Author Archives: Katie Ayoub

Fry Day: The Montanara

2012 September: Fry Day

It’s strange to think that an ancient pizza has become the newest trend. But such is the case with the montanara, an import from Naples that sees a round of dough flash-fried then topped with ragu (cooked tomato sauce) and cheese. But the American translation — the montanara that’s making its mark on menus hereMore »

Sharp As A Knife

knife cutting onion

Time to sharpen your knife skills? And by skills, we’re talking about back-of-house efficiencies and safety protocols around the most common foodservice tool. Knowing which knives work best for cutting different types of product, how to care for them properly and how to use knives safely can give operators a well-honed edge. Safety first. “TrainMore »

How Appetizing

2009 July: How Appetizing

A quick survey of appetizers on the restaurant landscape shows that many are still serving the old standbys. Indeed, Mintel Menu Insights, a leading market-research company, lists these as the most common listings: samplers; buffalo wings; nachos; mozzarella sticks; fried calamari; chicken fingers and bread sticks. But are they the most sought after? Trends pointMore »

Sauce It Up with Wine

2009 October: Better with Wine

Building a sauce with wine is a wonderful way to add acidity, body and flavor. Italian dishes with wine as an integral ingredient are aplenty — from risotto deglazed with white wine to Bolognese slow-cooked with red wine and stock. The challenge is knowing which wine is suited for what dish, and whether to deglaze,More »

2009 August: Pizza Bianco

2009 August: Pizza Bianco

White pizza is often defined by what it lacks rather than what it offers. White pizza is devoid of tomato sauce, but not flavor. By omitting the bold, acidic base that most pizzas build on, the toppings take center stage with nuance, subtlety and complexity. In Rome, the pizza bianca exemplifies Italy’s simple, exquisite cuisineMore »

2009 April: Heat it Up

2009 April: Heat it Up

Jalapeños bring heat to pizza while keeping the flavor profile of the pie firmly rooted in the Western Hemisphere. That still leaves an open ethnic range to play in — from Mexican to the broader Latin and from Southwest to Cajun. Although chipotles (dried and smoked jalapeños) may be hogging most of the media limelight,More »

2009 February: Sea Legs

2009 February: Sea Legs

Squid is a wonderful ingredient with a terrible name. Thank goodness for its much more appealing Italian moniker, calamari, adopted with gusto by restaurateurs across this country. Calamari, a very cost-effective seafood, lends itself well to almost any cooking application, but is at its best as a grilled or fried appetizer. Indeed, fried calamari, orMore »

2009 January: Presto Pesto!

2009 January: Presto Pesto!

Pesto, that wonderful raw sauce with bright, fresh flavors, is a gift to operators. Italian for pounded, pesto is an uncooked sauce with tremendous versatility. It takes up no room on the line (all that is needed is a recipe and a blender), but can be incorporated into so many different dishes, from pizzas andMore »

2010 October: Top of the Line

2010 October: Top of the Line

Toppings are to pizzas as clothes are to people, completing a profile and adding personality. And although the standard list of toppings—sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, green pepper, etc.,—has a solid fan base, today’s diner may expect a wider selection. But how many toppings are too many? How do operators control food costs while still offering aMore »

2010 June: Comfort Food

2010 June: Comfort Food

Stromboli is a sealed, toasted Italian sandwich, usually stuffed with deli meats and cheese. Romano’s Pizzeria & Italian Restaurant in Essington, Pennsylvania, lays claim to the original, where Pete Romano and family continue the stromboli tradition set by his grandfather in the early 1950s. But other operations carry stromboli on their menus, adhering to theMore »