Valentine’s Day Dinner Guide

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It’s no secret that the way to anyone’s heart (male or female, let’s be honest…) is through their stomach. And what better reason to enjoy a delicious, mind-blowing feast than on Valentine’s Day?

This year, treat that special someone to one of Toronto’s best restaurants for a meal that will be as unforgettable as the time you spend together.

We’ve rounded up the best dishes from our favourite restaurants for you to enjoy this Valentine’s Day…

Montecito – 299 Adelaide St. West

Our Pick: Chef Jonathan Waxman’s JW Chicken

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Cibo Wine Bar – 522 King St West

Our Pick: Quattro Stagioni Pizza

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Ciao Wine Bar – 133 Yorkville Avenue

Our Pick: Chianti Braised Short Ribs

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Thompson Toronto Rooftop Lounge – 550 Wellington Street West

Our Pick: Grilled Salmon Fish Tacos

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Share your Valentine’s Day plans…Tweet us at @NatashaNKPR!

The Ultimate Comfort Foods

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If there’s one good thing that comes from the cold, grey months of fall-winter, it’s the delicious comfort-foods filled with rich, hearty ingredients that bring us back to our childhoods with warm fireplaces and bustling dinner tables.

There’s no secret about it… pasta is absolutely an NKPR favourite. In honour of the Italian staple, we’ve rounded up some of our favourite recipes from a variety of restaurants around Toronto featuring different types of Barilla pasta.

Cue the mouth-watering now…

Cibo Wine Bar (part of Liberty Group)

Orecchiette with Sausage and Rapini – Recipe by Chef Saverio Macri  

150g Barilla Orecchiette Pasta
Rapini – ½ a bunch
1 Whole Spicy Sausage
50g Fontina Cheese
2 cloves Garlic
Extra Virgin olive oil to taste
Parmesan & Fontina Cheese

– Put pasta in boiling water for 10-12 minutes and the rapini for 5-7 minutes (until fork tender)
– In the meantime, get a pan and add olive oil and brown some sausage.
– Next, throw in the garlic and let brown together.
– Toss in the cooked Orecchiette and rapini, and finish it with parmesan and fontina cheese.
Serves 2

Did you know? “Orecchiette” means little ears in Italian – and that’s because the pasta is shaped like little ears.

CIBO

 

Aria Ristorante

Federico Fellini Farfalle alla Bolognese – Recipe by Chef Eron Novalski

500 g Barilla Farfalle Pasta
2.5 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1.5 tbsp butter
1/2 carrot, finely, diced
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 rib celery, finely diced
1/2 pound veal, ground
1/2 pound fresh pork sausage
1/4 pound pancetta or slab bacon, ground
1/2 tube tomato paste
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano, for grating

– In a 6 to 8-quart, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the olive oil and butter over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots and sweat over medium heat until the vegetables are translucent and soft but not browned, about 10 to 15 minutes.
– Add the veal, pork, and pancetta and stir into the vegetables.
– Add the meat over high heat, stirring to keep the meat from sticking together until browned.
– Add the tomato paste, milk, and wine and simmer over medium-low heat for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
– Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and remove from the heat.
– When ready to use, the cooked Barilla Farfalle pasta should be added to a saucepan with the appropriate amount of hot ragu Bolognese, and tossed so that the pasta is evenly coated by the ragu.
Serves 4

ARIA

 

Vertical Restaurant

Rigatoni “Alla Carbonara” – Recipe by Chef Giacomo Pasquini

1lb Rigatoni Barilla Pasta
2 egg yolks
1 whole egg
1/2 cup Pecorino Romano cheese
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Black pepper
1 cup guanciale (pancetta) cut in lardons
Pregiato Black Truffle

– Cook the Guanciale in a fry pan with the oil until crispy and set aside
– Mix the egg, yolks, pecorino and the black pepper together in a bowl and set aside
– Cook the pasta. When it is nice and al “dente” drain it and pour it in the fry pan with the crispy guanciale.
– Turn the heat on, add some pasta water and leave it a bit moist than usual. Turn heat off. Add the eggs and cheese mix, sauté off heat until nice and smooth.
– Add extra black pepper and truffle
Serves 6 – 8

VERTICAL

 

**NKPR Tip: We recommend our favourite Zwilling cookwares to prepare this dish. Pasta cooks beautifully in the Zwilling Prime pots while offering guests parmesan cheese in these ramekins.

 

Sfizio Pizzeria & Wine Bar

Cut Ziti with Arugula Pesto *Vegetarian – Recipe by Chef Paolo Marabello,

400 g Cut Ziti Barilla Pasta
1 cup Basil leaves
2 cup Arugula salad
1/2 cup Pinenuts
1 Garlic clove
1/2 cup of Pecorino Chese
1/3 cup of Parmesan
1 cup cherry tomatoes – cut in half
1/2 cup of olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

– Put basil, arugula, garlic, pinenuts, pecorino cheese and extra virgin olive oil in the mixer and blend well for a one minute.

Meanwhile:
– cook the pasta until al dente
– Sauté cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil
– Drain Pasta, but keep 2 spoonfuls of cooking water.
– Mix the pasta with cherry tomatoes and pesto sauce. Add the 2 spoonfuls of cooking water.
– Serve with shaved parmesan cheese and buon appetite!
Serves 4 people

 

SFIZIO

 

What’s your favourite pasta dish? Tell us at @NatashaNKPR!

NKPR Celebrates: Buonanotte Toronto Opening

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Buonanotte Toronto-7-reduced

We’ll admit it. The NKPR team loves a great party. Needless to say, when we heard Montreal hotspot Buonanotte was expanding to Toronto, we were just a little bit excited to check out the new venue. The original Buona is known for its nightlife, celebrity spottings and most importantly, its delicious food! And after attending Tuesday’s Buonanotte launch on 19 Mercer, we can confirm this Toronto outpost will bring that same Montreal flair to the city, with a few Toronto-inspired menu items, of course!

Check out our Top 5 highlights from the Buonanotte Toronto opening:

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1) The Crowd
Toronto photographer extraordinaire and editor of The C Daily, Ryan Emberley, tweeted that the Buonanotte Toronto launch felt like the first day of school. And we couldn’t agree more! Amid a snowy and cold January, we were thrilled to get out and see everyone for the first time after the holidays.

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2) The Porchetta
Okay so we’ll be honest… not many of us have ever seen a full roasted pig before. And while it was maybe a bit alarming at first, the moment we tried Chef Davide Iannaci’s flavourful porchetta on a neapolitan pizza crust, we were sold on the presentation.

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3) The Other Food
Those that know us, know that we are an office of food-lovers! Buona showed off their true restaurant chops on Tuesday with food stations complete with risotto, gnocchi, charcuterie, pizza, cheese, olives and passed hors d’oeuvres.

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4) The Vibe
Buonanotte Montreal is known for its nightlife and we can tell Toronto will also be a fun fusion of music, good food and friends!

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5) The Team
We had a great night working at the Buonanotte Toronto launch and celebrating the opening of this fabulous new spot. We’ll be back soon!

[photos by JJ Thompson – medianeeds.ca]