Tag Archives: Italian Food

Savor Italian Cuisine at Dolce At The Highlands

Stonefruit Salad

Dolce at the Highlands in the Village of Pacific Highlands Ranch just off Highway 56 and Carmel Valley Road boasts a sophisticated ambiance paired with a unique energetic vibe. Diners can enjoy traditional Italian American cuisine in a comfortable setting surrounded by quality design.

Crispy Fried Baby Artichoke Hearts

Dolce’s Executive chef Rhoelle Gabriel offers made from scratch specialties from ingredients sourced locally or directly from Italy. “We try to keep our dishes interesting and different,” she says. “I just want to create great  tasting food!”

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Chocolate Cake Recipe From Nick & G’s

Courtesy photo

October is National Dessert Month and Nick & G’s, which recently opened in Rancho Santa Fe has some decadent desserts worth celebrating!

Friends and families alike are invited to savor the tastiest in Mediterranean/Italian dining at Nick & G’s, which offers a variety of pastas and signature flatbreads, among other delicious menu items. After dinner, customers can indulge in one of the restaurant’s desserts, including the Chocolate Cake. While rich in flavor and tasty to the very last bite, the chocolate cake can easily be made in your own home!

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My Not So Creamy Seafood Fettuccine

San Diego Food FindsMy seafood fettuccine is a very light dish that’s easy to prepare. My version isn’t as creamy as you would normally expect. I like to keep it simple with extra-virgin olive oil, butter and fresh herbs. Make sure to get a fresh baguette for extra dipping.

Get 25 of my authentic Italian recipes in my new book San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History Of Little Italy And beyond.

Not So Creamy Seafood Fettuccine

Serves 4

  • 2 cans minced clams
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces cocktail shrimp, precooked
  • 6-ounce can crab meat
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
  • Sea salt and black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound fettuccine, cooked according to package instructions
  • Pecorino-Romano cheese, grated (as much as you like), for garnish
  • Handful of freshly chopped basil, for garnish

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Grandma’s Italian Soup Recipe Is Still A Family Favorite

Growing up in a large Italian family, I learned how to respect tradition and embrace family ties through cooking. My mother took the fresh produce my father created and taught me how to prepare cucina Italiana by smell, touch and taste. As a child watching her in the kitchen, I was fascinated with the movement of her hands as she wove intricate details into preparing the made-from-scratch, mouthwatering meals that her mother had served, and her mother before her.

I’ve provided some of my favorite Italian recipes in my new book San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond.  Many of the recipes were handed down from my mother’s kitchen, including the following Italian soup.

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Wake Up The Italian Way

Italian

Wake Up Your Daily Morning Routine with All New Hot Breakfast at Bottega Americano

Start your weekday mornings right at Bottega Americano and enjoy the acclaimed restaurant’s new hot breakfast menu. The crowd pleasing selection of satisfying dishes ranging from scrambles to bowls to smashes are now available Monday through Friday from 7:30a.m. to 10:30a.m.

The new breakfast dishes include:

  • Cheddar Biscuit Sandwich: fried egg, Bottega aioli with a choice of prosciutto cotto, sausage, bacon or fried chicken
  • Bacon & Eggs: or sausage and two eggs on a grilled ciabatta roll.
  • Chilaquiles: two eggs, guajillo chile sauce, ricotta, corn tortillas.
  • Bottega Scramble: eggs, five herb pesto, oven roasted tomatoes, burrata, grilled ciabatta.
  • Avocado Smash: grilled ciabatta, basil, sea salt, cracked black pepper, over easy egg, EVOO.
  • Breakfast Bowl: two eggs, mushrooms, quinoa, butternut squash, smoked almonds, goat cheese.
  • Breakfast Wrap: eggs, potatoes, oven roasted tomatoes, mozzarella, spinach wrap.
  • Bottega Americano also offers a daily selection of grab and go items, baked goods, coffee and espresso drinks starting at 7:30a.m Monday thru Friday. Weekend brunch is served on Saturday and Sunday from 10a.m to 3p.m.

