NARRATOR: Is there anyonein this country who doesn't love Italian food? Oh, my God.
That is so good.
NARRATOR:It's as American as pizza pie.
You'll feel just likepart of the family at our eight favoriteItalian restaurants.
It's like an Italiancomfort food.
They taste like littlepillows in your mouth.
I feel like this would bethe way to a man's heart.
Fresh ingredients,bold flavors and plenty of TLC.
This pasta isabsolutely perfect.
Benvenuto to the great spotsfor Italian eats in "Food Paradise.
" MAN: There are no wordsto describe it.
The best way to describe it –You come with me to Italy, and you're gonna havethe same type of dish.
NARRATOR: Lots of cities havea Little Italy section.
But one of the hippestis in San Diego.
It's this authenticatmosphere coupled with the delicious food that earned Isola Pizza Barthe number eight spot on our listof the greatest Italian eats.
Little Italy, it's a reallycool part of San Diego.
It's — it's, like,super walkable.
Little Italy is such a greatcommunity-oriented neighborhood, authentic Italianrestaurants, Italian markets,just wonderful neighbors.
NARRATOR: It's the kind of placewhere super Americanized Italian dishes like pizza and mac and cheese can get backto their true roots.
I'm Evan Phillips,executive at Isola Pizza Bar, best pizza in San Diego.
It's, like, the OG of pizzas,the original pizza.
NARRATOR:Time to ditch the delivery boy and get with the real deal, pizza napolitana quatro carne.
First, Evan mixes the marinara using nature's originalfood processor, his hands.
You don't wanna pureeit too much.
You want the tomatoesto be not too chunky but broken up enough,so it blends in with the juice from the tomatoes.
NARRATOR: That's justSan Marzano tomatoes, basil, a little olive oiland sea salt, followed by a few paper towels,I'm guessing.
It's not a truetomato sauce Italian style if you're not willingto get dirty.
NARRATOR: Next, he forms a ballof dough into a crust, which is also elegantly simple.
We make the doughwith four simple ingredients — water, flour, salt and yeast.
NARRATOR:Sauce 'er up, then bring onthe first of our four meats.
Spicy salami, Calabrese.
We don't have a pepperoni pizza.
This would bethe closest thing to it, nice, spicy, fiery salami.
NARRATOR:No preshredded bag cheese here, just handmade, freshwater Mozz.
Now, I believe you stillowe us three more meats.
You have to havethe fennel sausage, quintessential foran Italian recipe.
Next, we have our guanciale, which is the cured pork jowl,little pancetta.
Pancetta is like our Italianbacon, cured but not smoked.
So this is pretty muchjust pork on pork on pork.
So we're ready to gointo the oven with it.
So the pizza's gonna cook.
In about 90 seconds,it'll be ready to go, 800 degrees, really fast.
NARRATOR: Approximately 90wood-burning seconds later.
A slice of Naplesright here in San Diego.
So good, guys.
A little spice.
The meat is super tasty.
The sauce –the sauce is incredible.
You can taste it.
I like the spices on it.
It's really good.
And the tomato sauce,it's fresh.
You can tellit's a good Mozzarella.
It's not greasy.
Looks like the real thing.
[ Laughs ] NARRATOR: Isola Pizza Bar,your true Italian style has totally wrecked the curveon one of our favorite foods.
Now I'm ruined for life.
But it was so worth it.
Question — What's the mostbeloved Italian food in America that nobody in Italyhas ever even heard of? Hint — It's the dish beingserved up at our number seven spot for the best Italian eatsin the nation.
To Chicago, near the cornerof West Taylor and Aberdeen, the birthplaceof Al's Italian Beef.
Like spaghetti and meatballs, an Italian beef is a uniquelyItalian-American dish and something you canonly find stateside.
You can't find this in Italy.
They don't even know what it is.
The reason whywe call it Italian beef is because an Italianinvented it in Chicago.
NARRATOR: That's Chris Pacelli, third-generation ownerof this beloved institution.
His grandfatherinvented the sandwich over 75 years ago.
Since then, these bad boyshave become a Chicago favorite.
You can findan Italian beef stand on pretty much every corner.
With the classicItalian beef sandwich, the beauty is in the simplicity.
There's basicallyonly four ingredients, starting with the beef.
This is a top sirloin butt.
The reason we usea top sirloin butt is because it holds together.
Once I slice it so thinthat you can see through it, you're gonna see that itstill holds together.
NARRATOR: Those big shoulderswill get roasted in a warm bath of the same secret spice blend Al's has been usingsince Jump Street.
Well, the first thingwe're gonna do is we have to startwith our seasoning packs.
