There's something to be said about that old school Italian restaurant where they make you feel like family. Sadly, these establishments are few and far between in Manhattan. I went to visit Carbone the other night, and yes the food was good, but you could not feel any more sceney over a bowl of creamy 2,000 calorie pasta.
Anyway, I trekked out to Marco Polo in Caroll Gardens Brooklyn. Everyone has been raving about the food, the ambiance and the area. I had never been to the neighborhood, and when I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised by the pedestrian friendly sidewalks.
Joe, the long-time owner of Marco Polo, greeted my dinner guest and me as we walked in. He was warm, with his Italian accent and huge smile. The feeling immediately hit me that this was a family restaurant. Joe told us all about the space and how the neighborhood had changed over his decades there. Then even introduced me to his granddaughter.
The food fits the vibe; it's homestyle Italian and has that same warmth and comfort.
I loved their red wine fettuccine which they toss table-side in a huge parmesan wheel. It's worth going to see it but if you wish to make it at home, guess what, I scored the recipe!
This one makes big portions for your Sunday dinner. Invite everyone. Or divide it up, if you just want to devour on your own.
Marco Polo's Fettuccine al Vino Rosso (serves 8-10):
1/2 bottle red wine
1 1/2 lb semolina flour
1/2 lb regular flour
6 whole eggs
10 egg yolks
13 gr (a little less than 3 tsp) salt
3 gr (about .6 tsp) pepper
6 gr (a little more than one tsp) olive oil
Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel (half)
Pour the wine in a pot over medium heat for 20 minutes to produce a good wine reduction. Separately, mix all the flour together and add salt and pepper and mix well. Add egg yolks and olive oil and mix well, then add the rest of the eggs. While mixing, pour in the wine (at room temperature) and continue mixing for about ten minutes until the pasta is fully and evenly red. Add flour to your working table and layout the pasta dough. Roll it out until it is the thickness of a fingernail. Cut 1 cm wide strips for a nice fettuccine cut. The texture must be smooth and moist. When you finish cutting the pasta, add more flour on top so the pasta won't dry out. When ready to cook, it will take about three to four minutes. Then toss the hot pasta in the Parmigiano-Reggiano wheel to coat it with cheesy goodness.