that makes Di Farra what it is, it certainly isn’t the Pizzeria itself which is ultra plain and even appalling to some. Mr. DeMarco’s pizzas are just about as close to absolute perfection in the Pizza Making World, a world in which New York City excels and has only one rival in Naples, Italy and the whole of Italy itself. Mr. De Marco has the magic touch, with perfect dough, the perfect balance of ingredients, tomato and other ingredient ratio to cheese, and this include Mr. Demarcos judicious use of Olive Oil which is right-on and a little magic touch that whoever complains about it, just does not know there Pizza and Italian Food on a whole. We Italians love our olive oil. And those who complain are unaware that it is a condiment that adds the final last touch to many dishes before they are eaten. Dominic knows this and should not be discourage against his generous use of it by those who do not understand the proper essence of the Italian Table. So please, keep your traps shut, if you don’t like it don’t eat it, this countries finest examples of the Pizza Art.

And on to the religious experience of Di Farra, Dom DeMarco and the mans artistry with Pizza. There is nothing quite like it in the entire Pizza World. There does not exist, to my knowledge any place in the world that has an elderly man making a hundred plus Pizzas a day in a place that has endless lines, day and night. Pizza that are so perfect, words can not describe People line up for greatness and artistry, and for a couple of slices of the most marvelous pizza this side of Naples, and to watch this passionate little old man work his heart out, not getting, not allowing anyone else to make a pie at his beloved Pizzeria. The man is elderly. He’s worked his whole life. He makes such a magical thing that people line up each and every day to see him and eat one of his many masterpieces. With business like this, he could hire to other Pizzaiolos to help him, doubling or tripling his business and and financial intake. He could hire two guys and make pizza aloing with them, or sit back and get three guys to do it. At his age, he’s entitled to. But know, Dom DeMarco loves what he does, he loves his Pizza, each and every one that passes that counter and into thousands of appreciative hands. The man feels that no one else can make a Pizza the way he does and wants to serve to his customers. No one else who has his skills, his passion and love for the Pizza, thus he does it all himself. And this my friends is the reason that going to Di Farra’s to watch Dominic the maestro in action, all by himself while hundreds of people line up every day, waiting an hour and a half to two hours just to get a Pizza (not just any old Pizza mind you). “It’s a Religious Experience.” Truly! A show and there is nothing like it in the World, Dom DeMarco, a man and his Pizza, America’s Best, and something to rival that other World Pizza Capital, Napoli.

 

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

 

 

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READ of DiFARRA, PIZZA, And ITALIAN-AMERICAN NEW YORK in “La TAVOLA” by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke … Available on AMAZON.com

 

HARRY’S BAR Worlds Coolest Restaurant

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ARIGO CIPRIANNI MIXES UP SOME BELLINI S “INVENTED by HIS FATHER GIUSEPPE CIPRIANI”

The World’s Coolest Restaurant? Why, it’s Harry’s Bar,

Venice of course. Without a doubt. There is no contest for any to compete. Well many will beg to differ, but I know better, and better than most. No Brag, Just Fact! Let me tell you why.

If you are in any of the Great Renowned Cities of the World, cities such as; New York, Paris, Rome, Bangkok, Tokyo, London,

Hong Kong, wherever. There will in all these cities be a number of restaurants where the In-Crowd, the Jet-Set, Those in The Know, the Movers-and-Shakers of the World will go to. There are usually at least 6 to 12 restaurants for those in the know to go to. For example, if you are in my City, New York and you are one of these people, “Those In the Know,” you might go to any one of these restaurants. right now in the year 2011 these restaurants would be; Minetta Tavern,

Bar Pitti, The Waverly Inn, Pastis, Momofuku Ssam, The Standard Grill, John Dory at The Ace Hotel, and at least 6 others. Same goes for LA, London, Paris, Rome, and so-on.