And we use our Italianletter opener for that.
NARRATOR: Any chance you cantell us what's in there? Now, a lotta people say, "Well, I gotta kill youif I tell you the secret.
" We don't kill nobody.
We wound 'em.
NARRATOR: Question withdrawn.
Chris cuts up the meat, then roasts ituntil it's well done.
CHRIS: We want this meat to cookthrough and through.
I don't want any pinkishor anything like that.
No medium cooked.
Has to be a well-done cook.
NARRATOR: Three and a half hoursat 425 degrees later, you can't really arguewith the results.
Look at this.
I wanted you to try thisright outta the oven.
You ain't gonna believehow tender this is.
You've never had anythinglike this in your life.
What we're gonna dois cool this for 24 hours down to 40 degrees or 39 degrees,whichever comes first.
Usually, 40 comes first.
[ Laughs ] And then we're gonnaput it on our slicer and cut it paper-thin.
NARRATOR: After slicing, that Italian beefrests on the prep line in some of thoseproprietary roasting juices, waiting for sandwich-hood, where it will be joinedby a spicy pickled vegetable mix knownas giardiniera, which actually fermentsin-house in this large, well, garbage can.
Garbage can?Italian tupperware.
That's what we call it.
As you see,this has already been fermented.
NARRATOR: That tangymix of celery, peppers and spices complementsthe beef beautifully.
Enough preamble, Chris.
Please build this beast.
Now I'm gonna show youhow I like to eat an Italian beef sandwich, which is put it on the bread.
Make sure you takethe juice with it.
Now we fill the bun real good.
Lotta guys like your dip.
So do I.
And now I'm gonna putsome hot giardiniera on there.
And that's gonnaspread real nice.
And now I'm gonna wrap it, lock all the juiceinto this wax paper we use.
Nobody gets wet whilethey're carrying it.
This is for thehardworking men of Chicago.
This is what they need, a great beef sandwichfrom a great place.
NARRATOR: Often imitated,never duplicated, Al's number oneoriginal Italian beef sandwich.
Manly, yes,but ladies like it, too.
This is so juicy,so seasoned.
You can't stop eating it.
It's like heaven.
NARRATOR: But really, it kind ofis mostly a guy thing.
MAN: The flavor'sout of this world.
You — if you noticethe bun, I mean, the darkness of the juice,everything is just fabulous.
I've eaten many beef sandwiches, but this is by farthe best sandwich anywhere.
As soon as you bite in, you can't even beginto guess what's in there.
This is Chicago right here.
NARRATOR: Now, to properly eatan Italian beef without making a mess, you need to masterthe Italian stance.
Here's a quick tutorial.
So you put your forearmsup on the counter.
You put your feet aboutshoulder-length apart.
You take a nice stepand a half back.
You pick up the sandwich,and you dive into it.
So this way,if you spill anything, if anything drops,it goes right onto the floor, not on your shirtor your shoes.
That's how you eat a beef.
So maybe this sandwich recipe didn't sail over from Sicilywith your progenitori.
But it's still aboutas Italian as it gets.
You've got a beef with that,take it up with Chris.
[ Laughing ] Comin' up, people get rave-yabout this gravy.
The sauce is incredible.
I'm a sauce guy.
And then Italian eats so good, it'll leave you sayin'.
Louis, Missouri,is the gateway to the next delicious dishes on our incredibleItalian list.
With over 18 restaurants, the traditionally Italianneighborhood known as The Hill is a mangia meccawith a real family feel.
Their food is so molto buono, it landed themat number six on our list.
My nameis Dennis Chiodini.
This is my wife,Robyn Chiodini.
Welcome to Zia's On The Hill.
Zia means aunt in Italian.
And Dennis' aunts werea big inspiration for it.
A lot of the recipescame from my zias.
And we've kept a lotof old-school recipes like the baked cannelloni, baked mostaccioliand meatballs.
Our menu's a combinationof southern and northern.
NARRATOR: And one of the bestnorthern-style items at Zia's On The Hillis their spiedini prosciutto.
Spiediniis Italian for skewers.
But don't get the wrong idea.
When people think of skewers,they're thinkin' it's, you know, somethin' healthy,somethin' good for 'em.
Well, not here onthe Italian side of town.
Chef Paul startswith the sauce.
The sauce that we put onis a picada sauce.
It's a white-wine-and-lemon-butter sauce.
Gonna add the white wine here.
We're gonna let that cook off.
NARRATOR:Once that alcohol cooks off, he adds waterand some chicken broth and brings itall back to a boil.
Now, we're gonna addsome roux to it.
