Southern Italy, Northern Italy & yes, Central Italy – There is a Difference in the Regional Cuisines.

Are you, your family or ancestors from Southern or Northern Italy?  Than it is likely you know the cuisine of these regions, while may having similarities, are also very different.  There are many “regions” in Italy, generally cuisine is divided into two – Northern or Southern… but there is also Central Italy!  The food in all three areas bring something unique to the dining table.

Map of Italy

Map: 3 Main Regions of Italy

Let’s start in the North where you are likely to dine on meals that are rich & creamy along with stuffed meats & pastas; Parmigiano-Reggiano may well be the most popular cheese.  The Ligurian coastal section of north-west Italy boast fish (baccala), like Cod.

In contrast, Southern Italy is known for it’s tomatoes  – cooked in a sauce or served fresh; as well as peppers, olives, olive oil, garlic, Ricotta cheese, eggplants, zucchini & fish, like Tuna or Sardines.  As you can see, Southern Italy has had a great influence on American Italian fare.  For all you Pizza lover’s out there… it hails from Naples, also part of Southern Italy.

Organic Black Eggplant

Organic Eggplant in our Garden at Home.

Zucchini Squash

Organic Zucchini fresh from our garden.

Do you hear Italians mention Central Italy often?  Honestly, I don’t think I have ever heard that once!  Traditional Central Italian cuisine uses ingredients such as tomatoes, all kinds of meat, fish, and pecorino cheese.  In Tuscany and Ubria, pasta is usually served alla carrettiera (a tomato sauce spiked with peperoncini hot peppers).

As you can see by our menu; we offer a dining experience that is influenced by all the above, in addition to the induced Italian American dishes that came from our ancestors when they moved to United States. Comment below & share with us which style of cuisine you like best… or maybe like us, you enjoy it all!

Penne Baked

Baked Penne

What is the proper pour for wine?

We have been asked many times “What is the proper pour for wine,”  so we thought we would share a little information about this topic.

First, do you know what “One Serving of Alcohol is Considered?”  It actually varies depending on the type of alcohol you are serving, like wine or beer.  Here is a basic outline for proper pouring & serving:

  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 12 ounces of a beer or wine cooler
  • 8-ounces of malt liquor
  • 1.5 ounces of 80 proof distilled spirits  (Whiskey, Vodka, Rum, etc.)

Keep in mind that some States have different regulations regarding how much alcohol is served at one time, so an alcohol beverage could be served according to State Law.

Wine figures

Restaurants may offer different pours of wine, like 3oz., 5oz., or 8oz. – at different prices. So in this case the “Proper Pour” of wine would depend on the size you prefer.  We have never come across a proper pour being any larger than 8 ounces.  You will also notice that there are all different sizes of wine glasses; it is always better to have a larger glass so you are able to swirl the wine to aerate, helping to release it’s essence.

When you come into dine with us, you have a choice of ordering house wines by the Full Carafe, Half Carafe or Glass & for those who prefer more diversity in their wine choices; we also offer a variety of wines by the Glass or Bottle.  We pour 1 size when serving by the glass – a measured 6 ounces & it comes in a nice 20 ounce glass to enable you to swirl without spilling.  It may look like a small pour, but we do measure it when pouring &  it is priced at what you may pay for a 5 ounce pour in many other establishments. If you would like to order a bottle of wine but don’t want to drink it all at one time; we also offer Wine Doggie Bags, which are approved by the State of New Mexico & you are able to take what is left in your bottle of wine home with you.  Have questions? Our staff, management & owners are happy to assist you in picking out the wine that you would most enjoy.

Click here to view our Beer & Wine List (Availability May Vary).

Carnevale – the Italian Carnival

Did you miss it…do you know what it is?

It has just come & gone… Italian Carnevale; – in the United States, 2013, it was a celebration held around February 9-12 (Lent started on the 13th).  In Venice, however, celebrations went on from February 1-14, it some parts of Italy the parties started in the end of January!

        venice carevale          106477551_-italian-venetian-carnival-ladies-sculptural-wall-mask-

Green & Gold Mask

Carnevale began in Venice during the Italian Renaissance as an annual celebration preceding Lent; the Italian Renaissance began in the the 14th century & lasted until the 16th century! Did you miss out on the fun?  Well, you don’t have to… come join us for the Taste of Rio Rancho, Saturday March 9 beginning at 4pm in the Santa Ana Star Center Arena; where we will bring back a touch of Italian Carnevale.  In addition, there will be over 25 other participating Rio Rancho Restaurants, live music & more… in an all new spacious layout!  Tickets (that include all the tasty food samples & live music) can be purchased in advance at  Santa Ana Star Center Box Office for $5 or you can pay $10 at the door the day of the event (if we aren’t already sold out)!  So, come join us in the fun & celebration of so much that Rio Rancho has to offer!

Joes Pasta House at Taste of Rio Rancho 20131

What are you doing on Tuesday & Wednesday Night?

How would you like Fish Fry or Prime Rib for Dinner?

You may think this is a funny question coming from an Italian restaurant, but in addition to our extensive Italian & Steak/Chop Menu we have added a couple special nights due to popular request… and we aim to please!

