Saturday, December 25, 2010

Ornella's Corzetti, Pork Osso Bucco and More

What I love about Ornella so much is that they never cease to reinvent themselves, always thinking up new, exciting dishes that are firmly rooted in Italy.  The last time I was there with my mom, I tried a couple of new things that still aren't officially on the menu, but will be soon. And let me tell you, one was more delicious than the next.

Corzetti Pasta - My favorite dish of the night, unsurprisingly, was fresh pasta called Corzetti.  Originating in Liguria (Northwest Italy) it's made by stamping out circle shapes with a special stamp that also has imprints for the pasta's interior.  Not only do these imprints make the Corzetti look spectacular, they also enable the sauce to stick to the pasta, thus making it richer and more flavorful.  Ornella used a traditional cream pesto sauce for the Corzetti, which worked very well.  It was incredibly flavorful and so filling that it could satisfy as an entree.

Mixed Steamed Seafood - My mom and I shared a big helping of seafood, steamed in a foil envelope.  Cooked in a simple tomato and white wine sauce, it gave the seafood just enough flavor without overpowering it.  You can distinctly taste the fresh out-of-the-sea deliciousness of the mussels, clams, calamari and the tilapia that served as a soft bed for all the crustaceans. Yum!

Pork Osso Bucco - Giuseppe, Ornella's co-owner was excited to serve us a non-traditional take on Osso Bucco, which was made with pork.  When most of us think of this dish, it's undoubtedly with veal in mind.  Giuseppe explained how he likes to take an unpopular part of an animal and make it look and taste attractive, which he did with the pork.  Both my mom and I marveled at how soft and succulent the pork was, cooked down into delicate meat that separated beautifully from the bone.  Like any good Osso Bucco, this one also rested on a bed of creamy risotto, prepared Milanese style with parmesan cheese, butter and onions.  I'd confidently call this dish a show-stopper.

Ask about these amazing specialties or some of their others such as the imbustata, chesnut pasta, gnocchi with gorgonzola dolce sauce and much more.

Ornella Trattoria Italiana - 29-17 23rd Avenue, Astoria NY 11105


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