As I mentioned last week, Ornella has once again brought us something new and exciting, elevating the scale of deliciousness to the next level. And that something is their duck meatball, a dish I've never tasted before but will absolutely have again. That I can say with certainly. Aside from this scrumptious Ornella newbie, Dan and I had the pleasure of indulging in some new pasta options as well as a fabulous pork dish that's perfect for the fall.
Duck Meatballs - I wasn't sure what to expect from this dish. "Would they be small bite sized rounds or larger, more substantial in size?" I wondered to myself. Surprised at actually how large they were (maybe a tad bigger than a golf ball), I eagerly split them with a fork to reveal a creamy ricotta surprise in the middle. I smiled to myself and thought, "this is gonna be good." And it was. The glaze on top was sweet with hints of orange, which complemented the duck meat very well. And speaking of the duck meat, it was divine. Moist and bursting with flavor from all the wonderful fresh herbs in it, it had a rich meaty bite that was highly addicting. I'm telling you...these are an absolute must.
Pasta Gone Nuts - Giuseppe, Ornella's co-owner also raved about a new pasta dish he just put on the menu, which is made with pistachio sauce. I love the earthy taste of pistachios and the fact that it was served with one of my Ornella favorites, chestnut pasta, sold me then and there. When the plate arrived, I could smell the delicious pistachio sauce and an essence of truffle oil, which finished off this creamy indulgence. The chestnut pasta was the perfect vehicle for transporting the sauce, as it clung to the pasta dutifully and stood up to its hearty texture.
Pappardelle with Oxtail - Another menu newbie, Dan ordered it to try a meatier dish. I had something similar this summer, which had wild boar in it as well as the same, delicate homemade pappardelle pasta. The oxtail was slightly richer in body than the wild boar and because this dish is on the heavier side, mixed with button mushrooms too, the thin pasta was appropriate. Overall, a perfect fall recipe.
Stuffed Pork Chop - Just when we thought the feast was over, Giuseppe convinced us to try the stuffed pork chop with cheese, prosciutto and herbs. It was a large, beautiful hunk of meat as you see here, surrounded by button mushrooms and handmade spaghetti alla chitarra, which I've helped make at the restaurant. The dish was lovely and again due to its size, a perfect thing to share with someone. The pork was flavorful and a nice sleeve for the delicious salty goodness of the prosciutto and the melted cheese inside. Just another example of Ornella's creativity and innovation. Molto bene!
Ornella Trattoria Italiana29-17 23rd Avenue, Astoria NY 11105
N/W Train to Ditmars Blvd (last stop)