Friday, March 29, 2013

Marsupial Madness

The Thirsty Koala
35-12 Ditmars Blvd
Astoria, NY 11105

The Thirsty Koala opened late last year, but I haven't had a chance to visit until recently.  You can tell they're still working through some of the new restaurant jitters, but this place is a keeper.  The service is great, the vibe is chill, and the food is unique -- to say the least.  Better yet, they have a BOYB policy until their liquor license is approved, no corkage fees.

Grilled kangaroo strip steak and TimTam Tiramisu are more than just novelties to get you in the door, they're a testament to how delicious thinking outside of the box can taste.

© 2013 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable -

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Early Bird Gets The...Doughnut?

Gian Piero bakery is renowned for their perfectly executed Italian pastries, but did you know they also make fresh doughnuts?

The elusive cannoli-cream filled doughnuts are only available on the weekends, and they go fast.  I was there a little bit before 9 am and their numbers were already dwindling.  They are about $3 a piece and worth every penny.  They're big enough to share, but you won't want to --

© 2013 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable -

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Riggie Smalls

Rigatoni is easily my favorite pasta shape. These stout, striped tubes come in various lengths and diameters, making them one of the more versatile macaroni sets.  Sauce effortlessly clings to their grooved ridges, and their hollow bodies are perfect for transporting peas, mushrooms or diced pancetta from plate to mouth.  You can find basic rigatoni in any supermarket, but you'll have to visit a specialty shop to score some of the more exotic varieties, like these stuffed rigatoni.

Many a Sunday dinner culminates w/ a heaping portion of stuffed rigatoni, accompanied by a bright marinara sauce. When pierced, these riggies ooze ricotta and lend some body to the simple sauce. Chunked mozerella and a handful of peas complete the dish.

Stuffed Rigatoni Marinara

12 oz stuffed rigatoni or ravioli
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 red onion, grated
1/2 carrot, grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 TBS tomato paste
1 (28oz can) whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup frozen peas
grated cheese

  1. heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium-high heat.
  2. add the grated onion and carrot, cook the water out; 4-6 minutes.
  3. add the garlic and red pepper flakes, cook until fragrant; 1-2 minutes.
  4. add the tomato paste, cook an additional 2 minutes then add the drained whole peeled tomatoes.
  5. simmer of medium heat for 20- 30 minutes, making sure to break up the tomatoes as they cook.
  6. add frozen peas to red sauce for the last 5 minutes.
  7. cook pasta according to directions.
  8. add cooked pasta to the red sauce and toss with cheese.

I recently demoed this dish on NiteLine Radio's Everything Eve show.  I had a great time cooking up a storm w/ Rudy and Eve, and I much appreciate them posting the video for me to share!  Their show airs every Tuesday night at 8pm EST.  Tune in at NITELINERADIO.COM.

© 2013 c. c. villani @ "mission: insatiable -