Roux is a butterand flour mixture.
Now we're gonna addsome lemon juice to this.
Lemon juice is gonna addanother layer of flavor to this.
And it's gonna make iteven more deeper of a flavor.
NARRATOR:The roux and a about 3 hours on the stove top helpthe sauce to thicken whilePaul sets to work on marinating some chicken.
This marinade isour famous salad dressing that we've won many awards on.
And I really cannotreveal to you what's in it, how we make it or anything.
Or my 21 years will cometo an abrupt stop.
NARRATOR: He immerses cutbreast strips in the dressing and lets it sit for 24 hours.
Meanwhile, Paul mixes upsome magic bread crumbs.
Some people just use old –plain old bread crumbs.
But what we like to dois we like to add some, uh, some spices to make 'emtaste a whole lot better.
Paul takes hismarinated chicken, thoroughly coatseach piece in the crumbs and starts a-skewerin'.
Fold the chicken in half and then just stick iton the stick.
Now that's a lotta chickenright there.
NARRATOR: The spiedinis aregrilled over an open flame with a constant applicationof more lemon butter.
While they cook, Paul putssome of the picada sauce he started earlier in a pan.
We're gonna addsome sliced mushrooms to this and some prosciutto ham.
We're not stingywith the prosciutto, either.
Start to let these mushroomscook down.
Start to let that prosciuttobleed into your sauce, all that nice saltinessin there along with the lemon and the butter, magnificent.
NARRATOR:Paul puts the finished chicken on a plate afterremoving the skewer.
You don't wannabite into the wood unless you're a woodchuck.
The sauce is niceand thickened up and ready to go on topof our chicken.
Now, the finishing touch,nicely shredded Provel cheese, St.
Spiedini prosciutto –Now, that's Italian.
Go big or go home.
An explosion of flavor.
This is real Sicilian food.
This is it.
This is authentic.
The sauce is incredible.
I'm a sauce guy.
This is grilled.
And this, I hate to say, is better than my own.
This is the best chickenspiedini in St.
NARRATOR: Spiedini is a greatItalian classic.
But the number onenosh for natives and tourists alikearound these parts is a St.
Louis institution –toasted raviolis.
Toasted raviolis is about asSt.
Louis as the Cardinals.
But, uh, don't letthe smooth taste fool ya.
It is not toasted.
It is put into the deep fryer.
NARRATOR: But before we getto the raviolis, we have to attendto the sauce.
And in Zia's kitchen,Chef Paul proves he is the boss of the sauce.
We are an Italian restaurant, so we need a greatmarinara sauce.
NARRATOR: He begins by sautéingsome onions in olive oil and adding two types of garlic.
Fresh and granulated garlic so you really get a bite ofthat garlic in the sauce.
Next to the partyis pepper and salt, his partner in crime.
Sweeten it up a little bit,add a little sugar.
NARRATOR: Once those flavorsfuse, it's tomato time.
Paul uses three typesof tomatoes — first, the chunks,second, the sauce, then some waterto stretch it out and, finally, tomato paste to tightenit all up again.
PAUL: We need to let this simmerfor about 6 to 8 hours.
And then it'll be ready to go,ready to sauce the world.
NARRATOR: Although Zia's isa little tight-lipped about what goes intotheir beef-and-pork raviolis, they will saythey come from a shop just down the streetthat's been in operation for more than 100 years.
They're a family-owned bakery that bakes our breadfresh every day and makes our toasted raviolis.
They are the bomb.
NARRATOR: Using the samebread crumbs from earlier, Paul starts dipping those olisinto some egg whites.
And then from the eggto the bread crumbs.
He does that abouta dozen more times.
Now, we drop 'emdown into the fryer.
Out of the fryerand into the Parmesan pan.
Put 'em in the parmand give a nice little shake and a little toss here.
A side of thatmarinara sauce and boom! Toasted raviolis,St.
Louis on a plate.
Take 'em with your fingers, dip 'em in the sauceand just eat away.
They are good.
Perfect every time.
I can't believe it.
It is good.
I wish that I could eat more.
[ Laughs ] Oh, yeah.
I could make a whole meal.
Get your fork outta here.
The best marinarain St.
Now I'm gonna makea pig of myself.
Mm! The Italians are coming!The Italians are coming! In the heart of Boston'sNorth End, just a stone's throwfrom where Paul Revere started his famous ride, lies a little touch of Salernoon the East Coast.
It's the number five choiceon our great eight list of truly inspired Italian eats.
The food from Selernois seafood.
It's on the Mediterranean Coast,the Amalfi Coast.
Here in Boston, I grew uptwo blocks from the ocean.
