Welcome to the 2011 Edition of 100 Dishes to Eat Now, Fork in the Road’s handy list of some of our favorite dishes — old standbys and new finds alike. Over the ensuing weeks, we’ll be counting down our beloved eats, all leading up to our Best of 2011 issue.
There are many, many pasta peddlers in New York City, and Lupa, Mario Batali’s Roman osteria, is one of them. And while the carbonara and cacio e pepe are mighty fine, there’s something to be said for the verdura, or small bowls of veggie starters that they offer. One of our favorites? The treviso with vin cotto.
Given the warm temperature outside, we were pleased to see that this dish ($6) came not fully cooked, but just lightly wilted, tossed with chunks of bread and chopped almonds, almost like a crunchy panzanella. Vin cotto is cooked grape must that’s sweet and slightly tart, and lends a spot-on counterpoint to the bitter vegetable. This dish is great because it hits all the major flavors — sweet, sour, salty, bitter — in every bite. Add in another one or two veggies (the broccoli rabe with stracciatella is a winner) and you’ve got a great meat-free meal. It would also be very tasty as a side dish for the restaurant’s pork chop or hanger steak. Really, any way you eat it, it’s gonna rock.