Head over to Brooklyn for dinner at Scotaditto and you won’t be disappointed. This Park Slope restaurant is serving up Northern Italian cuisine and their star entrée is definitely the hand made Gnocchetti di Spinaci ($18). This spinach & ricotta gnocchi is served with sage and butter, the perfect compliment to this hearty yet light meal. Even if spinach isn’t your favorite thing, you’ll quickly forget after eating these pockets of goodness. If your dinner date is looking for something even richer may we suggest the Tagliatelle al Brie, Arugula e Speck? That’s thin ribbon pasta with melted brie, smoked prosciutto, arugula, and truffle oil. Yes, we said melted brie. And it’s mixed with truffle oil? We can die and go to heaven now.
Pair UVA’s Gnocchi di Ricotta ($19) with a glass of vino from their extensive wine list and you’ve got yourself one meal to remember. The hand made ricotta gnocchi is smothered in a creamy black truffle and chive sauce, making you want to lick the plate clean. This wine bar restaurant is a great date spot with its intimate setting, rustic Italian vibe, and candlelit tables. Get your dinner started with a great Anitpasti for Two – choose from the misto – a variety of cured meats, olives, and sweet cherry peppers or the vegetariano – grilled, marinated, and pickled vegetables, buffalo mozzarella, and sundried tomatoes with balsamic glaze. Either way, you’ll go home happy.
Mario Batali’s Lupa in the Greenwich Village certainly makes you feel like you’re dining inside a Roman Trattoria. This casual neighborhood spot has a variety of pastas on the lunch/dinner menu but the real stand out is the Ricotta Gnocchi with Sausage & Fennel ($16). It’s feather and light but the tanginess of the meat and spice gives it quite a kick. It’s a simple dish that packs lots of punch. Pair this hearty meal with a nice Italian wine (they have over 400 selections to choose from) and you’ll definitely be coming back.
The gnocchi at Jane Restaurant in Greenwich Village is pure magic – mainly because the base of these amazing morsels are made out of ricotta rather than potato. Their Toasted Ricotta Gnocchi may be a starter (on the dinner menu, at least) but you’re going to be thinking about them the rest of your meal. For $13 you can nosh on this delicious dish that’s covered in white truffle crema, Italian parsley, and parmesan. It sounds heavy but the gnocchi is actually very light and fluffy thanks to its ricotta base. Definitely ask for some extra bread to soak up all the rich sauce. If you’re in pasta nirvana, let the waiter know and you can get a bigger portion for $6 more. There’s a reason this dish appeared on The Food Network’s “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.” Come find out for yourself.
Look closely at the menu at Estela and you’ll notice the Ricotta Dumplings with Mushrooms and Pecorino Sardo ($25). These little pockets of love are covered with thinly shaved mushrooms (more for texture than taste) and nestle within a rich onion and mushroom broth. The sheep’s cheese gives it a nice salty taste with each lovely bite. The only downsize it’s a bit on the smaller side so you might want to pair it with a few starters like spiced almonds or egg salad on rye crackers. Don’t miss out on trying one of their signature cocktails too. The Diablada – pisco, lemon verbena, falernm, and egg white – or the Rattle and Rose – apple brandy, rye, hibiscus, lemon, and Chartreuse rinse – are both excellent choices.