Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Salumeria on the West Side

Salumeria Rosi, a new Italian charcuterie/restaurant on the Upper West Side (Amsterdam between 73rd and 74th Streets), offers authentic products of excellent quality. It is a joint venture of two Italian companies, one of which is the maker of parma cotto, exquisite cooked ham from Parma, land of the more famous cured prosciutto di Parma. In addition to parma cotto, there is a grilled version (piacenti) and a roasted version. All are excellent, but for me you can't beat the subtle mild flavor and texture of the parma cotto; great in a sandwich or just eaten plain. The prosciutto and coppa are also excellent, and they have culatello, a super-premium prosciutto that comes from the middle of the ham which has hitherto been unavailable in this country. I have not tasted the salami or sopressata yet, but these are made in USA for reasons that only the USDA understands.

Salumeria Rosi also features a small variety of other Italian products -- cheeses, anchovies, spreads, etc. which I have not yet had the opportunity to try.

Finally, there is a little restaurant that offers tasting plates of their meats as well as cooked dishes -- Italian tapas. All the ones I have sampled are straightforward and delicious.

A welcome addition to the neighborhood.

Bobby Jay


Anonymous said...

I have a question for you about Italian food. When you cook pasta, do you use fresh or dried pasta? If you use dried pasta, do you have any favorite brand(s)? Also, do you ever use canned tomatoes for making marinara or bolognese sauces? If so, what brand do you like the best?

Bobby Jay said...

Thanks, Anonymous.

I generally use dried pasta for two reasons. First, fresh pasta wants butter sauces and I try to avoid them. Second, the fresh pasta that you buy is generally pretty bad and I am not good at making my own, although this is something I intend to work on; it really doesn't seem that hard. A big exception to the foregoing is gnocchi, which I do love and make relatively often.

I use canned tomatoes except in August/September, when I can get really good ones. Buy Italian ones labelled "San Marzano," which everyone thinks are the best in Italy. Apart from that, the brand doesn't matter.

Bobby Jay said...

I just realized that I didn't respond to the question about favorite brands of dried pasta. I like De Cecco, Barilla and Delverde, in that order. These are all Italian. For whole wheat pasta, I really like De Cecco. I don't generally use flavored pasta (squid ink, tomatoes, spinach), not on principal but they are not generally called for by the recipes I like. However, I have used fresh black pepper pasta to make Mario Batali's delicious "Black Pepper Tagliatelle with Parnsips and Pancetta" from the Babbo Cookbook.

These days you can find artisanal Italian pasta, which has two advantages, I have read. First, it is more likely to be made with 100% Italian wheat (although this is not necessarily important). Second, the manner in which it is rolled leaves the surface a bit more textured, which helps it to grab hold of the sauce.

Anonymous said...

My husband's preference is for dried pasta--some fresh pasta cooks up too rubbery. For a while, years ago, I made my own pasta--but after an unfortunate incident, when i left it out too long to dry and returned home to pasta crumbs, I stopped!!

I only use canned tomatoes for sauce--fresh tomatos in season are too special to cook with and are best appreciated in their fresh or grilled state--and yes, san marzano tomatoes are the only ones to use.

For Pasta I usually buy Barilla or DeCecco or look for artisinal brands or even lug it home from Italy. The truly special pastas are made on machines that use bronze "shapes" to extrude the pasta and this gives it a texture that enables sauce to adhere better.