So it is maybe a lotlike Selerno in that sense.
You're gonna findthe freshest seafood, freshest ingredients thatyou've ever had, I promise you.
NARRATOR: When it comes to food, family is as importantas freshness to Italians.
When you come to the restaurant here at Terramia,even though we're not family, we feel like familyeating this food.
It's absolutely delicious.
NARRATOR: One family-sized dishthat features the freshest seafood Bostonhas to offer is Terramia's Raviolone Aperto,or open-faced ravioli.
This double-stuffed delight is made daily by Terramia'stalented chef, Luiz Prata.
And when we say fresh,we mean everything, starting with the pasta.
This is a 00 flour.
This is imported from Italy.
And if you wanna makea great pasta, you gotta use this.
NARRATOR: That double-oh specialis mixed with standard durum wheat and semolina floursand a pinch of salt.
Now we're gonna addthe egg yolks really slowly.
NARRATOR: Once that's formedenough to make a ball, Luiz feels the need to knead.
We have to knead it a little bit because, as you can see,it's still breaking.
So you want to activatethe gluten of the dough.
NARRATOR: Gluten activated.
The pasta balltakes a little nap under a wet blanketbefore being flattened, first with a rolling pin,then through a pasta press.
This is how wideour ravioli's gonna be.
It's gonna be a giant one.
It should look likea winter scarf.
NARRATOR: That scarf is cutinto squares and set aside.
And Luiz grabs the fresh-cookedMaine lobster for his reduction.
This is a very sweet lobster.
NARRATOR:He purees some garlic, then the lobster with olive oil,until smooth.
Then he addsan unusual suspect, mascarpone.
Usually, mascarponeis just for dessert.
But I think it tastesreally good on the ravioli.
This makes the saucereally good.
NARRATOR: That sauce is set offby sautéing some zucchini, followed by a few hugehonkin' scallops.
The Yutan scallops — Yutan,which means 10 per pound, those are the biggestscallops you can get.
NARRATOR: Some shallots andwhite wine to deglaze for a bit, then it's timefor cherry tomato juice, cream and the lobster mascarponepuree to thicken the plot.
Those are jumbo shrimp,the Yutan.
NARRATOR:While the shrimp cooks up, Luiz drops the pasta squaresinto a boiling bath for about 30 seconds.
Now, we're gonna puta little bit of the sauce in the bottom of the plate so the ravioli sheetwon't stick to it.
NARRATOR: He piles the scallopsand shrimp onto the pasta, then tucks them in underthe raviolis' top and smothers the whole thingin the lobster-laced sauce.
A little parsleyand some basil oil, and this convertiblepasta pocket is perfecto.
Raviolone Aperto,the best and the biggest ravioli in the North End.
Oh, my gosh.
It's really,really rich in flavor, but it's not too heavy, either.
The lobster reductionand the cream sauce is an unbelievablematch with the pasta and the shrimp.
I'm a big fanof lobster ravioli.
This is like a even better, more modern version of it.
The shrimp is perfect.
And the saucemakes it delicious.
I was actually in Florencethis time last year.
And this takes me right back.
It's got some reallyfantastic Italian flavors to it without being anythingthat's too overwhelming.
[ Laughs ] NARRATOR: Delicioso.
Boston's Terramia Ristoranteis a little slice of Old World charmin New England.
In Italy, they say, "You never grow old bysitting at the table.
" WOMAN:I think I'll stay forever.
NARRATOR: Coming up, the searchfor the missing calamari.
I'm lookin' fora stuffed calamar'.
Where's my stuffed calamar'? Hoboken, New Jersey,is kind of a sacred city for Italian-Americans.
So we had to come herefor number four on our survey of the greateight places for Italian eats.
But which restaurantis the Hoboken-est? Some say it's Leo's Grandevous.
You've never been to Hobokenunless you've been to Leo's.
And that's a fact.
NARRATOR: Leo's is everythinga classic Italian restaurant should be, run bythe same family for generations, serving grandma-testedOld-World-style dishes you won't find down at the local strip mallspaghetti shack.
And most importantly,Sinatra ate here! Let's dive face firstinto some of Leo's seafood-friendlysouthern Italian fare, starting with stuffed calamari, or as they pronounceit around here.
I'm lookin' fora stuffed calamar'.
Where's my stuffed calamar'? General manager/big sister Gracebegins by making the sauce,or rather, the gravy.
What's the difference? A sauce would bea marinara sauce, which is just onions,garlic and tomatoes.
But once you put meator fish into it, it becomes a gravy.
NARRATOR:It's the exact same gravy they've been making heresince 1939.
