Italian

post30 // let the olive oil rain! italian adventures at inatteso pizzabar casano

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Melanzana al Forno // eggplant, ricotta, mozzarella, parmesan, basil, tomato

For the past few weeks, a strange guilt tinkered in the back of my brain, swaying back and forth in weak and strong pulses. No, I wasn’t guilty of doing something wildly illegal — not that I know of at least — but instead, I felt bad for my blog [cue quintessential coffee shop writer crying about her blog]. It’s an unfortunate reality but over the past month and a half, I’ve ignored one of my prized weekly activities. The why behind my neglect is pretty simple: I’ve been busy. But somehow this excuse doesn’t really sit well in my mind; everyone’s busy. Finally catching some free moments as I wrap up my second week living in New York City, I’m ridding myself of nonsensical guilt and laziness. In vain of the generic and questionable idiom, I must agree that distance makes the heart grow fonder, Yummy Twenties I have missed you!

Enough of my emotional, disgustingly narcissistic, and ugly word vomit. You’re reading this because you like food. So, let there be food.

Here I am in the Big Apple! As gleeful as this elephant,Image I screamed upon receiving my internship at Food52, the food website I’m working for this summer (Check it out at www.Food52.com!). But more so, I couldn’t wait to be in a city where restaurants pop up like bread dough in an oven. After a week going to dinners at new places and celebrating twenty-first birthdays, I decided to venture to a spot in the city that I was already familiar with.

Given my large irish catholic family from New York and my Dad’s roots in Brooklyn, I’ve visited NYC a number of times. Around the corner from our favorite hotel to stay at is Inatteso Pizzabar Casano, a modern yet cozy Italian eatery with wicked pizzas and hand-cut pastas. Located in Battery Park, Inatteso is the perfect spot to grab lunch or a late dinner when you’re in the area. Conveniently connected to the Pizzabar is the Inatteso Cafe Casano, a grab and go spot where I would definitely get a quick lunch if I worked in the area.

A little appetizer-happy and unable to make a choice, I decided on two appetizers for my lunch at Inatteso. First, I enjoyed a bowl of their Zuppa Frantoiana, a tuscan white bean and vegetable soup seated in a garlicky broth. Served with a large piece of fresh bread that had been soaked in olive oil, the soup was a hardy starter — almost enough for a full lunch. The soft white beans wonderfully contrasted the zippy crunch of the celery and roasted potatoes.

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As my second and final starter of the meal, I ordered one of my favorite eggplant dishes to date. I love eggplant (as you saw with my eggplant timbale post) and this dish mixed some of the best ingredients to blend with eggplant. Stacked between the two large pieces of eggplant was a three-cheese and tomato medley. Laced together, the mozzarella, ricotta, and parmesan stood out as the perfect counterpart to the delicate, roasted eggplant slices. Sprinkled with basil and additional parmesan, this eggplant stack was a dish I had to finish.

Full and ready to walk off some of that food, I continued with my self-inspired NYC walking tour. On my way home through Tribeca and the West Village, I pinpointed a couple of restaurants that are sure to make it in the blog. Until then!

 

post29 // an o’donnell family staple: clams and linguine

ImageClams and Linguine 

Over every college break, I go home and I eat a lot. It’s no secret that I love to cook and upon arriving in a large kitchen, I can’t help but meet the granite countertop with a smile. Nonetheless, I’ve got some steady competition in the kitchen at home: my mother and father. I guess I didn’t have to spell out that my two older brothers don’t frequent meal-making times because those of you who know them, well you already knew that.

I’m lucky enough to go to a college that still fits an Easter break into their academic calendar. This past Easter break, my first meal home was Clams and Linguine. As my brother Jake’s favorite meal, it’s a no-brainer that this dish is a family staple in the O’Donnell household. It was definitely a part of the rotationhamburgers, pork and saurkraut, sausages and peppers—that made up my dinners growing up. As seafood lovers, pasta fans, and Italians at food-heart, Clams and Linguine is a perfect fit for the O’Donnell’s. Both easy to make and beautiful to serve, we pull our Clams and Linguine recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. We typically use littleneck clams and at times disregard the bottled clam juice. The clam juice you buy in the store can hold a lot of unnecessary sodium so to replace, we will use white wine and olive oil as our base. To take the recipe up a notch, you can buy homemade linguine to anchor your clams in. Our favorite place to buy the pasta? Vace’s in Washington, D.C.

Intertwined in a pool of linguine, the clams are abundantly spread within, beneath, and above the pasta. The meal transforms from a simple seafood dish to a full-on Italian meal with garlic, oregano, parsley, and plenty olive-oil to flavor. I couldn’t recommend an effortless course tastier than this, so make sure you jot the recipe down!

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Serves 6

Ingredients:

¾ cup best-quality olive oil

6 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

4 dozen small clams, such as Littlenecks or Cherrystones, scrubbed, shucked, and chopped coarsely, all liquor reserved

About 2 cups bottled clam juice

½ cup finely chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley

1½ teaspoons dried oregano

Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

24 fresh clams, in their shells, for garnish (optional)

1 pound linguine

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pot over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.

2. Combine the reserved clam liquor and enough bottled clam juice to make 3 cups. Add this to the pot along with the parsley, oregano, and salt and pepper. Simmer, partially covered, for 10 minutes. The sauce may be prepared ahead to this point.

3. Meanhwile, scrub the garnishing clams, if you are using them, and put them in another pan with water to a depth of 1 inch. Cover, and set the pan over high heat. Shake the pan or stir the clams and remove them as they open. Reserve them in their shells. Discard any clams that don’t open.

4. Bring 4 quarts salted water to a boil in a large pot. Drop in the linguine and cook until tender but still firm.

5. Meanwhile, reheat the sauce if you have allowed it to cool. Add the chopped clams and heat gently; clams should not overcook or they will become tough.

6. Drain the linguine and toss it with the sauce. Serve it in the pot, topped by the clam garnish, or transfer to individual wide soup bowls and garnish each serving with the clams in their shells.

1. Heat the olive oil in a deep heavy pot over low heat. Add the garlic and cook until golden, about 5 minutes.

Recipe taken from The Silver Palate Cookbook: http://books.google.com/books?id=pokLqCAZFh0C&pg=PA91&lpg=PA91&dq=linguine+with+white+clam+sauce+silver+palate&source=bl&ots=gziX–Z8sE&sig=ZWpeREXd34X3udDyiN7oIPYfUYo&hl=en&sa=X&ei=LgJfU4PUMZHLsQSJyoCgDA&ved=0CEEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=linguine%20with%20white%20clam%20sauce%20silver%20palate&f=false.