Tag Archives: spaghetti

Cardoncello diVino

My wife and I discovered Cardoncello diVino this week and so far we are loving it.

First off, they have great cocktails like the smoked negroni and grande stella (tequila, mezcal, elderflower).

The table bread is a good variety of quality breads and breadsticks, served with a zucchini puree.

To start, we had a side of Cardoncello mushrooms, salmon carpaccio and sardines.

The salmon was a slight favorite over the mushrooms, but not by much. All were very good.

The pasta dishes really shine here. This paccheri with veal ragu was absolutely perfect. Cooked to a nice al dente texture and impeccably seasoned.

This crab and lemongrass tortelli dish had a fresh pea sauce that was awesome.

For one of our mains, we had shrimp with quinoa in a sambuca sauce. It may sound weird, but I assure you it was great. Only thing I’d change is to maybe swap the quinoa for something heartier like a farro risotto, made with that sauce.

The wagyu beef cheek was braised to fork tender deliciousness. It’s very easy to mow through this dish very fast.

For dessert, we had a lemon and coconut budino (rice pudding) with raspberry jelly on top, and a goat cheese and barley tart that was a teetering balance between savory and sweet.

I’m psyched to go back and try more pasta dishes, as well as take on their extra virgin olive oil tasting.

CARDONCELLO DIVINO
43 West 27th St
New York, NY 10001

Cafe Fiorello

My wife and I popped in here before seeing “Darkest Hour” at Lincoln Plaza Cinemas (great flick, and too bad that the theater is closing down in a month due to high rent). The place was jam-packed at 5:45pm, but luckily my wife had a reservation locked in.

Our movie was at 6:35, so we wanted to eat quick. We ordered our drinks and pastas at the same time, and they came out within three minutes.

I had the spaghetti carbonara, which was made the right way with no cream and a runny egg.

Enjoy the yolk porn:

It was made with guanciale (pork jowl) bacon, which added nice salt content to the dish without actually using salt.

My wife had the fettuccine pesto, which had a really nice, fresh flavor to it. Delicious, though a bit garlicky.

Everything was great, but the prices were a bit steep. All in, with tax and tip, for just two drinks and two pasta dishes, we were at $95 and change. That’s pretty steep! The interesting tidbit: This was one of the fastest meals we ever had in NYC. We were in and out within 20 minutes, like a horny teenager at a whore house.

UPDATE! This veal parm a la vodka was incredible. Easily in my top dishes of 2019.

CAFE FIORELLO
1900 Broadway
New York, NY 10023

Maroni Hot Pots

UPDATE: THIS PLACE IS CLOSED!

There’s a very interesting little concept restaurant on the upper east side called Maroni Hot Pots. The joint is mainly aimed at providing delivery service, but there’s still a handful of tables set up inside the beautiful little space. So what makes this concept unique? The pot.

Many of their dishes are served (and delivered!) in really nice keepsake metal pots. Yes – you get to keep them.

I’m not sure how useful they’d be on your stove top, but they’re definitely not cheap, crappy items by any means. At the very least you can use them as planters.

Okay, but enough about the pots. We tried a lot of different items.

First up, pizza bread. This is more like a garlic bread with cheese and sauce topping as opposed to your standard NYC style pizza. A more puffy, doughy pie.

It’s served in a nice glass dish and it’s seasoned generously, topped with herbs as well. Essentially, it’s like a Sicilian pizza.

I should say now that the cheeses here are all incredible. They don’t harden after a few minutes – they stay nice and stretchy. I shot this probably 15 minutes after the pizza came out:

The fresh mozz caprese salad also exhibits stellar quality cheese, and the diced tomato, dresed with a nice balsamic, was a nice change of pace from an ordinary caprese salad.

Throw that on top of a lightly breaded chicken cutlet with some arugula, and you have their delicious chicken milanese dish.

But one starter they have become known for is their million dollar potato chip. A thick cut, fried potato crisp, topped with fresh cream and caviar. Very tasty.

