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Entries in Pasta (15)

Sunday
May222016

DiFiore Ravioli Shop: Three Generations of Italian Cooking, In Hartford & Rocky Hill

Most people look forward to taking it easy and traveling in their 60s. But at age 62, Andy and Louise DiFiore had a different retirement plan in mind. They opened DiFiore Ravioli Shop on Franklin Avenue, in Hartford’s Little Italy back in 1982.

Their son Don explains, “My parents were always the home gourmet types. Back in those days, they weren’t called foodies, but they had a lifelong love of food. My dad had been an executive in the office machine world almost his whole life in sales and marketing. And he was probably looking at this more as being a retirement thing for income. Just like a little boutique store. But they stayed with it. My dad would be in the store until he was in his late 80s. And my mom stayed in the store till she was 90. She’s 95 now.”

Then, about five years ago, Don’s father was in a nursing home and his mother was getting too old to run the store any longer. They were going to close it. Then Don’s eldest sister came back home from Chicago to help. “She threw the option at me—do you want to do something with it? Geez, I don’t know.”

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Wednesday
May042016

Cafe Dolce in Norwalk: Exceptional European Handcrafted Desserts, Coffee & Lunch

Some cups of coffee begin in Africa. Others in South America. This cup of coffee began, so to speak, in...Hungary. Norbert Dudas and Zoltan Bona, two friends who were hospitality and culinary students back in the day, eventually made their way to the United States. They pinpointed Fairfield County in particular, looking for a place to set up shop and show people what they could do. The result is the convivial, welcoming Cafe Dolce in Norwalk with its decidedly European atmosphere. 

Said one regular customer on my recent trip there “It’s the best kept secret...but not for long, I’m sure!”. At that, she threw her hands in the air, cradled and shook her head as she embarked on her snacking quandary (oh, the peril!)...which treat to enjoy?

This cafe, with its steaming cup and rolling pin logo (a nod to their coffee and baked goods, of course), has “hand-crafted” written all over it.

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Thursday
Jan072016

Stuffed Ricotta and Spinach Agnolotti Recipe via Basso Cafe

Let's be real people. When the cold weather rolls in, it's time to dig into some serious comfort food. For us, this generally means braised meat and carbs, preferably pasta. Chef Renato Donzelli of Basso Cafe in Norwalk makes beautiful housemade pasta for his guests, and now you can make it in your own house. Enjoy his recipe for Stuffed Ricotta and Spinach Agnolotti.

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Tuesday
May192015

5-Course Pasta Tasting at Bar Sugo: Decadent & Delicious

Several years ago I sampled Chef Pat Pascarella’s Pasta Bolognese and it was one of the best Bolognese I had ever tasted. Since that time, Pascarella opened Bar Sugo on Wall Street in Norwalk and I have enjoyed many of Chef Pat’s creations. He recently introduced his full-table Pasta Tasting menu and invited CTbites to sample the five courses…from a straightforward tomato and basil to a complex lobster, morel and truffle. The incredible Bolognese that Chef Pat served me several years ago was a prelude to the fantastic five courses that I enjoyed with wine pairings from Sommelier Megan Pacarella.

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Sunday
Nov232014

Brick + Wood: New Neapolitan Pizzeria & Wine Bar Opens in Fairfield 

You know how you “just know” when a new restaurant is going to be good? That’s the feeling you get in the first ten minutes at Brick + Wood, a new restaurant and wine bar in Fairfield’s Brick Walk Plaza on the site of the former Ponte Vecchio restaurant. When you make a great find like this, it’s a double-edged sword: You want to share it with friends, but at the same time keep it your secret a little longer. We decided to share. You’re welcome.

On a recent lunch visit, as we perused the distressed-wood and worn-brick decor, an amuse bouche appeared out of nowhere—two crispy crostini topped with fluffy homemade ricotta, sautéed broccoli rabe and imported prosciutto—as if to say, “Let’s get this party started.”

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Friday
Oct102014

Heirloom Hosts Gluten Free Dinner with Del Posto's Executive Chef Mark Ladner 

Heirloom in New Haven will be hosting a gluten free dinner with guest Chef Mark Ladner of Del Posto NYC and Iron Chef fame on Monday, October 13 at 7:30 pm. Seats are $125 per person, which includes food, wine, tax & gratuity. The evening has limited availability with only 34 seats, credit card reservtions are required. Please call 203-503-3919.  

Earlier in the day at 4 pm, Chef Ladner will be joining Pasta Flyer in New Haven for a talk at St. Anthony's Hall.

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Monday
May202013

PastaPresta Opens at the SoNo Marketplace

The SoNo Marketplace—with its hive of local food purveyors, artisans,  weekly farmers’ market, and plans for a summer beer garden—may be best argument to never set foot inside a supermarket again. I was recently lured back to the Marketplace by the opening of PastaPresta, a new fresh pasta vendor anchoring the entrance of the market’s vast 50,000 square-feet.

One evening of fresh pasta and market nibbles, and a closer look at the people behind the market later, I was reminded why this culinary hub deserves a regular visit and why, despite its recent vilification, gluten is good (maybe great).

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Tuesday
Mar192013

Cotto Winebar & Pizzeria in Stamford: Menu & Kitchen Changes

After a brief bout of Musical Toques, Claudio and Silvy Ridolfi --  owners of Cotto’s Winebar and Pizzeria in Stamford -- have convinced veteran Chef Greg Depelteau to come aboard and expand their imaginative menu of small plates and pizza.

Depelteau, a graduate of the French Culinary Institute, is in total simpatico with the Ridolfis’ insistence that a dish, especially a small plate, should be driven by primary flavors.  “These days a lot of chefs overdo things,” Greg contends and we agree.  “Too many flavors confuse the diner.“

Cotto’s simple take on hanger steak, a cut prized for its flavor, makes the case.  After marinating the muscular cut overnight in herbed EVOO, Depelteau quickly grills the meat on a blazing hot sheet pan to achieve a hard sear, while maintaining a surprisingly tender, rare interior. A

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Wednesday
Feb272013

Pasta Bolognese in Fairfield County Roundup: Part II

Déjà vu all over again so…Mangia, Mangia Mangia…and Mangia again...

We recently recommended several places that are serving up delicious Bolognese and promised more. So here is our second, and last, installment of 2013 Recommended Pasta Bolognese of Fairfield County that includes two slight variations of the traditional sauce, one with chicken and another with oxtail. Let the games begin...and let the lipitor flow for these 2 brave diners who sampled Bolognese from all over Fairfield County. 

From Cotto in Stamford to The Spread in SoNo to Louie's in Cos Cob, we bring you tasting notes on 10 more Bologneses. 

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Thursday
Feb072013

Tutto Pasta in Fairfield: Fresh Pasta & More Made Daily 

When Harry’s Liquor Store and the Fairfield Cheese Shop decided to tear down the wall they shared between them, customers could wander back and forth, tasting wine and snacking on crackers and cheese.  It was the perfect symbiosis of oenophiles and cheesemongers. It couldn’t get any better. But yeah. It could. And it did.

Brothers David and Andrew Tavolacci, who sold fresh pasta and sauces at their little and much- loved store in Georgetown, made a smart decision to move to Fairfield and share the parking lot with Harry’s. Now we can shop for the trifecta of food – wine, cheese, and pasta – without re-parking the car.

Tutto’s is where you go to purchase fresh pasta and home-made sauces, Wave Hill Bread, pesto, soups, and a variety of specialty foods.

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