Without Italian Food, We’d Starve

It used to be Italian or Italian-American night here, once a week, maybe twice, and now it’s expanded to become Italian or Italian-American, period.  With a cuisine that is vegetable driven, economical, quick and easy to prepare (once you’ve been taught how [I was, over two years, with Silvano Marchetto]), in tune with the seasons, and delicious with deep flavors, we’re talking pleasure.

This Sunday I discovered Di Palo, which is located on 300 Grand.  I’m embarrassed to say I hadn’t known of it before.  You might as well be in Italy.  The aromas of cheese and brine.  Marie, Lou’s sister, taking orders.  The huge cash register in which numbers are punched in by hand.  Fresh pasta at $3.99 a pound.  Ricotta flown in from Italy.  Prosciutto  that was sweet and perfectly sliced.  For $38 I had enough food for six meals for two people.

Eataly, on 23rd, has the vegetables, pasta that’s stuffed and northern in shape and taste, and fresh meats and fish.

Why not go to both?

The thinly sliced eggplant with ricotta and tomato sauce I bought from Di Palo was heavenly.

Closer to home, if you can get past the staff who act as if they are doing you a huge favor by establishing eye contact, Russo’s is a good venue.  I wish they’d commit to going All Italian rather than a hodgepodge where chanterelles long past their prime are sold and what’s available varies wildly in quality.  Your best bet is an early Friday afternoon.  Weekends are like a mosh pit.

This week it’s fresh pasta and oven baked Brussels sprouts with radicchio and fennel salad; ravioli stuffed with ricotta and spinach; eggplant and ricotta; oven roasted turbot; and, baby chicken.  Avanti!

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