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Perfectly Baked Lasagna Recipe

lasagna
Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana

When it comes to the perfect casserole dish, baked lasagna tops my list. This dish of alternating layers of pasta sheets, topped with a flavorful sauce and cheese, is easy to assemble, tastes delicious and is always a crowd-pleaser.

There are a number of theories on where the popular name was born, but most references agree the word originated in the Greek language for flat, unleavened bread or pasta dough cut in sheets. The Romans used a similar word lasanum, the Latin word for “cooking pot,” to describe the pan in which the dish is made. Later, the name was adopted for the food itself.Different regions in Italy serve lasagna in various ways. In Northern Italy, a typical lasagna recipe has a Béchamel sauce as its base, with the addition of vegetables such as spinach, eggplant or mushrooms. I prefer the Southern Italian version with its hallmark use of ricotta cheese and a traditional Bolognese sauce that can include ground beef, pork sausage or veal.

I serve my lasagna with red wine and a crusty Italian bread. Add a fresh green salad of escarole and romaine lettuces dressed with balsamic vinaigrette and dinner is served.

Buon Appetito!

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Fresh Italian at Trattoria Fantastica

San Diego Food FindsOpened in 1995, this is the perfect choice if you’re in the mood to savor great Italian fare in a more rustic, country farm house atmosphere. Located adjacent to the casual Café Zucchero, Trattoria Fantastica offers a more refined dining experience. Wood-fired pizzas are the centerpiece of the menu, but plenty of salads and pastas are offered, as well as paninis, soups and more. Directly in the shadow of the Little Italy sign, the patio seating is especially popular. Trattoria Fantastica 1735 India St, San Diego, CA 92101; (619) 234-1735, www.trattoriafantastica.com

©San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond, By Maria Desiderata Montana

San Diego Food Finds

sandiegofoodfinds.comAs ethnic neighborhoods in other cities assimilate to American life, the exuberant local flavor of San Diego’s Little Italy remains both culturally and culinarily distinct. Tucked between Interstate 5 and San Diego Bay southeast of San Diego International Airport, the blocks surrounding the landmark Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church contain many of the most notable eateries and gourmet cafés in “America’s Finest City.” Join Maria Desiderata Montana, a daughter of that Italian heritage and one of the city’s most notable food writers, on this savory tour through the zesty Italian food traditions, businesses and recipes both in Little Italy and across San Diego.

Trattoria Fantastica Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My Calabrian Christmas

My parents, Lucia and Natale, on their wedding day in 1957 in Italy.

Growing up in a large Italian family, I learned how to respect tradition and embrace family ties through cooking.

I think my passion for cooking started when I was 7 years old, waking up early Christmas Eve morning to make homemade ravioli for our big Christmas dinner. When I say early, I mean the crack of dawn. You see, my mother couldn’t rest until the ravioli was finished. It was as if she, a perfectionist by nature, just couldn’t wait to see how beautiful they would turn out.

While the rest of the house was quiet, my mom would play soft Italian music really low and share her childhood stories, as my sister and I helped roll out the pasta dough. Forget about the men in my family ever helping in the kitchen. Our Italian tradition was that the cooking was for the women only.

Today, we all live down the street from each other, and my mother and sister come to my house to help my daughter and me make the ravioli, while I play Italian music and throw in some of my own cooking tips. We prepare the ravioli a few days ahead of time and freeze them for Christmas Day.

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Get Napizza in Little Italy

NPZ LOGO_2014Perched on the corner of Date and India Streets, Napizza is not only one of the newest establishments in Little Italy, but it also has a new concept that is gaining attention. Green-certified and committed to utilizing locally sourced, organic ingredients with no preservatives or chemicals, this is not your typical pizza joint. But that new philosophy is underscored by one of the oldest traditions in pizza-making techniques. Pizza al taglio is the centuries-old art of utilizing special flour, yeast and water and allowing for a slow rise, creating a product with no equal. The large, square-cut pieces are familiar to anyone who’s sampled street food from Italy’s larger cities. Produce is sourced daily from local and organic farmers, whether you enjoy it on a pizza or sample it from the organic salad bar. Read more about Napizza in my new book: San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond.