Grandma Tessie alwaysused to say, when the outer edges of the onionshave become a little brown, that's when you knowto throw in your tomatoes.
NARRATOR:Grandma Tessie knows best.
While that simmers, Grace cleansthe calamari like the bold, unsqueamish boss she is.
One very, very important tip is, you need to take offa little bit of the end.
The reason being is that,once it's stuffed, the eggs will expandin the calamar'.
And if it doesn't have a placewhere it will come out of, calamar' will explodein your gravy, and you won't have any calamar'.
The first time that I did this, I did not clip offthe end of the calamar'.
And I looked in the pot,and all my calamar' were gone.
And I just hada big dish of egg gravy.
I was the laughingstockof the family for about, you know, a year or so.
NARRATOR:The filling is a mixtureof eggs, garlic, parsley, grated Parmesanand bread crumbs.
Getting it inside isa painstaking process.
But if it was easy,it wouldn't be so good.
We're just going to secure itwith a toothpick.
Take off any of the excessthat's on top.
Push it down a little bit more.
And you have a stuffed calamar'.
Now it goes rightinto the gravy.
And it's gonna start to cook.
NARRATOR: Any excess filling iswadded up into something called an egg ball,kind of like a falafel.
That'll stew for a bitwhile Grace gets some angel hair pasta goingin salty water.
The pasta gets sprinkledwith a little cheese and on go the stuffed calamars.
And these are big guys,so we're gonna get two and then one egg ball.
Put it right on top.
NARRATOR: Garnish with a littleparsley, and.
This is our stuffed calamar',just like Grandma used to make.
Oh, my gosh.
It's really good.
The calamari is fresh.
It's super creamy.
I've never had it before.
But it's really delicious.
There's the insideof the stuffed calamari.
It has a little bitof the cheese taste but not, like, a crazy,overwhelming cheesy taste.
And it's perfectly seasoned.
It's really, really good.
When I was a kid,my mom would make it.
But I would never eat hers.
But Leo's, I have itall the time.
Grandma Tessie's sauceis really wonderful.
NARRATOR:Grace's family hails fromthe tiny village of Molfetta.
Like Hoboken,it's right on the coast.
GRACE:In Molfetta, most of the menare fishermen.
And they go out.
And they'll catch musselsand the calamar'.
So we have nice,clean, cold muscles.
NARRATOR: And when lifegives you mussels, make mussels fra diavolo.
Forget the gravy.
This one's gonna be coveredin a nice red sauce and also feature plenty offreshly cleaned shrimp.
I actually hate cleaning shrimp.
Uh, as a kid,this was my job.
So that's why I had kids,so they could clean the shrimp.
NARRATOR: Those get sautédin olive oil, garlic and hot pepper.
The mussels go in.
And she deglazeswith white wine.
Next comes some red sauce, which she mixeswith these oceanic juices as the mussels open.
Any mussels thathave not opened, you want to discard because that meansthat they're not good.
NARRATOR: The pasta's beenupgraded from angel hair to a slightly thicker linguine.
Fun fact — Fra diavolomeans brother devil in Italian.
It's not evil, just kinda hot.
This is our mussels-and-shrimpfra diavolo, Hoboken style.
The perfect amount of spice.
Excellent, great texture.
Tastes very fresh.
Pasta was done perfectly.
And, um, no one makesmussels like Leo's.
Their tiny little musselsand their gravy is beyond compare.
The taste of Italy right herein Hoboken, New Jersey.
Leo's does feel like home, where the foodis something you love like it's a memberof your family.
Food is everything.
[ Laughs ] I need to learnhow to hate food, and I'm just having a hard time.
I feel like this would bethe way to a man's heart.
My husband would love this.
I probably need to learnhow to make this.
Our list of greateight Italian restaurants takes us out of the cityand just north of Los Angeles to bucolic Moorpark, California.
Our number three spotis so good, it makes you wonder what makes the Golden State perfectfor Italian cooking.
It's gotta be allthe farm-fresh food.
Welcome to Café Firenze.
My name is John Paolone.
I'm the executive chef.
MAN: We love Café Firenze.
The food is probablythe closest thing to authentic Italian foodwithout getting on a plane.
NARRATOR:When it comes to traditional,rustic Italian fare, nothing beats Café Firenze'sosso buco milanese.
That's some prettyfancy-lookin' food, John.
Osso buco is actuallya peasant dish.
Lot of farmerswere braising things because it is a very tough meat.
So it actually takesa very long time to cook.
NARRATOR: The backbone of thisfarmer's favorite starts with a veal stockthat will later be transformed into a richand flavorful demi-glace.
