It has now been six months and one day since I moved to Los Angeles, and while I haven’t found a reason to purchase fluffy, matching bathrobes, I have discovered some of the best food L.A. has to offer. And on a recent outing to my new favorite restaurant, Terroni on Beverly Boulevard (just a few blocks east of Fairfax Avenue), I audibly gave thanks to a higher power after digging into a plate of perfect pasta.
Terroni, a 12-month-old eatery (transplanted from Toronto, Canada, by local club owner and restaurateur Shereen Arazm), stays true to its rustic Southern Italian heritage with daily homemade noodles, fresh, straightforward ingredients and piquant flavors. The secret, they say, is that there is no secret at all. The recipes used at Terroni are those of time-honored regional fare, tested over centuries and universally approved.
And approved they are. The flavors took me back to my childhood. I grew up in a traditional Italian-American home where we feasted every Sunday on spaghetti, ravioli, lasagna, brasciole, meatballs, sausage and the like. I fondly remembered running around Nonni’s yard with my sisters and cousins, pilfering ripe fruit from Uncle Anthony’s fig tree and sneaking into the garage that housed proud wooden barrels of homemade Poppa wine (which was inevitably used as vinegar).
As I drifted back to present-day consciousness, I thought to myself, “Self, you have to make this at home!” Thanks to my background in the culinary arts, I am notorious for putting my own spin on restaurant dishes. Friends are well aware that if I invite them over for dinner, they will be sure to find a reasonable facsimile of a recent restaurant adventure. While I would love to eat out for every meal, neither my wallet nor my pants size could handle it.
So my next mission was to fashion a healthy, budget-friendly clone of Terroni’s Maccheroncini Geppetto, which incorporates pasta, dandelion greens, spicy Italian sausage, fontina, Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil. I’ve heard that the sincerest form of flattery is imitation, so I decided to stay true to the original flavor components while substituting ingredients. I was looking for the sweet-spiciness of the sausage, the bitterness of the dandelion greens, and the saltiness of the cheeses.
With only $10 and 20 minutes to go from kitchen to plate, I was able to say “No” to the drive-through demons, drift off to days gone by and not worry about stepping on the scale afterward. And as far as grading myself on taste — well, I passed with flying flavors.
7605 Beverly Blvd.
Sunday-Thursday 9 a.m.-11 p.m. (open until midnight on Friday and Saturday).
|Fettuccine With Sausage, Greens and Parmesan |
1/2 pound (uncooked) fettuccine pasta
1.Place the uncooked pasta into a pot of salted, boiling water and cook according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.
2.When finished, carefully take the pot off the stove and drain the pasta.
3. Replace the empty pot on the stove at high heat and (in the same pot) very lightly coat the bottom with cooking spray; add the sausage and red pepper flakes. Break the sausage apart with a wooden spoon and brown for approximately two minutes.
4. Turn off the heat and add the greens. Wilt the greens for approximately 30 seconds.
5. Reintroduce the pasta into the pot and add the olive oil and Parmesan.
6. Stir the mixture to evenly coat the pasta, plate and enjoy.