Aubrey Clark, Aubreyclark44@gmail.com
When Bella Nonna’s Bistro opened about four months ago on North Tamiami Trail, the small bistro, strutting comfortable dining and a quaint deck on which to eat outside, answered Ringling College students’ call for a restaurant between University and Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard. The small Italian eatery boasts fresh loaves of unbaked bread shipped in from an undisclosed Italian bakery in New York City. Each morning, the chefs cook off the dough for freshly baked bread. Ken Ingersoll, chef and part owner, says that most dishes have been made from scratch. Although it is easier to buy products than make them in-house, Ingersoll feels it translates into a better plate. The difference, he said, is found in the taste. For an authentic bite passed down by four traceable Italian generations (Ingersoll figures it’s been handed down for even more), try From The Pot. This well-seasoned sauce simmers for 12 hours, cooking out a majority of the acidic bite traditionally found in tomato sauces. Handmade meatballs made with Parmesan, eggs, oregano, garlic, salt and pepper have been browned and added to the pot along with sausage and pork, providing an added zip of savory to your bite. The tomato and garlic-roasted flavor comes from fresh ingredients and the dish itself has been known as a peasant’s dish. But spread over a bed of rigatoni pasta and layered with cheese, it tastes like royalty to me. Original article published in SRQ Daily on February 16, 2012 (www.srqmagazine.com).