“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” – Federico Fellini
Italy – warmth, terra cotta hues, vigorous cuisine, and mellow wine – anyone who has visited this extraordinary country knows that Italy has a colorful way of seeping into your soul.
Mama’s Cucina Italiana at the Pala Casino Spa & Resort offers a taste of Italy, and, in its own way, seeps into your soul with its robust cuisine.
Born in Milano, Italy, Chef Luciano Cibelli, the restaurant’s head chef and founder, honed his innate culinary inclination in some of the greatest culinary regions throughout Italy, as well as in France and Spain. He then added a bit of the exotic to his knowledge and skill through chef positions in Thailand and Morocco. Chef Luciano’s varied culinary influences are evident in the inspiring cuisine that he creates and he’s been welcoming diners to Mama’s Cucina Italiana since 2003.
How many restaurants can boast of a “pasta room”? Chef Luciano initiated a pasta shop where fresh pasta of all shapes and sizes is made every day. Aside from the obvious benefit of wonderful flavor – the fresh pasta only takes two or three minutes to cook. When Chef Luciano’s mother is visiting from Milano, she quickly heads for the pasta room and “makes pasta all day,” he said with a laugh.
With money the restaurant saves from making its own pasta, Chef Luciano stocks the kitchen with other fine ingredients such as truffle oil. “We buy and use the best of the best,” he noted.
The “Caprese,” an excellent choice for a starter, is made with fresh Italian “buffalo mozzarella,” which is a soft, smooth cheese created from the milk of a water buffalo. It is served with garden-fresh sliced tomatoes and basil. The basil is pan-fried, which lends a surprisingly crispy texture. The coolness of this combination is refreshing.
The Italian word, “volare,” means to soar or fly. It was appropriate that I heard the song “Volare,” playing softly in the background when I enjoyed the succulent and yielding texture of the “Agnello” (Lamb Chops). This herb-encrusted entr