Starting tonight, Tuesday 2/26/13, we are offering Fish Fry as our Tuesday night weekday special… 2 pieces of hand breaded, cold water, wild caught Flounder served with a garden salad, fried potatoes & house made tartar sauce!  And don’t worry about your fish being fried in hydrogenated oil; we use 100% vegetable oil in our fryer!

Rib-Roast-3

But how about Wednesday night?  Maybe fish isn’t your favorite dish; well beginning tomorrow night, 2/27/13, we are featuring Prime Rib as our Wednesday night weekday special… All natural, slow roasted, Black Angus Prime Rib Served with garden salad & mashed potatoes!  Do you enjoy a tender piece of flavorful prime rib that isn’t dipped in liquid smoke?  Than you will want to join us on Wednesday night!

Both specials are offered from 4pm-9pm… while supplies last.  For more Weekday, Weekend & Take-Out specials visit us on:

 http://joespastahouse.com/index.php/dinner-specials/

At Joe’s Pasta House your not just getting the cultural taste of our Italian family recipes; you also get enjoy savory selections created & prepared by a fully trained culinary team!  We look forward to seeing & serving you soon.

Classic Humor for Valentines Day

Happy Valentines Day!
In honor of today, Thursday February 14, 2013; we wanted to share a little love with a classic Italian American love song that has just a touch of humor added.  Click the link right above the picture, to view, listen & enjoy!
That’s Amore  
valentines-day

Dean Martin sings this song beautifully & it is very well known.  But how many of you remember watching this & the comedian who joins in the singing? 
It is our sincere wish that this short video warms your heart & brings a smile to your lips.

Imported Pasta versus Pasta from United States

How GMOs Affect the Gluten Levels of Pasta

There are many debates going on in regards to GMOs & Gluten.  When we take a look at studies, A Tale of Two Gluten Studies and the history of wheat, What Happened to Wheat, we know that there is an increasing problem with GMOs & gluten.  What foods you decide to partake in is ultimately your choice; but we feel as restauranteurs & the fact that we are passionate about serving the same fresh, nutritious food to our guests as we do our family; we have a responsibility in helping you make an informed decision that could effect your health.
 
 
 At Joe’s Pasta House we choose to serve Imported Pasta.  What? Why, you may ask, when we serve so many foods that are local? Yes, supporting the local economy is very important… and so is offering delicious, healthier food.  This is where the choice to serve imported pasta, from Italy, is the only current choice for us.  Unfortunately, the United States allows GMO wheat to be produced in our country.   In the article, What Happened to Wheat, you can see a study conducted by the Mayo clinic shows 60 years ago Celiac Disease was rare.  Now it effects at least 1% of the population.  You can find more information about Celiac Disease here: The Mayo Clinic
 
So, what has changed in our wheat?  GMOs!  That is right; studies show that GMO wheat produces a higher yield of gluten & many people are having digestive issues because it is too much for us to process.  In “Which Countries Have Banned GMO Foods?”  there is a very informative list of which countries have modified what is allowed as far as GMO foods & countries that have banned GMOs.  Italy is one of the countries with a ban on GMOs & that is why we serve pasta imported from Italy!  It is important to us to provide as much minimally processed (if processed at all), natural, free-range, non-injected, non GMO foods as possible – this also includes organic & local selections when feasible.  Fresh, house-made recipes that provide good nutrition & value; this is one of our most important purposes when we are serving you & your loved ones.

 

 

 

Surprise! There Really is no Added Sugar in the Red Sauce….

Baked Lasagna

Many times over the last 12 years we have been asked “how much sugar to you put in your red sauce?” There is much disbelief when we reply “None, there is no added sugar in the sauce.”  We have literally had guests tell us they don’t believe us… “no way, your sauce has a light, sweet taste; you have to put sugar in it!” OK, we will let you in on a little secret…. it’s not added sugar, it’s all about the tomatoes we use.  You see,  it has to do with understanding the chemical reactions of different foods depending on how they are cooked & the type of food you are cooking.  Here is the secret ingredient: Imported Italian Plum Tomatoes & we make the sauce fresh every morning!  The chemical breakdown of this specific tomato is what makes our sauce have a hint of sweetness.  So, relax & enjoy the next time you partake in a dish with red sauce at Joe’s Pasta House… there are no refined sugars added to the sauce!

Who took the eggplant off the buffet?

Many years ago when Joe’s Pasta House first came into being (our name was still Pasta Cafe then); we started offering our lunch buffet in addition to the lunch & dinner menu.  In the beginning, it was a limited buffet… with set menu items everyday!  One day I thought, wow we have customers who come in for lunch everyday; maybe we should offer different buffet items.  After mentioning this to Joe we decided we would alternate the main dish from Eggplant Parmigiana to something else.

Eggplant Parmigiana Dinner Entree

Eggplant Parmigiana Dinner Entree


Just for the record, it was me – Kassie, it was my fault the Eggplant was not on the buffet.  My poor husband spent the whole lunch hour fixing eggplant for our regulars (and happily, he was thrilled you all love it so much).  Since then, I am happy to say, Eggplant Parmigiana is a staple on our buffet & we have expanded our buffet to offer soup & other entrees options.  So, what is your favorite dish on the lunch buffet?