• Tommy Centola

Try some Creole-Italian in kitchen

Creole and Cajun restaurants dominate the New Orleans dining out options. A hybrid of Creole cooking is the addition of Italian cuisine known as Creole-Italian. One of the best purveyors of this fusion cuisine is Pascal’s Manale.

Frank Manale bought a corner grocery store in 1913 to open up his restaurant Manale’s. When he passed away in 1937, his nephew Pascal Radosta took over sole management. A few years later, he wanted to add his name to the restaurant. To honor his uncle, he kept the Manale name and added his name before it. This type of restaurant name has happened a few times in New Orleans. You may have heard of another one when Chris’s steakhouse became Ruth’s Chris.

In the kitchen today, I will be sharing three dishes: a chicken dish (Rosemary Chicken), a pasta dish (Shrimp a la Scarpia) and a dessert (Key Lime Pie). I would have liked to share their most famous dish, BBQ Shrimp, however, that recipe is very closely guarded. Today’s three recipes will still give you a taste of this restaurant. Let’s go to the kitchen.

Most New Orleans Italian restaurants have a roasted chicken on their menu. In my opinion, this is one of the best. No matter which piece of chicken you prefer, Rosemary Chicken will soon become one of your favorite preparations.

Rosemary Chicken

1 whole chicken, cut into pieces

1/2 cup flour seasoned with Creole seasoning for dredging

1/4 cup olive oil

1 cup white wine

18-24 whole garlic cloves

2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

2 tablespoons butter, cut into chunks

Lightly toss chicken in seasoned flour, shaking off excess. Heat the olive oil in a large deep sauté pan. Brown chicken pieces on all sides. Remove chicken and reserve.

Add the white wine and deglaze the pan. Add garlic cloves, rosemary, salt and pepper. Return chicken to the pan and turn coating with the sauce. Cover pan tightly and bake at 375℉ for 20 minutes, then increase the temperature to 425℉ and roast lightly for 5 minutes. Remove chicken from pan and whisk in butter to thicken sauce. Spoon thickened sauce over chicken and serve immediately.

Some of the dishes at Pascal’s Manale are named after Italian opera characters. This dish is named after Baron Scarpia from Puccini’s opera Tosca. This is a great variation of a shrimp pasta dish.

Shrimp a la Scarpia

5 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup flour

1 1/2 cups milk

1 cup chicken stock

6 garlic cloves, chopped

4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Salt and white pepper to taste

24 large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1 pound spaghetti, cooked

In a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter. Whisk in flour, stirring constantly until flour is cooked 3-4 minutes. Whisk in milk and chicken stock. Add garlic, parsley, salt and white pepper. Simmer together until sauce thickens.

In a skillet, melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter. Sauté shrimp for 3-4 minutes until they are cooked. Pour sauce over shrimp, and turn spaghetti in sauce. Serve with more sauce on top.

A dessert doesn’t have to be complicated to be delicious. Key Lime Pie illustrates that perfectly. New Orleans is a good distance from the Florida Keys. However, this refreshing dessert is a great way to end any meal.

Key Lime Pie

6 egg yolks

1 8-ounce can condensed milk

6 ounces Key lime juice

1 8-inch graham cracker piecrust

Mix together egg yolks and condensed milk with a wire whisk until smooth. Add Key lime juice. Pour into piecrust and bake for 25 minutes at 350℉. Cool at room temperature. Chill before serving.

If you’re looking for a great meal the next time you are in New Orleans, don’t drive to the French Quarter. Head Uptown. Take a ride down St. Charles Avenue. Turn on to Napoleon Avenue. There you will find one of the best Creole-Italian restaurants in town. There are certain restaurants I like to visit often when I go back home. Pascal’s Manale is one of them.

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