In Venice there are many restaurants, but really just one more or less that “Everyone Who is Anyone” will go when in town. One, that one is “Harry’s Bar.” No other restaurant in the World quite like it. If you are of the Jet Set, The In Crow, those “In-The-Know,” you’ll know one thing for sure, when you go to Harry’s Bar you will be amongst the all of

The “in Crowd” will be there and nowhere else. Well this is a bit of an exaggeration to make a point, but this point is true 85% of the time.

And of the place, Harry’s Bar, Venice. And i keep saying Harry’s bar Venice, for it is thee only one, but there are many others around the World with the same name. There is only one Great “Harry’s Bar” and that is Harry’s Bar, Venice at the Vaporetto stop of San Marco.

Yes, and of Harry’s. The restaurant is Wonderful. It has a beautiful casual elegance in the decor. The place is always filled with the “Beautiful People,” the service is great, and the food Fabulous. Though at a price. Harry’s bar is very expensive. For some this is of no consequence, but if it is expensive for you, it is definitely worth a splurge. The place is awesome.

After-All, they invented the “Bellini” Cocktail here. And

Beef Carpaccio as well.

Over the years, everyone and everyone has passed through the doors; Kings, Queens, Presidents, Prime Ministers,

Rock Stars, Movie Stars, you name it. Too many to name, never-the-less, I will name some names; Ernest Hemingway, Grace Kelly, Onassis, Sir Winston Churchill, Humphrey Bogart, Mick Jagger, George Clooney, Jude Law, Gwyneth Palthrow and on-and-on. And you if you go, of course.

If you go to Harry’s Bar, you will Love it. The place is filled with quite a exciting energy. It’s a experience you’ll always remember. So, do remember, The World’s Coolest restaurnat, Harry’s Bar, Venice that is.

 

 by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

FEAST of The 7 FISH “Just in Time For Christmas”

The Feast of The 7 Fish

The Feast of The 7 Fish

The Feast of The 7 Fish

Kindle Edition

The Italian Christmas Feast of The 7 Fish? Ever Wonder about it” Its meaning, make-up, rituals, and of course “How To Make It?” Well Ladies and Gentlemen, You’re in Luck.” Renowned Chef and Cookbook author Daniel Bellino-Zwicke has just come up with his latest “THE FEAST of The 7 FISH” An Italian-American Christmas Eve Feast, and just in Time for Christmas. If you’ve ever wanted to know about this wonderful Italian Christmas Tradition and How to make it, then this book is for you. It has Everything you need to know to make this Wonderful Italian Feast and on all levels ..

THE FEAST of The 7 FISH

THE FEAST of THE 7 FISH

Feast of The 7 Fish

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

in PAPERBACK & KINDLE EDITIONS AMAZON.com

La Vigilia

 

   My Aunt Helen used to make the famous Italian Christmas Eve Dinner, The Feast of 7 Fishes, The 7 Fish of the Seven Sacraments. I know she made it because I used to hear her talking about it when I was a little kid. Although I shared many wonderful meals with my dear Aunt Helen, I never had the pleasure of having the famous Christmas Eve Dinner “La Vigilia” Feast of Seven Fish with her. We always had Christmas Eve dinner with the immediate family and Aunt Helen had the Christmas Eve with her brother and sister and other family members. Aunt Helen was born in Salerno, Italy and was my Uncle Franks (1 of my Mother’s 3 brothers) better half. So for our Christmas Dinner my mother would make an Antipasto of Salami, Provolone, Peppers, and Olives, followed by Baked Ziti and a Baked Ham studded with cloves and Pineapple rings.

   The first time I ever had the mystical dinner was about 14 years ago with my cousin Joe, his family and my girlfriend Duyen. We had been talking about this famous Italian Feast a few weeks previous, and were thinking of making it. Joe told me he wanted to have the Christmas Eve Meal of The Feast of The 7 Fishes, known in Italy as La Viglia (The Vigil) or “La Festa Dei Sette Pesci,” which is also known in Italian-America as The Feast of The 7 Fish, the 7 Fish representing the 7 Sacraments.

