Stephen Fries: A chef inspired to keep cooking shares a recipe
FOUND: Patricia Ludington, of North Haven wrote, “I would like to request a recipe from LoMonaco’s Restaurant in Branford (990 W. Main St www.lomonacos.com 203-481-9990). We were at a Communion dinner for my granddaughter Sofia. Five of us ordered Gamberoni Monachina — shrimp with mushrooms, wine, topped with mozzarella. All five of us thought it was delicious. We would love to have this recipe. We love your column and look forward to it every Wednesday in the New Haven Register.”
Patricia, it is time to go purchase the ingredients, since owner Vincenzo Lo Monaco and Chef Atlante Esposito were happy to share the recipe. It is one of the most popular items on the menu.
LoMonaco’s has been serving Branford and beyond for 32 years. Longevity seems to be common here. Atlante has been with the restaurant for 21 years and several other employees have been employed for at least a decade. Vincenzo’s interest in the restaurant business began when he was 14 and living in Jackson Heights, Queens, New York. Every day, he stopped at a pizzeria to watch how the pies were made. It fascinated him. Of course, he had to eat a slice too. He asked the owner for a summer job. He was offered a delivery boy position and he delivered pizza with a bicycle. This was OK, but young Vincenzo wanted to cook, so the owner allowed him to get his hands in the dough. He told me his first pizza making experience was a disaster and the owner said to stay in school because he didn’t think Vincenzo would be a good pizza maker. The boy proved him wrong. Fast forward and he worked at DeMatteo’s pizza in Hamden and then at Gabrielle’s (first located in West Haven and then moved to Orange) where he learned how to cook beyond pizza. It was at Gabrielle’s where Vincenzo met the chef, Nicola Mastroianni who later was to become his business partner. The two also own Bellini’s in North Haven. Vincenzo thanks all of his loyal customers for their patronage over the past three decades. The relationships he has developed over the years keeps him inspired to keep on cooking and running the restaurant.
A house specialty is, Vitello “LoMonaco,” veal scallopine sautéed with pignoli and almonds, topped with Parma prosciutto, eggplant rollatini and mozzarella in a light champagne sauce.
Salmon Fruttasecca is a creative preparation of the fish that is sautéed with shallots, dried fruits, pine nuts, walnuts in a sweet Madeira reduction.
Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, you will find traditional Italian dishes as well as seafood and meat cooked with a twist, and with prices that won’t empty your wallet.
On stovetop, heat vegetable oil in an ovenproof sauté pan. Once oil is hot put in shrimp and brown on both sides, about 1 minute per side. Remove shrimp and drain oil from pan. Set shrimp aside. Put butter in pan and add diced mushrooms and sauté for a couple of minutes. Remove pan from stove and add Madeira and Prosecco. Put back on heat and add fish or clam juice, marinara and pepper to taste. Let liquid reduce for 5-7 minutes and put shrimp back in pan and cook for a minute. Remove from heat and sprinkle with mozzarella and place oven-proof pan in a preheated 400 degree oven for about five minutes, until golden brown. Garnish with fresh chopped parsley. Serves 3-4.
Kathleen Carlson, of Hamden, wrote, “The Village Restaurant in Litchfield makes a delicious acorn squash with a quinoa stuffing and coconut sauce. I’d love the recipe since it’s only offered on their special menu occasionally.”
Kathleen, I will check and see if the chef will share the recipe.
“Chefs of Our Kitchen” 2018 Series begin with: A culinary take on “This Is Us”: Siblings Elena Fusco, owner/founder of Bin 100 (Milford), Gennaro “Gerry Iannaccone, owner/chef at Goodfellas; and their nephew, Paul Iannaccone, co-owner/chef at Ristorante Lucé (Hamden) March 7, 6 p.m., Gateway Community College, 20 Church St., New Haven. 203-285-2617. $85. Tickets at http://bit.ly/2j24HH9. Enjoy a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception and then watch the chefs demonstrate the preparation of popular dishes from their restaurants, which will be served. Guests receive recipe cards signed by the siblings. The recipes demonstrated will be prepared by Gateway Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management students.
Consiglio’s Cooking Demonstration and Dinner: March 15, 6:30 p.m., Consiglio’s Restaurant, 165 Wooster St., New Haven, 203-865-4489 (reservations required), $75 (beverages, tax and gratuity not included). Learn how to make saffron crab cake, winter fennel salad, three onion soup, pesto rubbed skirt steak pinwheels, chocolate pastry ravioli.