So we're addingour veal bones to the pot.
They have been roasted.
Nice, caramelized flavors.
This bone marrow, this iswhat makes osso buco fantastic.
NARRATOR:Next comes the mirepoix, or onions,carrots and celery, which have also been roasted.
He adds tomato paste,peppercorns, bay leaves,full garlic and fresh herbs.
All we gotta dois add the water.
NARRATOR: And all we've gotta dois let that simmer for about, oh, 9 hours.
While the stock does its thing, John gets to the meatof the matter, his favorite cut of veal,the shank.
These are osso buco.
This is like Mom's pot roast but really, really,really, really good.
NARRATOR: He seasons both sideswith salt and pepper, then dredges them in flour.
This helps thicken the sauce.
Um, and it adds a little bitmore texture to the meat.
We have some hot oil.
And we're gonnacaramelize our flour.
NARRATOR: The seared shanksare set aside.
But before you thinkhe'll go cleaning out that pot, think again.
We don't wanna use a clean pot because we wanna utilizeall the fond at the bottom of the –of the pan.
This adds a lot of flavorand depth to your sauce.
You're throwing awaythe hard work that Grandma put into make this dish.
NARRATOR: Instead,he adds some veggies and cooks them untilthey're caramelized.
Then he adds some tomato pasteto thicken it all up.
Finally, it's wine time.
I prefer Chianti, personally,because it is bold in flavor.
Um, if you wereto add something like a Zinfandelor a Syrah, it would just be a littleon the sweeter side.
NARRATOR: He seasons as he goes,adding salt, pepper, fresh rosemary and sage.
After about 20 minutes, he ladles in someof the demi-glace.
Remember that from before? This is actuallythe veal stock that we made, which has been strainedand thickened with a little bit of roux,lots of red wine in there, herbs, garlic, just lots of depth of flavor.
NARRATOR:The browned osso bucos are addedto the braising liquid, and the whole pot goes intothe oven for 4 hours.
Meanwhile, John whips up some pancetta-lacedrisotto milanese, which will be the pedestalfor the meat.
Don't be shywith the Parmesan cheese.
And you have this beautiful,velvety risotto.
NARRATOR: All that remainsis to add some acidity to the dishwith fresh gremolata.
JOHN: We have parsley.
We have the zest of two lemons.
We have the juice.
We have orange zest.
This is somethingthat not everybody does.
But I really enjoy this.
It adds somethingdifferent to the dish.
NARRATOR:He rounds it out withorange juice and fresh garlic, then tosses it all in olive oil.
Now it's finally timeto bring it all together.
JOHN: Well, as you can see, theosso buco is perfectly tender.
It's falling apart.
NARRATOR:He tops each piece of veal with the gremolataand a little garnish.
And here you have it,osso buco milanese just like Grandma used to make,if your grandmother was Italian.
This is the best.
I love this.
It's so savory.
It's really rich.
It's like an Italiancomfort food.
It's absolutely decadent.
Whatever the, uh, vegetableis on top rounds it out, gives it a little –little citrusy taste to it.
It's like velvetin your mouth.
I feel like thiswould be the way to a man's heart right here.
I need to learnhow to make this.
NARRATOR: If there's one thingCafé Firenze definitely delivers on,it's decadence.
It's like thatold Italian saying, "Go rich or go home.
" That's kinda worthevery calorie that's in there.
You don't come hereand order a salad.
You're just missing out.
Next, to San Francisco, where the food is kid-tested,mama-approved.
We're almost to number one.
But first, a trip to the cityby the bay, San Francisco, full of fine foodfrom around the world.
But it's their richItalian heritage that landed them at number twoon the great eight.
Vittorio's is awesome.
We love the food.
But we come herebecause of the people.
We come herebecause the waiters and everybody are so awesome.
NARRATOR: In this town,you've got a million different dining options.
But at Trattoriada Vittorio, it really comesdown to one dish.
If you come here, you — you can haveGhirardelli chocolate.
You're gonna taste winefrom the Napa Valley.
You're gonna have cioppino.
NARRATOR: And the cioppino here is straight from the tipof Italy's boot, Calabria.
In north of Italy,they call it cioppino.
But from the south of Italy,we call it zuppa di pesce, which is a seafood soup, at least, uh,where I was born and raised.
NARRATOR:Chef and owner Vittorio D'Urzo'scioppino recipe begins like many Italian dishes,with olive oil and garlic.
That is joined by some clamsand mussels over high heat.
Now we add some calamari.
We put the branzino.