And it’s not often that you see baked clam dishes use high quality little necks or cockles like they do here. Most baked clam dishes use giant bait clams, with minced up meat inside. No thanks. These were whole clams, nicely breaded and stuffed, and then baked to perfection.

Okay now for the pasta dishes. We tried a bunch. I’ll start with my favorite, the penne a la vodka.

What I liked about this sauce was that it was more buttery than typical vodka sauces I’ve had in the past. The pasta was cooked perfectly in this dish too.

Their cacio e pepe is nice, but having just come back from a trip to Italy, I was a bit too spoiled to truly appreciate the dish. Cacio e pepe in Rome is just insane. Nothing quite comes close. I did, however, get a bunch of nice pics. As you can see, they used a penne pasta here as well.

One specialty they’re known for here is their cognac sauce. They hit their tomato sauce with some cognac, burn it off, and simmer it down. What they’re left with is a nicely sweetened sauce. They serve that with rigatoni and a generous glob of ricotta for mixing into the sauce. Amazing. This dish has even been featured on local news stations. I highly recommend it.

Last pasta dish: spaghetti and meatballs. This classic tasted great.

And while nothing beats mom’s homemade meatballs, these were pretty tasty. We had an order sans spaghetti as well.

Like any Italian meal, there’s always more. We also tried their chicken parm and gagootz (zucchini) parm. The last time I heard that word was probably when my grandfather was featured in the news for growing the biggest one in Long Island history out of his backyard garden, which, at one point, was more like a small farm.

Here’s a shot of my grandfather’s massive gagootz (not the actual prize winning squash, however; that one was like 15ft, and we are still trying to locate the photo).

FYI, the word “gagootz” is a dialected, faster way of saying the word “cucuzza” in Italian, which is a kind of squash. The word “gagootz” is typically used by Italians to refer to all types of squash, though, including zucchini, as is done here at Maroni Hot Pots.

In any case, both parms were excellent, and both essentially looked the same, so I’m just using one picture to showcase them. Can you guess which one this is?

The beatles are all over this joint, by the way, and the music is a great mix of classic rock. Anyway, I really enjoyed the gagootz parm. I’m not an eggplant fan, so swapping that out for zucchini is a great idea. The skin is much more pleasing, and the texture of the vegetable’s flesh itself is firmer and more snappy.

I was so full at that point that I put my camera away, thinking we were done… but Italians… Bless our hearts, and stomachs…

So dessert came out. Chocolate mousse with a toasted marshmallow topper, cannoli and tiramisu. All excellent. Here’s a nice shot of them, taken by my wife:

A photo posted by Katherine (@thecakedealer) on

The Maroni family also owns a high-end, multi-course “tasting menu” style restaurant in Northport, Long Island. I’ve heard amazing things about this place, and, from what I understand, a reservation has to be made a month in advance because it is so well received. I plan to visit soon with my cousins. Stay alert for updates!

MARONI HOT POTS
307 E. 77TH St
New York, NY 10075

Spaghetti Pie

This shit was a staple in my household when I was growing up. It’s really easy to make, and it’s something not many people have eaten. My mom used to make it with just the cheese, spices, eggs and spaghetti, but I decided to take it to the next level with some other shit. Here’s how it goes:

SHIT YOU NEED (Mom’s Way)

  • 1 Pound of Spaghetti
  • 1 Dozen Eggs
  • 6oz Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Basic Seasonings (salt, pepper, garlic powder, oregano, crushed red pepper, etc)
  • Half Stick of Butter

SHIT YOU MAY WANT TO ADD (My Way)

  • 1 Bag of Baby Spinach
  • 8oz Imitation Crab Meat (or the real deal if it’s in the budget)
  • 6oz Mozzarella Cheese

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Smear the half stick of butter all over the inside of a pyrex pan. Whatever extra you have can be melted and added into the bowl in the next step.

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3. Crack your eggs into a bowl and whisk together with the grated parmesan cheese and seasonings until thoroughly mixed.

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4. Boil your spaghetti, then strain (or leftovers are fine, too).

