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Kaitlin Steinberg & Houston Press name Ciao Bello Pastiera “#1 Dish for 2013-14”

pastiera di mare

Ciao Bello’s Caramelli also took home the top prize for best dish at the Houston Press Menu of Menus Party on April 8. Click here to read more.

We are very pleased to announce that Houston Press restaurant critic Kaitlin Steinberg has made the Pastiera di Mare con Granchio e Gamberi (above) her Number One Dish in her list of “100 Favorite Dishes” in Houston for 2013-2014.

As Steinberg notes in her glowing review, Tony first served the dish at the second in his series of Regional Italian Cuisine Dinners last year, an evening devoted to the food of Naples, Italy.

Here’s what she had to say about the “best thing that she ate [at Ciao Bello] all year.”

Pastiera is a traditional Neapolitan dish, often served sweet instead of savory for the Easter holiday. Online searches haven’t revealed much to me about savory versions of the dish, though many of them include pasta, eggs and cheese in what amounts to a sort of casserole. This dish is not like that.

It’s fluffy enough to equate it with a soufflé — all airy eggs with a delicate jiggle once it’s been baked. The eggs are mixed with mascarpone cheese, which is essentially more-acidic clotted cream, for a combination that is simultaneously light as air and intensely rich. Add to that chunks of crab meat and shrimp and a crust that’s been slightly browned in the oven, and the result is a dish that I keep finding myself explaining by saying, simply, “You just have to taste it.”

Click here for her complete review.

And please click here for more info on the next event in the Regional Italian Cuisine Dinner series: An Evening in Tuscany with Tony Vallone, Wednesday, April 30.

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