   This Dinner, La Viglia originated in Southern Italy, especially in and around the environs of Napoli. The Feast of The 7 Fish is a Southern Italian tradition that does not exist in the rest of Italy, it is of the South. La Viglia, or “The Feast of the Seven Fishes” as it is known to Italian-Americans commemorates the waiting (Vigil) of the Baby Jesus to be Born at Midnight and the Seven Fish represent the Seven Sacraments of the Roman Catholic Church. Some also believe that the Seven Fish might signify the 7 Days of Creation, or The Seven Deadly Sins, but most believe the 7 Fish pertain to the Seven Sacraments.

     So Joe asked me if I wanted to make this festive and all important dinner, to perform the ceremony. He didn’t need to ask twice. I had never made it before and was dying to do so. For a long time I had yearned to partake in this celebrated old Southern Italian Ritual, and this was my chance. Naturally I was excited, so was Joe. So it we had great anticipation of the grand Feast to come and we were filled with happy expectations of the meal to come.

And what for the menu? I know Aunt Helen made Bacala, Shrimp Oreganata, Mussels, Baked Clams, Calamari, Octopus, and eel, all much loved Southern Italian (especially Napoli and Sicily) creatures of the Sea. We decided which fish we wanted and how to cook each one. Much thought and planning went into the menu and its execution. Joe wanted; Langoustines, Lobster, and Bacala. Alexandra asked if I would make Stuffed Calamari. We also decided on Shrimp Cocktail, Baked Clams Oreganata, and Cozze al Posillipo. The menu was set. Duyen helped me with the Calamari which we stuffed with Shrimp, parsley, breadcrumbs, and Peas. We braised the Calamari with tomato, white wine, and herbs, and if I must say so myself, the Calamari came out superbly. The Stuffed Calamari were a lot of work to make, but well worth the effort as they were a huge hit with all. The Macari boys, Joey, Edward, and Tommy, as well as sister Gabriella, Alexandra, Little Joey, Duyen, Jose, and Sergio from Barcelona were all in attendance.

     The Mussels Posillipo, a great favorite of both Neopolitans and their Italian-American brethren, were cooked with garlic, white wine, parsley, and tomato, of which the sauce is always great to dip your bread into. This dish was one of my mother’s favorites back in the days when few Americans other than those of Italian origins ever ate these wonderful little bivalves. Now-a-days every-body does. As a young boy I remember my mother sending me to Bella Pizza in East Rutherford to get an order of them for her. She always gave me a few mussels to eat, and I have loved them ever since.

     Joe helped me to cook the Langoustines. They are hard to find and I had to order a ten-pound box from Silvano in order to get them. The best way to cook langoustines is to split them in half and sauté them on each side in olive oil with a little butter and garlic. We served the Langoustines the same way as Silvano does as we feel his recipe is the best and everybody loves them that way. The Langoustines are served with a salad of thinly shaved fennel and celery dressed in olive oil and lemon with some split cherry tomatoes. Absolutely delicious!!!

  The Lobsters we prepared the best way possible, the New England way, steamed and served simply with drawn butter and lemon wedges. There’s nothing better on Earth, well except for Sunday Sauce of course.

  Well, that Christmas Eve Dinner The Feast of Seven Fishes was quite a wonderful experience. It was a huge success though quite a lot of work and actually, too much food, everyone was kind of full already by the fifth fish. The following year we decided on incorporating the Seven Fish into three courses instead of seven separate. It was a good decision. We still had 7 different fish, which is a must. Serving these 7 Fish in three courses was a good idea as it is much more manageable that way, both to cook and to eat. So, you will see later on that you can have this great Feast of 7 different Fish in a number of ways; either 7 fish in seven courses or do the 7 fish in three, four, 5, or 7 separate courses, whatever you choose, it’s up to you.

   On this particular Feast of The 7 Fish in 3 courses, we decided to make the Stuffed Calamari, which I would not have chosen again because it was a lot of work, but it was Alex’s and Joe’s favorite and they said that it was a must whenever we make the meal. We had the Stuffed Calamari as our Antipasto Course. Alexandra and her mom helped me, so the amount of work was cut down and divided into three.

