Sfoglina, DC

A restaurant visited in DC earlier this year in the Van Ness area was Sfoglina. It’s a ‘Fabio Trabocchi Restaurant, named for the female artisans and Italian cultural icons that carry on the tradition of rolling sheets of pasta by hand with a rolling pin, a technique passed through the generations.’

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Since it is a pasta house, they have quite the selection of that on the menu. There are some other choices, as well. I found some other stuff that sounded far too good not to try. So I went for the Grilled Spicy Calamari, Romesco Sauce and Maria’ Chilled Tomato Gazpacho, Vine-Ripened Tomatoes, Cucumber, Red Pepper. There were both very tasty. The calamari was just quite spicy. But I will say, quite the good size dish.

My friend opted for the special of the night, which was a spinach and veggie pasta dish. It was apparently quite good.
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Overall, the place was good. Fairly pricey for what it offered, but it’s DC. Service was intermittent. Simply getting water (re)filled was tough. We sat outside on the patio, which was nice. Glad I was able to check it out.

Pacci’s Trattoria

Awhile back checked out an Italian restaurant I had heard about in the Silver Spring/Forest Glen area of DC — Pacci’s Trattoria.

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They have a pretty traditional Italian menu, nothing overly fancy. After we had plenty of time to look over the menu, we finally got a waiter. Not overly eager, rattled off the specials, not very understandable (extremely heavy Italian accent). After that, stuck to the menu.  I decided to go with Piattone di Pacci’s, signature sample platter features Bruschetta al Pomodoro, buffalo mozzarella (skipped that), smoked salmon rolls, artichokes, olives, and prosciutto wrapped cantaloupe.

 

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My friend opted for a Pacci’s salad, baby spinach, arugula, cucumbers, fresh mozzarella, onions, nuts, cranberries, pears and our homemade honey balsamic vinaigrette and Ravioli alla Florentine cheese ravioli with spinach, artichoke and garlic cream sauce; topped with shaved parmesan.

 

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The food was all pretty good, but nothing spectacular/out of the ordinary. The service was just terrible though. Even though I told the waiter that I was ordering  a (large) appetizer as my entree, he brought it out first. Then the pasta dish took maybe half an hour+. And the restaurant was not at all busy. You always have to try a place…

Carluccio’s

Yet another new restaurant has been added to one of the growing areas just north of Washington, DC on the red line.  In Pike & Rose, the latest restaurant to open its doors is Carluccio’s.  They are so new that they haven’t even added this location to their website.  Went during their soft opening and you could tell things were still getting worked on/staff trained.  Took awhile to get service at some points, when waiters were just standing there chatting with each other or doing nothing.  But overall a good experience.

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You have to pay for bread at this Italian place.  I was not impressed with that.  Tried a bellini and it was nice.

Also ordered some Caponata which was very tasty!

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For dinner, I opted for the Insalata al Abruzzese – an Italian-style Nicoise. Per the menu it was albacore tuna, green beans, sweet peppers, vine tomatoes, new potatoes, anchovy fillets, salad leaves and soft boiled eggs with olive oil vinaigrette. I was disappointed when it arrived and the tuna was albacore tuna from a can.  I expected it to be a grilled steak.  Nonetheless, it was good.  The anchovies added a nice taste.

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My friend ordered a basic Spaghetti con Polpette, with their house-made meatballs served with spaghetti and tomato basil sauce.  Exactly what it was labeled.

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Will totally check this place out again and see how it progresses as it gets a little ‘older’.

Pasta Sauce on a Whim

Last Saturday was just cold, snowy and blah here in DC and all I wanted was some great pasta sauce.  Why buy the stuff?  Decided to grab a bunch of stuff and see what I could put together based on the rough research I did on cooking the stuff.  Came up with the following ingredients (don’t have exact measurements on any of these):

-canned tomatoes
-onions
-olives
-garlic
-spices
-bay leaves
-fennel seed (almost forgot that one)
-red wine
-S&P
-olive oil

IMG_2237[1]IMG_2240[1]Threw them all in a pot and brought them to a boil then simmered them over medium heat for about 30+ minutes.

IMG_2314[1]Final result was a delicious, chunky sauce with tons of flavor.

IMG_2264[1]Served it over spaghetti squash with some seared shrimp.

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Tomato and Arugula Pasta Sauce

Got to enjoy a pasta sauce I hadn’t had for awhile the other night.  It has tons of veggies and is super simple to make — Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Rocket (Arugula) or Spaghetti con Pomodori e Rughetta from The Top One Hundred Pasta Sauces by Diane Seed.

Ingredients:

1 lb spaghetti

10 oz red ripe plum tomatoes — I use a lot more

4 cloves garlic

2 oz rocket (arugula) — about 1/3 cup chopped — I used about 2-3 times this much

1 1/2 tbsp olive oil

Salt & Black pepper

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Directions:

Skin the tomatoes by first plunging them into boiling water for a few minutes (I have always skipped this step).

Chop finely (I keep them in chunks) and place in a large bowl together with the finely chopped garlic and coarsely chopped rocket (arugula).  Add the olive oil and S&P to taste and leave for at least 2 hours.

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Post 2-hours:

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I was in charge of the sauce…got to enjoy some nice homemade pasta.

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Cook the pasta as usual, drain and stir in the sauce.

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Italian Find

I will admit, I lean hard towards new world wines.  I have no problem with others but don’t seek them out.  Had some friends over recently who brought a nice Italian vino and wow, that is what reminded me I need to remember where wine started.  We enjoyed Savuto Odoardi, which is a blend of Gaglioppo, Greco Nero, Nerello Cappuccio, Magliocco Canino and Sangiovese.  Just great tastes all around, and it didn’t even breathe much.  Looking online, retails for $13-$18, depending on where you live.

 

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