In this special weekly feature, TODAY Food editor Phil Lempert brings you recipes “stolen” (with permission) from notable restaurants across America. See how much fun you can have (and money you can save) by cooking these dishes at home.
THIS WEEK: Insalata di carciofi (artichoke salad) at Il Moro Restaurant in Los Angeles
This week’s recipe was stolen, or “rubato,” from chef Davide Ghizzoni at Il Moro Restaurant in West Los Angeles. This STR is designed for those who love Italian food! Il Moro is all about authentic Northern Italian cuisine, with its deliciously decadent and rich cream- and butter-filled sauces alongside pizzas as thin as a piece of paper with just the right amount of perfectly flavored toppings. This recipe for “Cuori di carciofi” (artichoke salad) is seasonal (they won’t offer it if they don’t have the best fresh baby artichoke hearts on hand) and one of the lighter dishes on the menu. The restaurant gets its name from Shakespeare’s Othello, often referred to as “Il Moro.”
As classic and vibrant as its Shakespearean namesake, Il Moro offers a rich sampling of dishes from the region of Emilia-Romagna, the gastronomic heartland of Italy, celebrated internationally for the range and quality of its culinary delights. As the hyphenated name reveals, Emilia-Romagna consists of two distinct sectors. Emilia and Romagna flaunt their considerable differences, but together share Italy's most luxuriant tables. It is in this passionate countryside that homemade pastas, prosciutto, Parmigiano and balsamic vinegar are produced without equal. You should be planning a visit to West L.A. as soon as you can to sample chef Davide’s food for yourself!
About the chef: Head chef Davide Ghizzoni dreamed of becoming a chef his entire life, spending much of his childhood at the apron of his grandmother. Committed to passing on her legacy and her talents, she taught her family how to eat, enjoy and prepare the foods of their ancestry. Both grandparents were professional chefs, owning and operating a restaurant their entire lives and encouraging their grandson to do the same.
Davide entered culinary school at the young age of 16, leaving home to pursue a professional apprenticeship. His career began at a restaurant specializing in the preparation of the area’s abundant seafood. The next five years were spent training in the city of Modena, before relocating to Barcelona, Spain, as a member of the Italian contingent tasked with creating the foods of Italy for hundreds of Olympic athletes and dignitaries when the Spanish city hosted the 1992 Olympic Games. In 1994, a meeting with an Italian neighbor led to a dramatic offer — executive chef for the grand opening of Il Moro Ristorante in Los Angeles, California. In 1999, he returned to Italy to open his own restaurant in the very community in which he was raised, preparing the beloved foods of his childhood, returning to Los Angeles five years later to once again lead the kitchens of Il Moro.
Insalata di carciofi (artichoke salad) is served at Il Moro for $15.
Il Moro Restaurant
11400 Olympic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064
Phone (310) 575-3530
Want to nominate your favorite restaurant dish for a “Steal This Recipe” feature? Just e-mail Phil at Phil.Lempert@nbc.com (or use the mail box below) with the name of the restaurant, city and state, and the dish you would like to have re-created. Want to know more about Phil and food? Visit his Web site at www.supermarketguru.com.