Tag Archives: spaghetti (and meatballs) western

Meatballs!

Since I have been cooking regional Italian food  professionally for quite some time, the dreaded request from guests…“why don’t you have spaghetti and meatballs on your menu”   inevitably rears its ugly head. It has become a topic of “conversation” at almost every Italian restaurant that either I have had the pleasure of being the Executive Chef or I have owned.  Don’t get me wrong..I love Spaghetti and Meatballs, my Irish mother makes fantastic Spaghetti and Meatballs, and it is something I remember requesting for my birthday when my mom would take requests for Birthday dinners.  However, I never put it on the menu at any restaurant…and this is why: There’s no such thing as Spaghetti and Meatballs in Italy. Never has, never will. When I think of the many outstanding regional specialties of Italy I wonder “why do people feel that it should be on the menu at an Italian restaurant?”

Maybe, sometimes….”Spaghetti just likes to be alone” a line from my favorite movie Big Night so poignantly states.

Then I remember…that going to a restaurant can bring back many memories for people. When we gather around a table, inevitably, the center of attention is the food, and somehow if it all comes together the food can bring us back to a simpler time when we all enjoyed each others company instead of checking how many “likes” you received on your latest Facebook post.  And of course Spaghetti and Meatballs can bring back those memories for many of us. It does for me. I come from a large Italian/Irish family and I vividly remember the smell of the meatballs cooking in olive oil, the hint of garlic simmering and that unique smell of the “macaroni” as my father called it boiling in the salted water.   And really that is what it is all about. It may not be truly Italian…but it is Italian American and for that reason I now put it on some menus.

I however will not serve my meatballs with Spaghetti, I prefer Orecchiette. When portioning the meatballs, make them the size of a ping pong ball, not too big so they don’t dry out.  The recipe I have posted are for meatballs made in the Pugliese style, a lot of fresh herbs, Pecorino cheese and red wine take these meaty orbs to another level.  Enjoy with a bold glass of Negroamaro from Puglia and finish off with some Amaro and then you can create new memories.

To see the full recipe for Pugliese Meatballs, click here!

LiamMeatball

That's a Spicy meatball Read more

Since I have been cooking regional Italian food  professionally for quite some time, the dreaded request from guests...“why don’t you have spaghetti ...

Liam’s Pugliese Meatballs

In our latest blog post Chef Liam has told us about his personal history and relationship with the classic Italian-American dish Speghetti and Meatballs. He features his favorite Pugliese Meatballs in his blog and has been kind enough to share the recipe! Maybe sit back with your Pugliese Meatballs, a nice glass of Negroamaro wine and read his post!

To read his blog post, click here!

Screen Shot 2018-02-20 at 6.18.21 PM

Spaghetti and Meatballs? Read more

In our latest blog post Chef Liam has told us about his personal history and relationship with the classic Italian-American dish Speghetti ...

Spaghetti (and Meatballs) at Via Umbria

Clint Eastwood3
Last month we inaugurated an entertaining evening activity that we call our “Spaghetti (and Meatballs) Western” dinner-and-a-movie series. Held in our café, typically on the third Tuesday of each month, we screen a classic Italian spaghetti western on a big screen and serve a buffet dinner of fresh pasta with homemade meatballs and tomato sauce. Being an Italian festa, wine flows freely. We think it is a great way to escape and disconnect and enjoy yourself for an evening and we invite you to join us.

ForafewdollarsmoreLast month’s inaugural film was A Fistful of Dollars (“Per un Pugno di Dollari”), Sergio Leone’s classic that is widely credited with launching this unique genre of filmmaking. Seeking to revive the dying American Western, Leone, a fan of American westerns, “borrowed” a story from Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurasawa, fusing elements from Dashiell Hammet’s Red Harvest and Venetian playwright/librettist Carlo Goldoni. The film, which launched the big screen career of Clint Eastwood, is pure Leone, though. Filmed in Spain and Rome’s Cinecitta studio, the incredibly violent, rough and politically incorrect film nonetheless sings. Literally. Many critics see Leone’s work as transforming the American “horse opera,” as Westerns were sometimes called, into Italian opera. Indeed, the soundtrack, written by Ennio Morricone, while sounding like anything but opera, with its whistles, gunshots and other unusual sound effects (one critic at the time described the music as “a rattlesnake in a drum kit”), was written for the most part before filming began, with Leone directing the action to fit to the music, rather than vice versa.

In order to broaden their appeal to the American market, the first spaghetti westerns were released in America in “Americanized” versions. Leone’s name appeared as director Bob Robertson and Morricone as Dan Savio. Later works in the “Dollars Trilogy” (For a Few Dollars More – “Per Qualche Dollar in Piu” and The Good, The Bad and the Ugly –“il buono, il brutto, il cattivo“) were released under the director’s real name, thus bringing out of the shadows the Italian angle of the spaghetti western.

TheyCallMeTrinityPosterWhile we will be showing the other films in the “Dollars Trilogy” on future Spaghetti (and Meatballs) Western nights, this month we turn our attention to a later representative of the genre. Released in 1970 (the “Dollars” trilogy premiered in 1964, 1965 and 1966) our next film – They Call Me Trinity (“Lo Chiamavano Trinita”) represents an attempt to refresh the genre, which by the 1970’s was beginning to lose steam. Enter Terrence Hill and Bud Spencer, an Italian acting duo (Hill’s real name is Mario Giroti) who starred in a number of spaghetti westerns and other action films and who became two of the most famous international film stars of their era. Their “Trinity” series (They Call Me Trinity and Trinity is Still My Name) are perhaps the duo’s most famous, and are considered more comedic and lighthearted than the original wave of westerns. Hill also received acclaim in My Name is Nobody, another spaghetti western that he stars in opposite Henry Fonda. Hill is still popular today, playing Don Matteo, a crime fighting Catholic priest in a popular Italian television series of the same name since 2000. That series, set in Umbria afforded Suzy and me the opportunity to meet Terrence Hill, as a scene from Don Matteo was being filmed outside our friend Simone’s restaurant in Bevagna one Saturday afternoon several years ago. Taking a break from the filming, Hill joined us at our table on Simone’s terrace, enjoying a bite to eat as he told us of his love for the Boston Red Sox (he was wearing a Sox cap to protect him from the sun, which looked great in his priest’s robes!).

Logo_Don_Matteo_9

We invite you to join us this Tuesday for a screening of My Name is Trinity and to enjoy a delicious buffet spaghetti dinner, complete with salad and garlic bread, in our café. Dinner is served at 7:30 and the film will screen at 7:45. The cost is $25 per person and includes wine.

And if you can’t make it this Tuesday (or even if you can), please join us Tuesday, April 19 for a screening of For a Few Dollars More, the second of the “Dollars” trilogy, also starring Clint Eastwood and featuring a brilliant performance by Lee Van Cleef. And be sure to visit our events calendar to view our upcoming Spaghetti (and Meatballs) Westerns. We look forward to seeing you and spending a thoroughly enjoyable evening with you.

Ci vediamo!
Bill and Suzy

A classic dinner and movie combination Read more

Last month we inaugurated an entertaining evening activity that we call our “Spaghetti (and Meatballs) Western” dinner-and-a-movie series. Held in our café, ...