What happens when two Italian chefs fall in love? If you're Angela Rito and Scott Tacinelli, chef-owners of West Village hot spot Don Angie, you might invent the lovechild of two Italian-American dishes: a giant pizza, but with a crispy chicken crust. The "chicken Parm pizza" is one of the most-photographed orders served at Quality Italian, one of their first restaurant partnerships as a chef-owner team.
Do a search for Don Angie's iconic #lasagnafortwo on Instagram, and it's easy to see that Angie and Scott have tapped into a red-sauce renaissance. But making meatballs for Millennials was never the goal. You'd have to look back a couple of generations to see how the couple’s love for Italian food began: cooking with their nonni.
Drying your own oregano, soaking hand-torn bread in milk for luscious meatballs, frying thin slices of eggplant for Parm that layers up like an elegant lasagna: these are just a few of the classic techniques the chefs picked up from their relatives. Angie grew up working and baking at the family business, Rito’s Bakery and import store in Cleveland. Scott would cook with his grandparents nearly every Sunday back home in Jersey. Later on, a background in some of New York City’s most illustrious kitchens (like Park Avenue Autumn/Winter/Spring/Summer, where the couple met) helped them put a fresh perspective on Old World flavors.
Scott's Lasagna Verde could rightly be called a summer dish, thanks to a fresh, herb-packed pesto that stands in for the typical red sauce. Angie’s salads (a spicy antipasto and little gem Caesar) each have their own delicious twists, as does her incredible "broken meatball ragù." And their chicken Parm? It's a straight-up classic that Panna's founder calls "the best chicken Parm" he's ever had. A healthy helping of Italian tradition, with a twinkle of Don Angie’s modern spirit: that's what marks each of the dishes that Angie and Scott have brought to Panna.