We do the Petrale soleas well, some fresh wild salmon,where I — I put in here, like, uh, almost 10 differentkinds of, uh, seafood.
NARRATOR: That boatloadof seafood gets a good tipple of white wine and a scoop of theirseafood stock, which is made from boilingfish bones with mirepoix, aka celery, carrots and onions.
Now we gonna do the, uh, crab.
NARRATOR: That hugeDungeness crab is, of course, what San Franciscois known for.
Now, we're gonnado the lobster — Maine lobster, really fresh.
Uh, we just cook it.
We boil it,then cut it in pieces and add it to the cioppino.
NARRATOR:Next comes the ingredient that puts the mama miain this dish.
This, I guess,is my main ingredient.
It's, like, uh, the base, uh,for all my cooking, which is the homemadetomato sauce — my mother's recipe.
Very, very simple.
NARRATOR: The sauce meldswith the broth, gets a splash of parsleyand cooks down for a while.
I guess we're ready.
We're gonna putthe shells first.
Then, uh, of course,I use the — some toasted bread –garlic bread, which is the bestto dip in the cioppino.
We are readywith the cioppino.
Of course, San Francisco'sfamous for cioppino.
But this isextraordinarily good.
It tastes like it came outof your grandma's kitchen.
I am, like, a shellfish lover.
Like, I've comeout of my shell.
And shrimp, you know, crab, those are some ofmy all-time favorites.
And this is definitelyworth the visit.
It is the best cioppinoin San Francisco.
Without a doubt.
NARRATOR: Chef Vittorioopened his Trattoria about 3 years ago, armed with his Mama Francesca'sbest recipes.
VITTORIO:I would say, here in Trattoria, there is not any differentbetween San Francisco and Italy.
NARRATOR: One of the recipesthat Mama Francesca still comes from Italyto taste-test is Vittorio'seggplant parmigiana.
She comes hereonce a year.
She always trythe parimigiana de lasagna.
And it better be good.
NARRATOR: Vittorio keepsthe marinara sauce very simple.
It starts with fresh tomatoes, cored and scored, then boiled.
The hot tomatoesare chilled so the skinsare easily removed.
I think it's the mostimportant thing.
I don't know how you canmake a tomato sauce without boiling the tomato.
NARRATOR: In a large stock pot, onions sweatin a little olive oil.
Then come the tomatoesand some fresh basil.
And that's it, well,that and about 8 hours simmering on the stove top.
On to the Melanzana eggplants, which are sliced and droppedstraight into the deep fryer, no breading required.
With all the ingredientsat the ready, it's time to layer.
VITTORIO:We put the tomato sauce.
Very lightly fried,in and out.
You get crispier, and it comes all the flavorout as well.
NARRATOR:Another layer of sauce, then cheeses by the fistful, Mozzarella andParmigiano-Reggiano.
The simplicity, yeah,that's the — it means traditional.
I mean, the combinationof all these ingredients but the mostimportant is this, is the homemade tomato sauce.
NARRATOR: He keeps layeringthese simple ingredients until the panis at full capacity.
Then he tops it all offwith a thick, crispy cheese roof.
A lot of cheese.
Tons of formaggio.
No, never enough.
NARRATOR: That beautifullayer cake of gooey goodness bakes in the ovenfor about 45 minutes.
The best parmigianain California.
It's crispy on the top,which I love.
The marinara sauceis really delicious.
Mm! Everythingis so fresh here.
I come here almost every day.
And I love this place.
And this is one example of how greatthe food is here.
I'm somebody whodidn't eat eggplant until I was probably30 years old.
And I haven't hadany as good as this.
This is the best.
Trattoria da Vittorio'sfood is so good, most folks don't want too manypeople to know about it.
My reservation aboutyour whole experience here is that I don't wantpeople coming here.
This is our place.
NARRATOR: Stay with usas our Italian eats countdown crossesthe finish line.
This is, uh, really makes mefeel like home.
Want more "Food Paradise"? Visittravelchannel.
Com/foodparadise for exclusive video and picturesfrom this episode.
Chicago is the place for our next Italian offeringsyou can't refuse.
Truly authentic Italian foodis all about honoring tradition.
And here at Quartino,they get it.
That's why they're number oneon our "Food Paradise" list of the great eight spotsfor Italian eats.
There isn't a school thatteaches this kind of cooking.
We use recipes that are, uh, founded severalhundred years ago.
NARRATOR:Chef and owner John Colettatakes tradition seriously.
And this love of allthings Italian shows in his delicious food.
Locavorism may be all the ragein the States now.
But according to Chef John,it's been standard operating procedurein Italy for centuries.
In Italy, there's a conceptcalled Zero Kilometre.
