All we can do right now is dream about going to Italy, however, we can still go to restaurants in NYC where the food makes you feel as if you are there.
One of these restaurants is Norma Gastronomia Siciliana for real Sicilian food. It was a nice day so we sat in the backyard garden. With the overhead heater on to chase away any lingering chill, it was very comfortable.
Panelle – Fried chickpea fritters with aglio olio sauce
Caponata – Sweet and sour eggplant, celery, green olives, capers, onions and tomatoes served with crostini
Foccacia — The warm focaccia is irresistible with Caponata.
Timballo di melanzane alla parmigiana – Eggplant parmigiana timbale with mozzarella ane Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, basil and tomato sauce
Arancine “Ragu” — Fried saffron rice balls stuffed with Bolognese meat sauce, green peas served over tomato sauce.
Pasta alla Norma- Paccheri from Gragnano with fresh tomato and garlic sauce, basil, eggplant, pecorino and ricotta salata cheese.
Pasta con Sarde in Timballo – Spaghetti alla chitarra “Setaro”, fresh Portuguese sardines, wild fennel, pine nuts, and saffron baked in mold. There is an unbaked version of pasta con sarde on the menu as well. Both are excellent.
Porchetta Sandwich — Roasted porchetta, arugula, provolone cheese, spicy mayo
Pizza alla Norma — Pizza topped with eggplant, tomato sauce, mozzarella and ricotta salata
Barbera d’ Asti “Vigna Noce” 1999 Antica Azienda Agricola Trinchero. Made from 100% Barbera. The winery belongs to the Triple “A” Agriculture Artisans Artists, an association of wine producers from around the world that believes in Organic and Bio-Dynamic production, terroir and as little interference as possible by the wine maker. Only natural yeast is used, there is no acidification of the wine, clarification and filtration does not take place. Chemical treatments are not used in the vineyards; copper and sulfur are used but only when it is really necessary. The wine is aged for 7 years in large chestnut barrels. This is a traditional, classic Barbera that will last for at least another 10 years. I was very impressed with this wine.
We shared two desserts.
Pistachio Tartufo — Pistachio gelato filled with caramel and rolled in Sicilian pistachios.
Cannoli — These miniature cannoli are filled to order so the crust remains crisp. The filling is ricotta and chocolate chips and the ends are sprinkled with more Sicilian pistachios.