Napizza
click on the images to buy my books on AMAZON

Napizza Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Isola Pizza Bar

Sophisticated and modern, Isola Pizza Bar offers warm and friendly service to every guest whom walks in the door. Located in a tiny storefront in the heart of San Diego’s Little Italy, the menu is a surprise that will leave you craving more for your next visit. Read more in the ‘San Diego Chef’s Table: Extraordinary Recipes From America’s Finest City’, now available for pre-order.

(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
(Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
BURRATA MOZZARELLA WITH PARMA PROSCIUTTO: CREAMY BURRATA, VINE-RIPENED TOMATOES AND FRESH GENOVA BASIL PESTO (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)
BURRATA MOZZARELLA WITH PARMA PROSCIUTTO: CREAMY BURRATA, VINE-RIPENED TOMATOES AND FRESH GENOVA BASIL PESTO (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)
GAMBERETTI ALLA DIAVOLA: WOOD-FIRED SHRIMP, WHITE WINE, GARLIC, CAPERS, KALAMATA, CHILE AND TOMATO SERVED ON A BED OF POLENTA. (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)
GAMBERETTI ALLA DIAVOLA: WOOD-FIRED SHRIMP, WHITE WINE, GARLIC, CAPERS, KALAMATA, CHILE AND TOMATO SERVED ON A BED OF POLENTA. (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)
ARUGULA E PARMA: ARUGULA, PARMIGIANO REGGIANO, SHAVED CRIMINI MUSHROOMS AND LEMON DRESSING (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)
ARUGULA E PARMA: ARUGULA, PARMIGIANO REGGIANO, SHAVED CRIMINI MUSHROOMS AND LEMON DRESSING (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)
Bruschetta with Fresh Figs and Pistachios (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Bruschetta with Fresh Figs and Pistachios (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
MARGHERITA PIZZA WITH MOZZARELLA, TOMATO AND BASIL (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)
MARGHERITA PIZZA WITH MOZZARELLA, TOMATO AND BASIL (PHOTO BY MARIA DESIDERATA MONTANA)
Fegatini de Polo Alla Toscana: Organic Chicken Liver, Capers, Crispy Pancetta and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Fegatini de Polo Alla Toscana: Organic Chicken Liver, Capers, Crispy Pancetta and Extra-Virgin Olive Oil (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Caramel and Chocolate Budino (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)
Caramel and Chocolate Budino (Photo by Maria Desiderata Montana)

ISOLA PIZZA BAR
1526 INDIA STREET
SAN DIEGO, CA 92101
(619) 255-4230
www.isolapizzabar.com 

Isola Pizza Bar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Pasta al Pomodoro

Pasta al Pomodoro

This is an easy and light dish I make for my family on a regular basis. Just a few fresh ingredients from the Farmers’ Market and everybody’s happy.

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup red pear tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup greek olives
  • 1 pound spaghetti, cooked and drained
  • Small block of Parmigiana Reggiano cheese, grated, for garnish
  • Fresh basil, finely chopped, for garnish
  • Sea salt, to taste

Heat olive oil in a medium-sized saucepan over low heat; add garlic and sauté until opaque, about 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and olives and sauté for an additional 2-4 minutes. In a large bowl combine spaghetti with tomato and olive pomodoro sauce; lightly toss. Garnish with Parmigiano Reggiano and basil. Season with salt and serve family style.

Pasta al PomodoroGet more of my Italian recipes in my newest book San Diego Italian Food: A Culinary History of Little Italy and Beyond

As ethnic neighborhoods in other cities assimilate to American life, the exuberant local flavor of San Diego’s Little Italy remains both culturally and culinarily distinct. Tucked between Interstate 5 and San Diego Bay southeast of San Diego International Airport, the blocks surrounding the landmark Our Lady of the Rosary Roman Catholic Church contain many of the most notable eateries and gourmet cafés in “America’s Finest City.” Join Maria Desiderata Montana, a daughter of that Italian heritage and one of the city’s most notable food writers, on this savory tour through the zesty Italian food traditions, businesses and recipes both in Little Italy and across San Diego.