The stuffed calamari took care of two of the seven the shrimp that were stuffed into the squid.

 The second course (Primi) of Linguine Frutti de Mare consumed four of the Seven Fish required for the meal. It consisted of Mussels, Clams, Lobster, and Scallops cooked with garlic, oil, herbs, and just a touch of tomato.

   The seventh and final fish was fresh Cod that I roasted and served with a sweet and sour onion sauce (Bacala Fresca Agro Dolce). Everybody went bananas for it especially cousin Joe who raved at each and every dish I put down. It’s a pleasure cooking for Joe as his passion for eating and for the Italian-American way of life, the food, the wine, the rituals. Joe truly loves and savors the experience, so I always love to cook for him, Alexandra, their children, or just about anyone for who savors the experience so well. This goes the same for my cousin Anthony Bellino his wife Debbie and their three girls Chrissy, Danna, and Allison, along with all my close friends and family who I share my meals with.

   It makes cooking a joy rather than a chore, when cooking for family or friends, you give two of life’s great gifts, a tasty Home-Cooked meal combined with a little bit of love. Scratch that, “A Whole Lotta Love!”

   If you don’t want to go so crazy, with 7 Fish as it’s quite an undertaking, you should try to do an odd numbers; 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, or 11. Three (3) is a Nice Number and represents the Holy Trinity of The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Basta, e Buon Natale!

EXCERPTED from THE FEAST of THE 7 FISH   by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

The Feast of The 7 Fish

The Feast of The 7 Fish

 

SECRET ITALIAN RECIPES 

Segreto italiano

SEGRETO ITALIANO

by Daniel Bellino-Zwicke

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SUNDAY SAUCE

When Italian-Americans Cook

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

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GRANDMA BELLINO’S ITALIAN COOKBOOK

Recipes From My Sicilian Nonna

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SUNDAY SAUCE

SUNDAY SAUCE

One of the great traditions of the Italian American enclave in the U.S. is the ritual of Sunday afternoon when the entire family gets together for Mama’s or Nona’s famed “Sunday Sauce.” What is it? Well there are a number of variations on the theme. Most Sunday Sauce’s are made with Italian Sausage, Braciola, and Meatballs. Some people make theirs with pork ribs, beef neck, and possibly chicken thighs and backs. These meats are slowly simmered for several hours with tomato, minced onions, garlic, celery, and carrots. I generally like to make my Sunday Sauce with sausage, meatballs, and pork ribs. Other times I’ll make it with sausage, ribs, and braciola. An old tradition in some families is that mother or grandma would start the sauce early on a Sunday morning, get it simmering away for a couple hours on top of the stove, then put it in the oven for a couple hours while everyone goes to church, the sauce slowly simmers and when you get back home, the sauce is ready.
The Sunday Sauce that my mother would make was with sausage, meatballs and beef braciola. My memories are vivid watching my mother stuffing the braciola with garlic,
parsley, Pecorino, and pignoli nuts, then sewing up the bundles with a needle and thread so they would hold together while simmering in the gravy (many families all over the New York and around the country simply call Sunday Sauce “Gravy”). Another fond memory was helping my mother roll and shape the meatballs.
As for me, my Sunday Sauce will vary depending on my mood. One thing I love to do when making the sauce is the addition of pork spare ribs, which not to many people use, I love it.
Whenever people eat my sauce, they go nuts for the ribs and some are surprised cause they might never have had them in a sauce before. They didn’t know that you could use pork spareribs. The ribs are traditional with some but not everybody. It is quite a shame for those who don’t add the ribs because they give the sauce some wonderful flavor and they are incredibly delicious to eat after braising in the sauce for a couple of hours. Whenever I make the sauce and I’m dishing it out to friends and family, I always make sure that I have my fare share of the ribs. Pork ribs cooked in this manner, simmering in the sauce are oh so succulent and tasty. They are far beyond compare. “They are Out-of-this-World!!!” The friends, one-by-one, go nuts for them. “Yes they are most than tasty!”
And what to serve with the Sunday Sauce you ask? It should be a short macaroni; rigatoni, ziti, or gnocchi are best.
The rituals of cooking, serving, and eating Sunday Sauce is a time honored one. It is a beautiful thing. If you mention the term Sunday Sauce to any number of millions of Italian-Americans, the wheels start turning in their heads. Thoughts of how tasty it is, all the different components; the meatballs, sausages, braciola, (maybe ribs, beef or pork neck), the pasta, and the gravy itself.
They think about sitting at the table with friends and or family, people they love. They think about the antipasti that will start the meal and about some good Italian Wine, maybe a nice Chianti. They think about the warmth in the air, loved ones, Dino, Sinatra, and of course, the
Sunday Sauce itself. “It’s a beautiful thing!!!” If you’ve never done it, “Try it!” If you haven’t cooked one for some time, plan a get-together soon. “Sunday Sauce, it brings people together,” in a most delightful way.

