We recently celebrated Asheley’s 30th Birthday, which turned into a weekend festival of dinners with family and friends. It also featured a trip into the city to cross off one of the restaurants that has been on our list to try for a long time now, but one that needed a special occasion reason to rationalize spending the money on the lavish menu: Del Posto.
Just steps from Chelsea Market and two other high-class restaurants (Morimoto and Colicchio & Sons), Del Posto is located at 85 Tenth Avenue between 15th and 16th Streets. Owned by famed-trio Mario Batali, Joe Bastianich, and Lidia Bastianich (whom co-own a slew of other restaurants, including one of my favorites, Otto Enoteca & Pizzeria), Del Posto is an explosion of Italian grandeur and opulence. It has received 1 Michelin Star (they did have 2 at one point) and under the expert direction of Executive Chef Mark Ladner, has earned 4 stars from the New York Times.
Here is a rather detailed account (there’s so much to share!) of my experience there:
The other day Asheley and I got the opportunity to see a taping of The Chew, the new day-time talk show featuring the likes of Iron Chefs Michael Symon and Mario Batali, past Top Chef contestant Carla Hall, entertaining expert Clinton Kelly, and health & wellness enthusiast Daphne Oz. A show dedicated to food and entertaining, we were super excited to get the chance to be in the audience and watch these professionals in action. Even more cool, it was the special “Red Carpet Oscar” taping, and they asked the entire audience to get all dolled-up in formal wear for the show. It being my first time in a studio audience, it was pretty amazing to see how the whole intricate process works. After reading Maggie Rulli’s post about her experiences attending a show taping: Afternoon at Anderson Cooper, I was inspired to do the same. Here’s a recount of my time at The Chew, and tips for how you can be a part of the studio audience:
At Mario Batali’s Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria in NYC, there is a dynamite pasta dish called Taccozzette con Stracotto. Featuring braised pork shoulder tossed in a tomato sauce with fresh basil and served among pasta that resembles a shrunk down version of lasagna noodles, it is hands down one of the best pasta dishes I’ve ever had. Needless to say, I’ve been wanting to attempt recreating a version of this mouthwatering pasta dish at home (imitation is one of the greatest forms of flattery, isn’t it?).
The other night Asheley and I invited another couple over for a little dinner get-together, and I felt it the perfect time to try my hand at recreating the Taccozzette con Stracotto! Lisa is an amazing cook in her own right (check out her super delicious Sausage, Bean, and Spinach Soup Recipe that she wrote up for Shared Appetite), and her husband Joe is a wine connoisseur. They know good food, so I had to bring my “A” game. I decided for an added challenge, I wasn’t just going to try to recreate Batali’s braised pork shoulder ragu, but I would also attempt to make homemade fresh pasta for the very first time. I know it was incredibly risky, but I was feeling “go big or go home”. To complete the meal, I made a delicious Winter Caprese Salad to start and finished with a super easy Chocolate Souffle with Grand Marnier Creme Anglaise (recipes coming soon).
This braised pork shoulder ragu recipe is a one-pot wonder. It is a warming, hearty dish that is perfect for a winter night dinner and makes entertaining super easy. All the prep work is done way ahead of time. When you are ready to eat, just boil up some pasta and serve! Feel free to make your pasta fresh like I did, but that is totally not necessary.
Are you bored with your weeknight dinners? I don’t know about you, but mid-week when Asheley and I are both exhausted from work, errands, and life in general, our ”go to” dish always seems to be pasta. It’s fast, cheap, and easy to whip up some pasta with a filetto sauce (quick tomato sauce), and at this point it is pretty effortless for me to make. Although absolutely delicious and completely satisfying in its own right, we definitely craved some variety in our mid-week pasta dinners! And so enters the Eggplant Caponata Pasta..
We all have that “go to” meal… that one thing that we eat time and time again when we can’t think of what else to cook or we don’t have any energy to devote to trying a new recipe or idea. It’s normally that tried and true dish that we can prepare with one eye open and one hand tied behind our back. It’s familiar, it’s trustworthy, it’s delicious. The same goes with dining out. When you have that trusted restaurant that you just absolutely love and adore, it is easy to head there when you have guests in town, want to show off an amazing and affordable New York City meal to your friends or family, or when you just can’t think of what else to eat! For me, this place first and foremost has to have great, simple food with high quality ingredients. It has to have a fantastic ambience with dynamic energy, a friendly waitstaff, and with these economic times, the restaurant has to be easy on the wallet. Otto Enoteca and Pizzeria is that place for me.