For me, Italian food is probably the most comforting food I could ever feed myself. When studying abroad and missing home — I would head to a tasty Italian restaurant to comfort me. The best thing about cooking this style of cuisine for yourself at home is it’s pretty darn cheap, flavorful and very basic to make (at least most dishes are).
Now that I have been to Italy — all over the place actually, this past fall I got a true taste of the country my ancestors came from — I can truly say that the sister restaurants Perbacco and Gnocco here in New York City are better than 99 percent of the restaurants I ate at while visiting the homeland. That other 1 percent is actually a random sandwich shop that I fell in love with in Florence called Antico Noe. And even Perbacco and Gnocco restaurant owner Gianluca Giovanetti says that the bread in Florence is the best — the bread = one of the reasons why Antico Noe’s sandwiches are to die for.
I’m sure you are all used to by now my raves on these two restaurants… The truth is, I’ll never stop blogging about them because 1. They truly are the best Italian restaurants I have ever been to in my entire life, 2. The menus change and the specials are always blowing me away, 3. I’m not the only one that loves these restaurants, reviews all over the internet says fantastic things!
So I blogged last week about Perbacco and that means this week I am writing about Gnocco, again! The other night I went for dinner with my Penn State friend Alexandra and her father who also lives here in the city. Her father actually introduced me to Gnocco — so I can blame him on my addiction for the food.
What did we order? I ordered the special — a pumpkin ravioli which was both comforting, light, and full of flavor. I was surprised at how much more potent the ingredients became once the ravioli began to cool. The flavors stood out more! It came with long gorgeous parmigiano reggiano cheese shaving on top. And yes, I ate every single bite. It would be a sin not to.
But first, we ordered for the table an unbelievable burrata cheese special for an appetizer. The burrata was probably the best burrata I have ever had in my life — the cheese was so silky, fluffy, and perfectly seasoned. The plate came with fluffy, crunchy bread that was toasted with (most likely) olive oil brushed on top. And of course there was the tomato and basil seasonings as well. In all honesty, you can’t find better cheese in any other restaurant.
Alexandra ordered my favorite pizza — the Tartufata — which includes fresh mozzarella, a truffle sauce, mushrooms, and speck. Alexandra is a vegetarian so she ordered it without the speck. The first time I had this pizza I ordered it because the table next to me ordered 2 of the pizzas (for two people) and the smells of the pizza were so divine they floated over to my table and I became a huge fan instantly without even having tasted the pizza.
The evening was filled with spectacular cuisine, amazing company, and fantastic wine. The atmosphere is so cozy and you honestly can’t get any better than Gnocco (and Perbacco of course).