You know what I like to do on a Friday night? Eat a big hearty meal and then go home and fall asleep at 9 pm. I’m only slightly kidding.
After a long work week, I’m normally super tired and just looking forward to relaxing and doing nothing when Friday comes around. At that point, I’m too lazy to cook dinner and I just want to enjoy a nice meal out, somewhere a little more special than usual. A couple weeks ago, my friend and I planned to grab a nice Friday dinner at Osteria Morini, a restaurant that bases its Italian cuisine off the Emili-Romagna region of Italy, known as the Italian Breadbasket and the birthplace of prosciutto, mortadella, parmigiano, and balsamic vinegar.
I was looking into the restaurant more when I noticed that they have a deal on Monday nights where you can get any of their pasta dishes for $10 after 9 pm. What what what! Seeing as all the pastas here are around $20 to $25, that is such a bargain. I asked my friend if we should wait for a Monday to try the restaurant to save a little cash, at which point she told me that her mom offered to treat us to dinner. Well, in that case! You gotta love moms.
The restaurant is decorated with pieces from a 1700s-era Italian farmhouse like the terracotta floor, ceiling timbers, and large cast iron door. It’s spacious, inviting, and really a great match for the kind of food that is served. The menu has cured meats, cheeses, crostini, antipasti, pasta, entrees, grilled meats, and salads to choose from. We started with two appetizers, the gnudi (potato and fennel dumplings with tarragon, white wine, and mussels) and the polpettine (prosciutto and mortadella meatballs baked in tomato sauce). Gnudi is similar to gnocchi, but is made with ricotta rather than potatoes. I once heard it described as ravioli filling without the pasta exterior. In other words, “nude” ravioli. I’ve never had gnudi before, so I don’t know how it stacks up to the ones at other places, but I definitely enjoyed the lightness of the dish and was soaking up all the sauce with the free bread you get. The meatballs were fantastic. Also something new for me since I haven’t had them made with prosciutto and mortadella, but they were so juicy and flavorful. Highly recommend.
I had a really tough time choosing which pasta entree I wanted. The spallina, which is a double ravioli with cheese, rabit, and saba, and the tortellini panna, which is meat filled pasta with duck liver mousse and cream were
close runner-ups, but I had to go with the cappelletti in the end. Truffled ricotta ravioli + melted butter + prosciutto…does it get more heavenly than that? When I got my dish and saw all the little raviolis glistening in butter, I was in love. Then I took a bite and was like wait, no NOW I’m in love. Absolutely excellent!
Since we were going all out here we also shared two desserts, the cioccolato e mandorle (dark chocolate almond tart, cherries, marcona almonds, and vanilla gelato) and the torta di semolino (lemon semolina cake, roasted plums, lemon curd, apricot plum sorbette). Did you know it’s kind of a thing that there are two different kinds of dessert people? Those who prefer chocolate desserts and those who prefer lemon desserts. Chocolate all the way, baby!
Overall this was a lovely and luxurious meal–my perfect Friday night. I’m desperate to come back and try more of the pasta dishes, and that Monday night special sure will help me get there without breaking the bank.
Gnudi, polpettine, cappelletti, cioccolato e mandorle, torta di semloino
218 Lafayette St
New York, NY 10012