Archive for the ‘linguini’ Tag

Bella Bellissima   Leave a comment

Most Italian restaurants go in for overkill in the dining room: red-checkered table cloths, Chianti bottles coated in streaming tears of wax, accordion music playing in the background. At Bella Panini, however, the emphasis on all things Italian takes place in the kitchen – where it should.

The friends who introduced us to Bella warned us that on a Friday night we’d be in for a lengthy wait to get a table. Somehow, we timed our arrival just right and were seated immediately. Although our companions are regulars,  we all received a warm welcome.

The restaurant features an impressive beer and wine menu, but it’s the food that commands your attention. An array of pastas and Paninis are available, as are soups and salads. The thin crust pizza was tempting, but I was more attracted to the Stuffed Pasta Roll and the nightly fish special: Sea Bass Topped with Etouffee over a bed of Linguini.

The pasta roll is stuffed with sausage, spinach and mushrooms covered with a sun dried tomato pesto sauce. It’s lasagna gone round. The fish was equally creative. Who would think of Etoufee in a place called Bella Panini? The classic Louisiana stew made with shrimp and crawfish was just piquant enough to make sure I was awake to enjoy it. The mild, flakey sea bass was the perfect neutralizer.

The one nod to the décor is in the subtle murals evocative of rural Italy. That’s easy enough to dine with. Mangiare!

Bella Panini
Four-and-a-Half Plates
4 Highway 105
Palmer Lake, Colo


Pastabilities   Leave a comment

With only 10 tables, it’s not unusual for people to lineup outside Giampietro Pasta and Pizzeria.
Don’t be put off by a likely wait; it’s worth it. Everything is made in-house – from thin crust pizza to tra-
ditional Northern Italian entrees to gourmet pastas. There is something for everyone from a picky kid
who will eat only noodles with butter to wanna-be foodies who want to consume every single morsel on
the plate.

My husband and I hit the jackpot recently when we were seated immediately. Of course, we were in tight
quarters and could easily have picked something off a plate at a nearby table (we didn’t). We started with
a Beet and Ricotta Salad served over spinach. Fresh beets had been pickled giving them a pale countenance
that seemed out of character. Instead, they were another version of themselves. We ordered Linguini with
Clams and the Short Rib Ravioli with Fennel and Spinach. Our intent was to share.

Once I took a bite of the ravioli, I reneged; no way was I sharing. The beef had been braising all day.
Its depth of flavor was augmented by Marsala, chicken stock and fennel bulbs. It tasted as if brown sugar
or syrup had been added, but our server said it was the combination of the wine and stock. Fresh pasta
pockets were the perfect foil for the rich filling. The linguini was fine, but not over-the-top like the ravioli.

Although I was completed sated, I really wanted another order to take home (I didn’t).

Giampietro Pasta and Pizzeria
Four-and-a-half Plates
100 N. Main St.
Breckenridge, CO