“Sicily is so small, but its food resources are so vast,” says Frank Castronovo. He and partner Frank Falcinelli visit Sicily at least once a year, where they go on a culinary spree, eating everything from fresh seafood to wild boar to bergamot oranges. The duo nod to Sicily in almost every dish on their menus, including the sweet Sicilian pistachios they use in their vividly flavored and extremely nutty-tasting pesto. Frankies Spuntino, 457 Court St., Brooklyn, 718-403-0033; 17 Clinton St., New York City, 212-253-2303.
Chefs’ Restaurant Picks
Ristorante La Siciliana (Viale Marco Polo 52/a, Catania; 011-39-095-376- 400) for clam pasta and marinated fish. La Bettola (Via IV Novembre 65, Aci Castello; 011-39-095-271-596) for wild boar ragù, sausages and seafood. Ardigna (Contrada Ardigna, Salemi; 011-39-368-722-3269) for warm ricotta cheese, grilled meats and homemade ragùs.
“The people of Emilia-Romagna are happy eating their 20 staples and nothing else,” says Paul Bartolotta, who spent more than eight years in Emilia-Romagna and became an expert at making those dishes. What sets the region apart, he says, is its use of cheese and butter and minimal reliance on olive oil. One recipe that shows off Emilia-Romagna’s spectacular dairy products: flat bread spread with fresh, milky ricotta. Bartolotta Ristorante di Mare, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. S., Las Vegas; 702-770-9966.