Eat Your Way Through Festa!

Celebrity Chefs, Cucina Showcase and a new wine tasting is sure to please appetites and palates at Festa Italiana

Making her first ever appearance at Festa, celebrity chef Rossella Rago, host of "Cooking with Nonna" will showcase her culinary skills Saturday, July 21 at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 4:15 p.m.
Making her first ever appearance at Festa, celebrity chef Rossella Rago, host of "Cooking with Nonna" will showcase her culinary skills Saturday, July 21 at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 4:15 p.m.
  • Making her first ever appearance at Festa, celebrity chef Rossella Rago, host of "Cooking with Nonna" will showcase her culinary skills Saturday, July 21 at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 4:15 p.m.
    Making her first ever appearance at Festa, celebrity chef Rossella Rago, host of "Cooking with Nonna" will showcase her culinary skills Saturday, July 21 at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 4:15 p.m.
    Making her first ever appearance at Festa, celebrity chef Rossella Rago, host of "Cooking with Nonna" will showcase her culinary skills Saturday, July 21 at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 4:15 p.m.
    Making her first ever appearance at Festa, celebrity chef Rossella Rago, host of "Cooking with Nonna" will showcase her culinary skills Saturday, July 21 at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 4:15 p.m.
  • Back again to the Cucina Showcase is cooking sensation Nick Stellino Saturday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m. presented by DaVinci and Sunday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. presented by Electrolux.
    Back again to the Cucina Showcase is cooking sensation Nick Stellino Saturday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m. presented by DaVinci and Sunday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. presented by Electrolux.
    Back again to the Cucina Showcase is cooking sensation Nick Stellino Saturday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m. presented by DaVinci and Sunday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. presented by Electrolux.
    Back again to the Cucina Showcase is cooking sensation Nick Stellino Saturday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m. presented by DaVinci and Sunday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. presented by Electrolux.
  • If you are seeking vino instead, LoDuca Brother's Wine is offering wine tastings featuring some of the most famous and expensive wines of Italy and Napa.
    If you are seeking vino instead, LoDuca Brother's Wine is offering wine tastings featuring some of the most famous and expensive wines of Italy and Napa.
    If you are seeking vino instead, LoDuca Brother's Wine is offering wine tastings featuring some of the most famous and expensive wines of Italy and Napa.
    If you are seeking vino instead, LoDuca Brother's Wine is offering wine tastings featuring some of the most famous and expensive wines of Italy and Napa.
  • Rigatoni Alla Caprese.
    Rigatoni Alla Caprese.
    Rigatoni Alla Caprese.
    Rigatoni Alla Caprese.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 19, 2012… Those looking to eat their way through Festa will not be disappointed!  This year Festa offers popular Italian cuisine, a wine tasting, a great line-up in the Piggly Wiggly Cucina Showcase and a 35th anniversary cannoli eating contest!

Piggly Wiggly Cucina Showcase

Making her first ever appearance at Festa, celebrity chef Rossella Rago, host of “Cooking with Nonna” will showcase her culinary skills Saturday, July 21 at 6:45 p.m. and Sunday, July 22 at 4:15 p.m. Inspired by her love of food, her passion for entertaining, as well as her appreciation for her family and the Italian community, Rossella launched the “Cooking with Nonna” show in 2009. The online cooking show features recipes passed down throughout the generations that are simple to make, delicious and rich in their history.  Rago will cook on stage Saturday, July 21 with a local area nonna! 

Back again to the Cucina Showcase is cooking sensation Nick Stellino on Saturday, July 21 at 4:00 p.m. presented by DaVinci and Sunday, July 22 at 6:30 p.m. presented by Electrolux.  Stellino’s latest cookbook, Cooking with Friends, currently airs on Public Television.  Stellino grew up in Palermo, Italy, on the island of Sicily and came to the U.S. in 1975. He has apprenticed with the best Italian chefs in America and hosted many successful television shows, including: Nick Stellino Cooking with Friends, Cucina Amore I, II and III, and Nick Stellino’s Family Kitchen.

Looking for some new Italian recipes and tips?  The Cucina Showcase will once again feature local chefs from some of Milwaukee’s best restaurants to demonstrate their favorite Italian dishes with seasonal ingredients.  Participating restaurants include LeReve Patisserie & Café, Ryan Braun’s Graffito, The Pfister Hotel, Mozzaluna, Bravo Cucina Italiana, Carmella’s, the Venice Club, Buca Di Beppo, Wild Earth – Potawatomi Bingo and Casino, Maggiano’s Little Italy, Ristorante Bartolotta, Mia Famiglia Italian Ristorante & Steak House, Tripoli Country Club and Zin - Uncommon California Italian.  Participants will receive recipes and tasty samples!  For a complete schedule, please visit www.festaitaliana.com.

Food Features

Take your chances at the 35th anniversary Cannoli Eating Contest!  The contest will take place Saturday, July 21 at 3:00 p.m. in the Cucina Showcase.  Participants will be challenged to eat the most cannoli within a designated time frame.  This will be a site to see!