What that means is within lessthan, uh, 1 kilometer, all the food must becooked from that area.
NARRATOR: In other words.
What growstogether goes together.
NARRATOR: And that's what setsQuartino apart from the pack.
Look at all the lovethat goes into the rustic Tuscan treat knownas Pappardelle al Sugo di Manzo.
Pappardelle is likean extra-wide fettuccine.
Fittingly, its namecomes from the verb pappare, to gobble up.
It's a big noodle,bold enough to pair with the star of the dish, beef.
So what are we workin'with here, John? This is Piedmonteseshoulder of beef.
Okay? NARRATOR: Chef Coletta braisesthose medallions in olive oil, onions and garlic, then builds the flavorsup further, Italian style.
We're going to adda little bit of red wine.
And since we're in Tuscany, the favored wineI would use is a Chianti or a Sangiovese-based wine.
NARRATOR: Again, the closerthe ingredients' origins, the more authentically Italian.
The further you get away, if I were to useCalifornia wine or — or beef from — from Iowa, I'm going to havea different preparation.
Not that it's bad.
It's just different.
The wine has now beenabsorbed into the meat.
Then they're going to explodewhen we add the tomatoes.
These tomatoesare Italian tomatoes coming from the regionof Campania.
It's grown on Italian soil.
This is the tomato Italiansuse in their home.
NARRATOR: What'd I tell ya?Quartino keeps it real.
John lets that simmer a while, being sure to seasonit not all at once, but in stagesas the flavors develop.
That beef getsso fall-apart tender, he can shred it softlywith a spoon.
And we just softly and gently, firmly pressing down.
NARRATOR: All that's left isto transfer that sugo to a sauté pan and add yourPappardelle ribbons.
It's a traditional pasta.
You know, there areover 650 different sizes and shapeswith their own specific sauce and it –their own required flavorings.
NARRATOR: A dish with suchparticular ingredients needs a very specific cheeseto top it off.
The Parmigiano-Reggianowe're using now is from the Vacche Rosse,which is the Red Cow.
This has been agedfor 36 months, okay? NARRATOR:And there you have it, Pappardelle al Sugo di Manzo.
This Pappardelle is a directreflection of the food and culture of Italyhere in Chicago.
It reminds me of like a bigSunday meal that you would, like, have withyour whole family.
I can't get enough.
The braised beef,it's tender.
It meshes well with the sauce.
The flavors, again,all come together.
And the fresh pasta, you –you can't get over it when you have sucha great combination.
It's just packed with flavor.
The noodles arelight and fluffy.
It's like paradisein my mouth.
This is, uh, reallymakes me feel like home.
NARRATOR: That same attentionto detail shines through in Quartino's versionof that old favorite, gnocchi.
The magic in gnocchi is, there's a certainlevel of lightness.
NARRATOR: Lightness is a hardtrick to pull off when you're dealingwith heavy starches like potatoes and pasta.
But John serveshis just like they do in the northern regionof Liguria, starting with the olive oil.
The olive oil thatwe're using here in particularis called Taggiasca.
Taggiasca is an olivethat comes from Liguria.
And it, again,it helps to give us this authentic experience.
NARRATOR: Dumb question — Is garlic importantto this dish? Yes.
What else? We're going to addsome potatoes.
And potatoes and green beansare traditional in Liguria.
Now, we add the gnocchi.
And as you can see, the gnocchi have beenjust slightly blanched.
And look at this.
Look at this dish come together right before our eyes.
NARRATOR: But the crowning gloryhere is that house-made pesto.
Look at this pesto.
Okay? Look how vibrantgreen this is.
NARRATOR: Mixed in a littlefresh arugula, sprinkle it with cheese,and you've got authentic gnocchi that will leaveyour dinner companion green with envy.
The gnocchihas an amazing texture.
The pesto is really flavorful.
And then, with the freshParmesan cheese, all the flavorsreally come together.
The dumpling itself, it's like, when you bite into it,it's not too dense.
It's nicely balanced.
I'm gonna keep digging in.
It's really nicebecause it's — The pesto, you can tell,is homemade and that there is this sprinkle of cheeseon top that I love.
-I really love it.
-That is good pesto.
I do like that, absolutely.
I mean, it's very flavorful.
But I think the pesto iswhat gets me more than anything.
NARRATOR: And that's aboutas Italian as it gets without getting on a plane.
Mama mia, that'sa lotta good food.
I feel stuffed like a ziti.
But I could probably squeezein a bite or two of cannoli if you wanna split one.
Anybody? That's cool.
Maybe next timein "Food Paradise.