Little Maria’s Porcetta & Meatballs

October15

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You may be familiar with the term “a labour of love”. This is how I would describe Joe Pellegrino’s newest restaurant-Little Maria’s Porchetta & Meatballs at 77 Edmonton St.  My eldest daughter and I arrived early for dinner one evening and Joe was taking orders both at the counter and the tables all by himself.  Then he headed back to the kitchen, washed his hands and tied on his apron.  He delivered our steaming hot dishes himself but then was way too busy to emerge from the kitchen for us to tell him how delectable his authentic recipes tasted.

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Signature sauces are simmered a full eight hours and the porchetta (the “ch” is a hard sound like a “k”) is slow roasted in a variety of herbs. His patient culinary efforts pay off as the thinly sliced pork is dripping in its own juices and the slowly-simmered sauces are complex and robust in spite of their few ingredients.  There are less time-consuming methods that Joe could have chosen for his restaurant rendition of an Italian food/sandwich cart but patience is an important ingredient in these recipes.

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The “naked” porchetta (so stated on the menu) was garnished with garlic sautéed spinach alongside a casserolette of roasted vegetables in one of the above mentioned sauces and topped with a gooey mozzarella. My daughter tucked in with delight.

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I was undecided between the gnocchi special and an order of meatballs, so Joe suggested that I go with the gnocchi and he would place a sample meatball on top for me to taste.  Oh my, both were scrumptious.  The aromatic meatball was bursting with the taste of earthy herbs and the potato gnocchi were as light and fluffy as cumulus clouds on a fair summer day.

I asked Joe where he had honed his culinary skills. He sheepishly said “Oh, Naples, Montreal and a number of restaurants here in Winnipeg”.  The only one he named specifically was Mamma Mia’s which was my favourite Italian Restaurant on Corydon back when the area was Winnipeg’s version of Little Italy.

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The dining room is decorated in a funky, fun style with floor to ceiling windows along the west side. There are a few patio tables on the sidewalk for el fresco dining.  I recognized some of the tables and chairs from Pop Soda’s (another venture of this fine cook and restaurateur).

Little Maria's Porchetta & Meatballs on Urbanspoon

Kath’s quote: “The trouble with eating Italian food is that 5 or 6 days later you’re hungry again.”-George Miller

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Love-that is all.

 


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posted under Restaurant Features
One Comment to

“Little Maria’s Porcetta & Meatballs”

  1. Avatar January 15th, 2015 at 5:08 pm Noname Says:

    Looking forward to trying Joe’s latest establishment. He does know how to put food together–he’s been doing it for a long time and has had several incarnations. My earliest memory of him is from the Rogue’s Gallery on Assiniboine. He also had a restaurant in this same location called Piccolino’s. He makes essentially the same food, and it’s always been tasty, but he’s added a few new things to this menu.


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