If you are seeking vino instead, LoDuca Brother’s Wine is offering wine tastings featuring some of the most famous and expensive wines of Italy and Napa in the hospitality area at the Briggs Big Backyard Stage.  Wine flights will be offered from the famous IndyCar driver, Mario Andretti’s Napa Valley vineyard by certified sommelier and former Andretti general manager, Frank Mirenda.  Also appearing is famous Italian sommelier Eleonora Baralli from the Piedmont region of Italy.  Baralli will explain her Baralli Vineyard wines.  LoDuca Brother’s will provide wine tastings and education on an extensive list of wines from Italy including Barolo, Barberesco, Barbera d’Alba and Dolcetto.  The wine tastings will be held twice on Friday, July 20, three times on Saturday, July 21 and twice on Sunday, July 22.  Each tasting is $20 per person.

If you prefer to eat your way through Festa, Italian food vendors returning include Alioto’s Bar & Restaurant, Angelo’s, Café LaScala, Carini’s La Conca D’Oro, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Cataldo’s, Glorioso’s Deli, Johnny V’s, Libiamo Restaurant, Mille’s Sausage, Nessun Dorma, Nino’s Bakery, Papa Luigi’s, Pietro’s Pizza, Saz’s, Sciortino’s Bakery and the Venice Club.  New additions include Trattoria di Carlo and Major Goolsby’s

Recipes

For a light summer recipe, try the Rigatoni alla Caprese – the true colors and flavors of summer from Rossella Rago:

Rigatoni alla Caprese
1 Lb Rigatoni pasta
1 Lb Fresh Tomatoes, diced
1 Lb Fresh mozzarella, diced
4 Cloves garlic
3 Leaves Fresh basil
4 Tbs olive oil
Salt, black pepper and Peperoncino

In a large pan, sauté the garlic until it turns golden.  Add some hot pepper as desired and add the tomatoes.  After a few minutes, cut the basil leaves in half and add to the pan and cook for 15 minutes.  Boil the pasta to an Al Dente consistency and pour into the pan.  Toss the pasta for 2 minutes.  Add ¾ of the mozzarella and plate.  Garnish with the remainder of the mozzarella and add a sprinkle of fresh black pepper as desired. 

Also try your hand at making an Italian recipe from Nick Stellino:

Nick Stellino’s Pasta with Ham, Mushrooms, Asparagus and Truffle Oil

4 Tbs Pompeian® Extra Virgin Olive Oil
4 Garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1 Lb asparagus, cut into ¼- inch rounds
¼ Cup chopped shallots
¾ Lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced
¼ Lb prosciutto or ham, finely chopped (optional)
4 Tbs chopped parsley, divided
¾ Cup white wine
2 Cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
1 Cup cream
½ Cup tomato sauce
1 Lb DaVinci® penne rigate pasta
5 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs Susan Rice Olive Oil with Summer Truffles
½ Tsp salt or to taste
½ Tsp pepper or to taste

In a large pan, cook the olive oil and garlic over medium heat until the garlic begins to brown after about two minutes. Add the asparagus and cook for two more minutes. Add the shallots, stir well and cook for one more minute. Add the mushrooms, the optional prosciutto and half of the parsley. Increase the heat to high and cook for one more minute, stirring well.

Add the wine and cook for one more minute, stirring well. Add the chicken stock, cream and tomato sauce. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium –low and cook for 15 minutes.

Cook the pasta in boiling water according to the directions on the package. Drain well and return to the pot.

Pour the sauce over the pasta and cook, stirring over medium heat, for three more minutes until the sauce is absorbed. Add the Parmesan cheese, truffle oil and remaining parsley. Toss well, and serve. Season with the salt and pepper.   

About Festa Italiana

Festa Italiana takes place at Henry W. Maier Festival Park (Summerfest grounds) on Milwaukee’s lakefront.  The festival runs Thursday, July 19 to Sunday, July 22.

Celebrating its 35th anniversary, Festa Italiana is the largest Italian event of its kind in America today.  The Festival began in 1978 for the purpose of reuniting an Italian community torn apart by urban renewal projects and was the first ethnic festival in Milwaukee. Today, several ethic festivals are celebrated on Milwaukee’s lakefront and the city is now widely known as the City of Festivals.  Through the dedication of more than 2,000 volunteers, the annual Festa Italiana has become a favorite family event to Milwaukee and surrounding areas.  This year, Festa will feature even more new attractions, exciting entertainment, delicious food, Italian history and family-filled events as it celebrates its 35th anniversary. Please follow Festa Italiana on Twitter @FestaMKE and become a fan of Festa Italiana on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/festaitalianamilwaukee.  For more information on the festival, please visit www.FestaItaliana.com or call 414-223-2808. 

Festa Italiana is sponsored in part by MillerCoors, Spiked Island, BP Team U.S.A. Experience fueled by Invigorate, Potawatomi Bingo Casino, International Autos Group, LoDuca Bros., Inc., Piggly Wiggly, Major Goolsby’s, Pyramax Bank, Catholic Financial Life, The Bartolotta Restaurant Group, Red Gold, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Oldies 95.7. 

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