Tagliatelle with red bean sauce @ Da Maria “Il Pergolato” (a.k.a. “La Pataccona”)

Piazzale Cadorna 5, 61122 Novilara, Italy

Tagliatelle con fagioli @ Pataccona

Maria “Il Pergolato” (“The Porch”), known among locals as “La Pataccona”, is not the place for an upscale dinner or for a sophisticated date. The restaurant is like a country farm-house, divided in different large rooms, with tables of different capacity that can accommodate parties of various sizes and noise levels.

This is the restaurant for a traditional Italian meal: its tables saw memorable dinners where friendships grew, family bonds tightened and long lasting memories shaped.

The signature dish are the tagliatelle with red bean sauce: don’t ask me about other pasta dishes because in the last three decades I never tried anything else.

The tagliatelle have the peculiar thickness and tenderness that only hand-made-with-passion pasta has. The sauce is dense and reach: the beans cooked slowly for an endless time are ready to melt in your mouth.

The meal is not complete without a piadina (a traditional flatbread) with sauteed wild greens, sausage, cold cuts and pecorino cheese.

All the food can and should be shared among tablemates.

Piadina @ Pataccona

White Truffle Experience

After a few disappointing and extremely expensive attempts to dine with white truffle in NY, I came to the conclusion that the best way to enjoy this delicacy is to taste it at the production site, in Italy.

White truffle joy kit

Forget about the overly rated white truffle mac and cheese that you can find in New York’s West Village restaurants. At these restaurants, the excessive use of condiments, cheese and sauces overshadows the rich and gentle flavor of the truffle.

Following the three-ingredient paradigm of culinary simplicity and excellence, the best truffle recipe is homemade tagliatelle with unsalted butter and a generous amount of sliced truffle. Period.

Tagliatelle with White Truffle

Same considerations apply for a truffle based appetizer or snack: a piadina romagnola stuffed with a plain frittata and sliced truffle will elevate this traditional dish to ethereal heights.

Piadina with frittata and white truffle

Flatbread and Filet Mignon @ Miss Lucy’s Kitchen

90 Partition Street, Saugerties, NY

Miss Lucy wants you to come back many times, at different seasons, to her kitchen. This is the only way to taste the different dishes prepared with local and and seasonal ingredients.

The flatbread is an enjoyable appetizer that can be shared. Different types of flour contribute to the soft and grainy texture of the bread. The Italian-style sausage is spread generously on the top. The meat is not excessively fat and it is ground in medium-small chunks an mixed with a good amount of pepper. The addition of other ingredients – arugula and cheese – strikes a good balance and recalls lovely memories of an Italian “piadina”.

The filet mignon is pure tenderness with a blast of green pepper flavor. The fork always aims at the perfect combination of meat, sauce and green pepper. The new fingerling potatoes and the crispy asparagus are a good side that supports with moderate flavors the rich main course.

Nice job, Miss Lucy’s! See you again, in a different season.