“SUNDAY SAUCE” is excerpted from Daniel Bellino Zwicke’s
upcoming book “La Tavola”

GRAVY

 

"La TAVOLA" AMERICA'S BEST BOLOGNESE SAUCE .. Recipe in "La TAVOLA"  by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

“La TAVOLA” AMERICA’S BEST BOLOGNESE SAUCE .. Recipe in “La TAVOLA” by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

 

BAR PITTI … “NEW YORK’S BEST ITALIAN”

When it comes to great Italian Food, in a city (New York) that is known to have the Best Italian Food in the World outside of Italy, it’s hard to beat Bar Pitti, which is why Bar Pitti may very well be the “Best Italian Restaurant” in New York City! Yes!
Wait a minute, scratch that “maybe.” No, Bar Pitti serves without a doubt, thee “Best Italian Food in New York.” You don’t think so? name one that is better. And please only qualified people please. No followers or Hack Food Critics like
Frank Bruni.
Who could compete? Maybe Babbo, Del Posto, Elio’s, Lupa. They are all good, but none as good and consistent as Bar Pitti.
Il Mulino is absolutely “Aweful!” An “Overpriced Lackluster Restaurant” with horrible ambiance, mechanical annoying service, and food that is merely good, and no better and insanely “High Prices.” It’s a place for “Followers” who run with the crowd and wouldn’t know real good Italian Food if it came up and Bit Them in The Ass.
Babbo many would say. Well Babbo is quite good, but just can’t hold up to Bar Pitti with more of a true Italian feel, great food at truly real Italian Prices. Babbo is a great Special Occasion restaurant, but for everyday eating, Babbo doesn’t even come close to Bar Pitti for “Great Quality Price Ratio,” and even not considering the prices, if they were the same, though the food at Babbo is very good and I’ve had a few very enjoyable meals there, I have been disappointed a couple of times, something that has “Never” happened to me at Bar Pitti and I’ve eaten there more times, yet never been disappointed, not once, and always had a great time. So even if the prices were the same, Bar Pitti still has an edge, with Better More Consistent Authentic Italian Food than Babbo.
How bout Maialino, Laconde Verde, Osteria Morini, and others? As MC Hammer would say, “Can’t Touch This.”
So if you’re looking for Thee “Best Italian Food in New York” there’s one name, “Bar Pitti.”

Recommended Dishes:

Coda d’Vacinara (Braised Oxtails) 150 Points on a 100 Pt Scale

Bolito d’Manzo (Boiled Beef) Taste a whole Lot Better than it sounds!

Polpettine d’ Vitello (Veal Meatballs)

Fegato al Salvia (Calves Liver sauteed w/Sage)

Paparadelle con Sugo d’Coniglio (Pasta with Rabbit Ragu)

PUNTARELLE Wild Roman Greens Salad w/Anchovy Dressing

by Daniel Bellino Zwicke

BAR PITTI

NEW YORK'S BEST ITALIAN RESTAURANT