my week in NYC: I Trulli — homemade Italian at its best

My friend and I spent the afternoon shopping and lost track of time. By 7pm we were starving and she suggested we dine at I Trulli, an Italian restaurant in her neighborhood. Some other friends were to join us later, but for now, the two of us sat on the back patio and enjoyed a glass of wine each munching on the delicious homemade foccacia in the bread basket.

Owner Nicola stopped by the table to say hello and I found out that some of the wines served at the restaurant are from his vineyard in Italy. Nicola’s passionate about food and wine and it is quite apparently when he becomes animated discussing his menu and his mother Dora, who, to this day, still comes into the restaurant every single day to make the pastas by hand.

We ordered some Panzerotti ($12/4pcs), little calzones stuffed with various ingredients. We got the tomato and mozarella, the traditional kind …

…. as well as the one with broccoli rabe, black olives and almonds. Both were deliciously light, although I loved the tomato and mozarella a little more.

After another glass of wine, we moved on to the pastas and there were so many to choose and rave about.I wanted to try as many as possible considering they were all hand-made by mama. We started with the Ravioli per Olivia ($21), ricotta filled raviolis with a pistachio sauce.

When I saw Maccheroncini ($21), I just HAD to order it. I mean, “burnt flour pasta”, who could resist a description like that? The pasta itself is thinly rolled an inch and half long with a toasted nutty taste. The sauce comprised of pureed fava beans which clung to the pasta giving them a richness you don’t expect from a vegetarian pasta. Cherry tomatoes and pepperoncini add color and texture to this highly unique dish.

Orecchiette ($21), an ear-shaped pasta from Puglia (where Nicola’s family is from) is not usually one of my favorite pastas, but call it  mama’s touch, but it literally blew my mind. I think it was the texture of the pasta which took this one out of the ball park. The rabbit ragu brought it to a whole new level. I’ve never experienced pasta like this outside of Italy. Incredible.

But that didn’t end there. I think my favorite of all was the Malloreddus ($21), Sardinian saffron dumplings (reminiscent to a teardrop, similar in texture to gnocchi although malloreddus is not made with eggs) with sausage and tomato. I couldn’t stop eating this delectable dish and I had already eaten WAY too much. This was by far THE perfect plate of pasta.

However, there was still Coniglio ($28) — rabbit — to come. Crispy fried rabbit was so juicy and tender. I’d never had fried rabbit before and found that I thoroughly enjoyed it prepared this way. Together with the garlic spinach and carrot puree, the simplicity of the dish was complex in taste — something not lost on me.

A few more glasses of wine later, Panzerotti Dolce ($8) was in order. These are the same little calzone we had as appetizers but filled with nutella instead.

Naturally, the sweet didn’t do it for me and a cheese plate was in order.

I’m sorry I can’t tell you what cheeses we had — after consuming more than a bottle of wine on my own, all I can tell you is — it was a really good finish to a wonderful meal shared in the company of good friends.

I Trulli
122 E 27th Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: 212-481-7372

I Trulli on Urbanspoon

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