Posts Tagged ‘pasta’

Hungry Z, NBCChicago Street Team 

Most home cooks have a signature dish. You know that dish you make when you want to impress family, friends, or even that special someone. This dish is so good; everyone tells you it should be on a menu somewhere! What if you got that chance? Does your dish have what it takes?

The folks at Carlucci’s in Downers Grove had an open call out for people to submit their best pasta dishes with a chance to be featured on their menu. With nearly 50 entries submitted, executive Chef Kevin Provenzano whittled them down to six finalists. Dishes were scored on taste, appearance, originality, and difficulty to prepare.

The finalists each brought a guest to help judge each others dish. What they didn’t know was that Chef Pravenzano, Joe Carlucci, Suburban Life Publications assistant managing editor Jonathan Schuler, and yours truly were on hand as guest judges.

The finalists and their dishes were:

  • Dan Peloza — linguini misto
  • Colleen O’Leary — rigatoni with portabello bolognese
  • Joan Cerny-Cimaglia — tuna rotini pasta
  • Karen Price — crab bisque ricotta shells
  • James Griseto — rigatoni carbonara
  • Karen Whalen — farfalle with sausage

Coming in third were Karen Whalen’s savory farfalle & sausage. The runner up was Karen Price’s rich and creamy crab bisque riccotta shells. And the grand champion was Dan Peloza’s shrimp and sun dried tomato linguini misto.

Dan’s winnings include his dish being featured on the Carlucci menu for a month, a $200 gift card to the restaurant, and one night stay at the Doubletree. I want to thank the folks at Carlucci’s for asking me to be a guest judge and I would like to offer my congratulations to all the finalists for filling my belly with you terrific pasta creations!

Carlucci Restaurant is at 1801 Butterfield Road in Downers Grove, (630) 512-0990, www.carluccirestaurant.com

 Read more from Hungry Z at HungryZ.com

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D.C. “Fete Select TV” Crenshaw, NBC Chicago Street Team

Lately it seems like I’ve been on an Italian culinary tour around Chicago.  From a fabulous dinner at Prosecco to an intimate meal in the 200 East Supper Club, I’ve tasted a few different pasta dishes and consumed more than a couple of glasses of wine.  Last week I ventured into the Lincoln Park neighborhood to take on yet another Italian establishment.  Let’s just say that my dining experience at Trattoria Gianni was not only enjoyable, but was a perfect nightcap to my birthday celebration.facade_main11

Trattoria Gianni is intimate, homey, authentic and friendly. The ambiance is most comparable to the dinner settings that I experienced while honeymooning in Rome. The cuisine was not too far behind either. Among the Antipasti dishes, the fried calamari and grilled octopus stood out.  Moving to the Primi Piatti side of the menu, the Gnocchi della Nonna, handmade and stuffed with ricotta, and the Conchiglie del Mercante, pasta crumbled with Italian sausage, mushrooms and fresh tomato sauce, were savory and plentiful.   The veal scaloppine, grilled duck breast,  grilled chicken breast, and grilled Norwegian salmon filet were also favorites.  However, the “Costolette d’ Agnello alla Griglia”, their grilled lamb chops marinated with olive oil, garlic and fresh mint, was a noted specialty dish and the highlight of the evening.  The most enjoyable side dish were the roasted potatoes in olive oil garlic rosemary.wine_151

Trattoria Gianni has homemade desserts worth the indulgence.  The Panna Cotta and Tiramisu led the way. Their sorbet and cannoli are good alternatives and the not-quite-frozen hazelnut mouse, topped with chocolate sauce received accolades. The service met expectations and the wine recommendations paired nicely with our many courses.  A live vocalist added a special ambiance throughout dinner, which set off an energetic vibe amongst diners.

Trattoria Gianni will celebrate their 21st anniversary this year with a $21.00 priced fixed dinner every Tuesday night starting March 24th – June 30th.  Trattoria Gianni is located at 1711 N. Halsted St.  Log onto <a href=”http://www.trattoriagianni.com&#8221; target=”blank” http://www.trattoriagianni.com.com for more information or call (312) 266-1976 for reservations. 

To find more dining options and to get an inside look at the newest and best restaurants in Chicago watch Fete Select TV on www.efete.net.

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