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5. Cook the baby spinach, then strain or squeeze dry (optional).

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6. Pull apart the crab meat and chop or dice coarsely (optional).

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7. Coarsely chop or dice the mozzarella cheese (optional).

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8. Add spaghetti (and the other optional ingredients) into the egg and grated cheese bowl, and mix with your (clean) hands until everything is evenly distributed.

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9. Pour the mixture into the buttered pyrex pan and spread it around so it is flat and evenly distributed.

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10. Bake until you see butter bubbles coming up from the bottom of the pyrex, or until you can poke it with a toothpick and not have any slime or ooze come up when you remove the toothpick. Typically the edges will start to get some brown happening when it is finished, and the top of the pie will start to develop some dry, crispy, semi-burnt spaghetti bits.

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Eggs cook pretty quickly, and that’s really all that needs to get cooked at this point. They’re probably halfway cooked anyway since the hot spaghetti likely hit the egg and started the cooking process already before the pyrex went into the oven. I’m thinking this is usually around 30-45 minutes for me, but I honestly never look at the time. It’s all eyeballs for me.

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Once it’s finished cooking, take it out of the oven and let it set/rest for a while before cutting into squares/cubes.

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In the meantime, you can make a nice dipping sauce out of some canned or jarred tomatoes, if you have them sitting around collecting dust. I like to use a small can of Contadina tomato sauce, hit it in a small sauté pan with some olive oil, spices, herbs and a bit of chili paste or chili flakes. You can pour it on top of your piece of pie, or dip into it with each bite.

Some people eat by hand, and others use a fork and knife.

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It really all depends on the density and consistency of the final product. If you want a more dense pie, use fewer eggs and add in all of the goodies I suggested. If you want a fluffier pie, use more eggs and fewer extras.

Roman Ramen

Taking inspiration from Maialino, I tried making my own homemade “Roman Ramen.” It turned out pretty fucking awesome, so I figured I would share my technique with you, my loyal meat minions.

Shit you’ll need:

  • Package of Boneless Pork Ribs or Pork Shoulder
  • Package of Hormel “Salt Pork”
  • Slow Cooker
  • Rosemary
  • Turkey Stock
  • Chicken Stock
  • Beef Bullion Cubes
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Garlic Oil
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Onion Oil
  • Olive Oil
  • Szechuan Pepper Oil
  • Fresh Cilantro
  • Fresh Italian Basil
  • Oregano
  • Salt
  • Cracked Black Pepper
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Egg
  • Mushrooms

Prep: Step 0
Sear or quickly brown your pork meat and salt pork in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and seasonings. Then put into a slow cooker with dry spices (oregano, red pepper, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder), and add water so that meat is just covered with water. Set on low for 6 hours.

Step 1
Put your chicken and turkey stock to a pot. Add two or three beef bullion cubes in, as well as a healthy handful of rosemary, twiggy bits and all. Bring to a simmer, then add your dry spices to taste (oregano, red pepper, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder). Now add your oils in to taste (garlic, olive, pepper, onion) – all of which are optional, but they really do boost the flavors incredibly.

Step 2
Meanwhile, you should rinse and prep your toppings, which will be fresh cilantro, fresh basil, raw thinly sliced onions, and raw thinly sliced mushrooms.

Step 3
Add water to a large pot and turn on high. Add a few eggs in (these will eventually be part of the toppings). Once the water reaches a boil, remove the eggs and add a box of dry spaghetti. After about nine minutes your spaghetti should be done. Strain it and hit it with some olive oil to prevent sticking.

Step 4
Strain your soup base to get all the rosemary bits out. Then ladle some soup into a bowl. Add a portion of spaghetti, and arrange your toppings neatly, as the Japanese do. Don’t forget your eggs! Peel and slice.

Step 5 (optional)
One thing I wish I added here was a few stalks of broccolini. I had a bunch in the fridge but completely overlooked the shit. A few nicely sauteed stalks laying across the top of the soup bowl would have been a perfect way to get some healthy greens into the meal. Plus it would have looked even more beautiful than it did:

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