Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Little Italy NYC

It wouldn’t be a true New York experience if we didn’t visit the historical Little Italy. Little Italy was once larger and was known for it’s large population of Italians. Today it revolves around one main street – Mulberry Street – full of restaurants, cafés, cake shops, souvenirs and street vendors selling gelato and mini cannoli.  

The aromas of home cooking greet you as you walk along the narrow streets, beneath the fire escapes. It is a destination for many tourists, including ourselves, but we were here primarily for a good feed!

As we walked by, restaurant staff beckoning us to enter their restaurant because it is the ‘best’ in New York, we scanned the menus searching for any sign of gluten free food. It didn’t look promising. So we asked the question “Do you have anything gluten free on the menu?” The answer. “Yes we have gluten free pasta”. Did somebody say pasta?! Oh how I missed a good bowl of pasta!

We decided to test this theory and see what the next restaurant had to offer. They too had gluten free pasta! And the next! And the next! This was unbelievable. Now the problem was which one to choose. They all offered gluten free options… except one restaurant who claimed that there was no way I would find anywhere in Little Italy that offered GF pasta!

We took a seat at a restaurant called ‘Giovanna’s’. I decided on a basic fresh tomato and basil sauce, tossed with bocconcini cheese. And all I can say is YUM! It tasted just like home made pasta and was exactly what I needed.

Needless to say we went back a few days later, this time to ‘Caffe Napoli’. The food was just as delicious and fresh! I ordered another bowl of pasta with prawns and zucchini, a dish that the chef threw together just for me!

So if you ever find yourself in NY, a trip to Little Italy is definitely worth it and you don’t have to worry about not finding anything gluten free, there are plenty of restaurants to choose from.

Here is a recipe similar to the pasta I had at ‘Giovanna’s’. It’s quick and simple to make and I’m sure you will all enjoy it.

As the Italians say, buon appetito!


400g gluten free pasta of your choice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 tin of whole peeled tomatoes, crushed
1/4 cup roughly torn fresh basil
2 medium-sized bocconcini cheese
Salt and pepper

1. Cook the pasta in a saucepan of salted boiling water, following packet directions, until tender. Drain and keep warm until required.

2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a frypan over medium-low heat and cook the garlic until browned. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes or until liquid is reduced and the sauce has thickened. Add the fresh basil and stir through.

3. Add the drained pasta to the frypan and toss until the sauce coats the pasta. Turn off heat.

3. Add the bocconcini cheese and stir through the pasta and sauce. Serve hot.

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