DIY Down the Shore: Abruzzese-Style Lamb Sausage

joe_cicala-3185To help your summer along, Foobooz plans to give you some recipes by notable chefs and bartenders in Philadelphia. We’re calling it the DIY Down the Shore series, and we’ll be posting them all week. We’re bringing Philly’s dining scene into your summer homes.

Summer is prime grilling time. There’s nothing like coming home from a day on the water, cracking open a few beers and firing up the grill. And if you consider yourself a serious grill master and are looking for your next challenge (or maybe just someone who just wants to attempt something new), Joe Cicala, executive chef at Le Virtù has shared one of his favorite recipes rooted in his family’s Italian heritage. If you’re feeling courageous we encourage you to try your hand at chef Cicala’s Abruzzese-Style Lamb Sausage. You’ll need a meat grinder and an appliance capable of stuffing the sausage, but don’t let the extra equipment scare you. These sausages are well worth the extra elbow grease.

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There’s A Brigantessa Pop-Up Coming

brigantessaBrigantessa, Joe Cicala‘s follow up to the excellent work he’s doing down at Le Virtu, has been in the works for some time now. We know that it’s going into the East Passyunk space that formerly held Karina’s, and that the centerpiece of the two-story bar and restaurant will be an imported, wood-fired pizza oven, and that the menu will lean heavily on the cuisine of Southern Italy, with pizzas, house-made pastas, roasted meats and fish and fresh breads being the focus. But other than that, we don’t really know much in the way of specifics.

But that should change when Brigantessa takes its first steps out into the public sphere with a combined pop-up (along with the Pitruco Pizza Truck) on Sunday, June 1st. Cicala just tweeted about it an hour ago, and we’re already excited to see what he has in store.

Joe Cicala [Twitter]

On The Dessert Menu At Le Virtu: Macarons From Angela Ranalli

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Hey, remember back when we did that round-up of the best macarons in Philadelphia? Yeah, well it looks like pastry chef Angela Ranalli is adding a few to the dessert menu at Le Virtu. Tonight they’re running with chocolate coffee kahlua, black truffle honey and Mandarin mascarpone thyme, all of which are pictured here.

Don’t like macarons? Don’t worry, Ranalli is also doing an orange blossom laurel cake with blueberries and cream. But seriously, you don’t like macarons? What’s wrong with you?

Angela Ranalli [Twitter]

Rare Pasta Series At Le Virtu (Yeah, We Said ‘Rare Pasta’)

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‘Rare’ as in ‘uncommon’. As in ‘not-just-another-plate-of-spaghetti-and-goddamn-meatballs’. Rare as in frascarell (a kind of Abruzze cous cous) and culurgiones from Sardinia–stuff that, even in this pasta-mad city, isn’t seen often or at all.

Chef Joe Cicala is doing his weirdo pasta all through the spring, starting tonight with something that’s always been on his menu–the Maccheroni alla Mugnaia. Hand-made and with noodles stretching up to 60 feet long, it’s served with olive oil, grated pecorino, a basket of chiles and a pair of scissors. If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t already heard about the stuff (or if my description of it just confused you), have no fear. There’s a video of Cicala learning how to make it at Ristorante La Bilancia in Loreto Aprutino, Abruzzo. Check it out after the jump.

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Cured & Crafted Coming To Philly

ParmaCrown

You know what’s awesome? Beer. Know what else? Prosciutto. Add in whiskey and Skittles and a man could live on not much else.

Which is why we’re already excited about Cured & Crafted–a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma–coming to Philly on February 20, because it’s an event that’s basically all about drinking craft beer and eating as much prosciutto as possible.

Nice.

Oh, and did we mention there are free tattoos?

Industry Night Is a Go at Amis

rigatoni-amis-squareTonight Joe Cicala of Le Virtu is joining forces with Amis for the Vetri Family’s monthly industry night. The industry night is at Amis this month and will feature lots of offal from Cicala and Brad Spence.

As always, the fun starts at 10 p.m. with free food and discounted drinks. Be ready to present proof of hospitality industry employment  at the door.

Amis [Foobooz]

Le Virtu’s La Panarda in the Washington Post

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The Washington Post was at the 40-course La Panarda dinner at Le Virtu. Check out Domenica Marchetti’s recap of chef Joe Cicala’s epic feast.

La Panarda is indeed a marathon, but not the eat-all-you-can-as-fast-as-you-can kind that you find at county fairs or see on bad food TV. The feast is a centuries-old tradition steeped in cultural and religious significance, and in lore. It still takes place in some Abruzzo villages, especially in the mountains, where winters can be bitter and where a celebratory meal that requires days of preparation goes a long way toward providing purpose, not to mention comfort.

For more on La Panarda, check out our recap of the 2012 Dinner At Le Virtù.

La Panarda: Philadelphia restaurant hosts an age-old feast that’s a marathon, not a race [Washington Post]

Brigantessa, a New Concept from Le Virtu

brigantessaThe Le Virtu crew of Francis Cratil Cretarola, Catherine Lee and Joe Cicala are opening their second restaurant on East Passyunk. Brigantessa will be a moderately-priced Italian dining spots focusing on pizza and the cuisine of southern Italy. The restaurant will replace Karina’s at 1520 E Passyunk.

At a presentation last night to neighbors at Le Virtu, the team revealed their plans for the restaurant that will combine a wood-fired pizzeria with an enoteca and birreria.

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