Friday, November 18, 2011
Rigatoni with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe - Gianna's, Carlstadt, NJ
Gianna's is an interesting-looking Italian restaurant located in a fairly large business district in the shadow of Giant's Stadium. While another restaurant not far down the street was notoriously featured on Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares - Gianna's is about as removed from that kind of attention as you can manage. The food is classic Italian, and is made with all the attention to detail and quality of ingredients as you would expect. Their dining room is attractive, comfortable, and well maintained- when compared to the business/industrial area surrounding it, you'd think you stepped into an entirely different world.
This restaurant is located very close to my day job, and I really don't know why I never tried it before. My selection was a classic dish that's been a favorite of mine since my youth- Rigatoni with Sausage and Broccoli Rabe. The slight bitterness of the sauteed greens balances perfectly with the smoky notes from the grilled Italian Sausage, and a little grated parmesan ties the whole thing together. This dish represents all the things that are best about rustic Italian cooking- start with high quality, fresh ingredients, treat them in a simple way, and place them in simple combinations. This dish is made of three main components that have very little done to them- letting their quality and freshness speak for themselves - I wouldn't have it any other way. I also have to mention that their fresh bread is excellent- fresh, warm, crusty, and a perfect accompaniment for a plate of pasta.