Manhattan is filled with over twenty thousand restaurants, and it can be hard figuring out where to go for dinner on a Saturday night. Sometimes you just have to pick a neighborhood, walk around, and stumble upon something along the way. This happened on Saturday. After a day at the MET and drinks at one of my favorite rooftops, Empire Hotel, we decided to head a little closer to home for dinner. That’s when we stumbled upon Cotta Osteria in the Upper West Side. I’ve walked past it a million times, but never thought to try it. As soon as I walked in the door I knew this was going to become my new favorite wine bar. We sat at the bar and coming from someone who used to bartend, the best service is at the bar, and you get to enjoy yourself and not feel rushed. From the ambience to the wine to the pizza to the great prices, it’s a great local spot. They have happy hour during the week which includes buy one get one free glasses of wine. If the Sicilian wine is on the list, that could be trouble. In a good way of course.
Enough about the wine. Let me tell you about the pizza. It’s served Italian style. I never really understood this until my husband went to Italy. They eat a whole pie by themselves. I thought this was crazy until I found myself eating a whole pie Saturday night. The pizzas are small with a thin, flaky crust. It’s like getting your own personal pizza without all the bread dough. It’s all about the toppings. The stand out pizza of the night? Brussels sprouts and pancetta pizza. I love love brussels sprouts. The pizza was topped with mounds of shaved brussels sprouts and salty pancetta with mozzarella and parmesan. It was heaven! My husband had the meatball pizza and loved it too.
The first time I tried brussels sprouts was at Blue Hill in Greenwich Village. Blue Hill is a farm to table restaurant that cooks seasonal food. I’ve been twice, and the brussels sprouts still stand out in my mind. It was a side dish of brussels sprouts leaves and pistachios. Very simple, but so good. After all this time, I finally made them, and wanted to share them with you. They are just as good as I remember.
I included the cores as well as the leaves to add more body to the dish, and I really don’t like wasting food.
Trim the ends of the brussels sprouts. Cut them in half. Then thinly slice them.
Pistachios add a nice crunchy texture.
And with a little lemon juice…perfection.
Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Lemon
adapted from Epicurious
The key to eliminating the bitterness that brussels sprouts sometimes tend to have is seasoning them well with salt.
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, finely diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound brussels sprouts, trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup pistachios, shelled
juice of 1 small lemon
In a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic, and saute for 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the brussels sprouts, 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt, and a pinch of black pepper. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the pistachios and saute for another 2 to 3 minutes until the brussels sprouts soften. Add the lemon juice and stir. Remove pan from heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl.