Monday, April 4, 2011

Restaurant Review: Lo Conte & Homemade Italian Meals!

Saturday night (before my horrible sickness took over) Dave and I headed into the North End to meet our friend Kendalle and Steve for a celebratory dinner at Lo Conte.  Kendalle and Steve got engaged (at this restaurant) and we've been planning this meet-up for weeks.  
Located right on Salem Street, Lo Conte has amazing Italian food at a decent price.  We got tons of appetizers before I decided I would review the place, so sorry no pictures.  When the entrees came out, I knew I had to document it!  The food looked too good to not share it with you.  I missed Kendalle's meal, but took pictures of Dave's, Steve's and my own, from left to right.
Dave got the Gnocchi Spezzatino which was awesome!  I stole some bites.
Steve ordered the Lobster Rav.  I stole one of the ravioli's and it was delicious.  I usually like lobster rav with a cream sauce, but this was equally as good.
And I ordered the Saltinbocca which was awesome!  But I was so full from all the apps that I only ate one chicken breast.
 And for dessert, we all shared the Tirmuisu, Dave's favorite!  It was quite a fun and filling night! 

My carbo-loaded Saturday was perfect fuel for my planned long run on Sunday.  Unfortunately, I barely slept that night and woke up Sunday and realized it would be impossible for me to run.  I was completely stuffed up, developed a terrible cough and knew running was not in the cards for me.  After wasting most of Sunday resting, I decided to get cooking around 5pm.  Dave was a very helpful sous chef since I didn't want to get him sick!  

I decided I wanted to make a dish I saw in Cuisine at Home, a magazine I looked through at my cousin's house in DC.  I couldn't wait to try the Lightened Bolognese.

This made so much food!  We definitely have leftovers : )! It was a hearty meal and I enjoyed every bite.  Even if I had trouble smelling/tasting it since I'm sick : (
Lightened Bolognese
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. ground turkey breast
8oz bulk Italian sausage
1/2 cup diced onion
1/2 cup diced carrot
1/2 cup diced celery
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 cup 2% cottage cheese
1/4 cup tomato paste
1 can (28oz) Italian style diced tomatoes in juice
1 cup dry red wine
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp each dried oregano and basil
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 - 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 cup low fat cream cheese
1 cup chopped fresh parsley

1)Heat oil in a large sauté pan or Dutch oven over medium-high. Add turkey breast and sausage breaking into smaller chunks; cook until browned.
2)Process onion, carrot, celery and garlic in a food processor until minced; add to browned meat. Cook vegetables until softened, 5 minutes. 

3)Process cottage cheese in food processor until smooth, 2 minutes; stir into meat mixture in pan.
4)Stir in tomato paste, cook 1 minute. Add tomatoes, wine, vinegar, oregano, basil, salt and pepper flake

 Here is a picture of that four step process:
Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer sauce for 40-45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cream cheese, stirring until melted, then stir in parsley and some parm.
While we were cooking, we also made these mozzarella stuffed meatballs I saw on Picky Palate. I used ground turkey and some leftover ground sausage in this dish and it was so flavorful.  Definitely a winning dish in my book : ) And now I don't have to cook tonight- SCORE!

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground lean turkey
4 ounces of ground sausage (optional)
1 large egg
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs ( I used a little more)
1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons minced garlic
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon yellow mustard (I used dijon)
1 teaspoon hot sauce, like Tabasco (I used sricha)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Ten 1-inch Mozzarella balls
1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. and grease 9×13-inch baking dish with oil.
2.  Place beef, egg, onion, bread crumbs, Parmesan, milk, garlic, Worcestershire, mustard, hot sauce, salt, pepper and garlic salt into a large mixing bowl, stirring until just combined.  
Take 1/4 cup beef mixture and press into center with your thumb to make room for cheese ball.  Place cheese in middle then with hands enclose the cheese with the beef, making sure the cheese is completely covered.  Place meatballs into prepared baking dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until cooked through.
Don't be afraid if the cheese pops out!
3.  Serve over top your favorite pasta or inside a warm roll for delicious meatball sandwich.

 Oh and I made a Banana Oatmeal "Cake" and then cut it into pieces for the weeks breakfasts.  
Inspired by Ashley at Edible Perspective, I used Oats, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Two Mashed Bananas, Skim Milk, Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar, Baking Powder and One Egg.  And no I didn't measure anything.  Pretty tasty!

Happy Monday! Hope you all feel better than me!


  1. those stuffed meatballs look amazing and so does your Italian feast at Lo Conte's! (never been!!)

  2. Will definitely have to check out Lo Conte, I have not heard of it and kind of love that about it! Your home cooked food looks delicious, especially those meatballs!

  3. Hey BRian and I were in the North End Saturday night too...At Antico Forno (also on Salem st!) funny. Your meals look delicious...LOVE the North End.

    Sucks about your cough!! I actually woke up today with a scratchy throat and its gradually becomming worse through the day...getting a little stuffy and! I am downing Vit C and echinacea like its my job!

    Hope your feeling better!

  4. I love, love, love Italian food! Everything looks so delicious, especially the lobster ravioli. Pefect pre-run food. (And you and Dave are too cute!)

    I'm so sorry your sick. Keep resting, eating hearty meals, and taking care. You'll be back up and running in no time!

  5. I hope you feel better soon!!!!!!
    The gnocchi at the restaurant have me drooling. And, of course, everything you made looks SO wonderful including that banana cake.

  6. Wow! That is my dream of a weekend of food. It all looks so delicious!

  7. I've heard of that place! The food looks amazing - Italian food is totally my comfort food, I love it. All of your meals look incredible too - mozzarella stuffed meatballs, wow! I want you to come cook for me :)
    I'm sorry you're not feeling well, Lizzy, but you have plenty of time to recover! Don't stress and focus on getting your body back to normal!

  8. I hope you feel better soon!

  9. You never cease to amaze me with your cooking skills - here you are feeling sick and you still whip up a meal that's more gourmet than anything I make on my best day!! Can I please come move in with you??

    In all seriousness, I'm so sorry to hear that you're sick. Rest up and try not to stress. You still have lots of time to get better before the marathon. I'm hoping that you'll feel 100% in just a few days! I'm getting so excited to cheer you on!!

  10. Love those meatballs! Definitely gonna have to make those soon. I've tried freezing mozzarella before frying and baking and it helps maintain its shape well.

  11. We don't go to the North End enough - it's such a fun vibe!
    Also, that's a really impressive amount of cooking for someone that's sick. I usually just lie on the couch and each random stuff around the house (or call in for delivery). :)

  12. I need to try those mozzarella stuffed meatballs, those look UNREAL! I am also a huge fan of Bolognese sauce, but it's so heavy so thank you for sharing this lightened up version.

    I hope you are feeling better!!!

  13. Yum! I could totally go for some of those meatballs!

  14. Oh boy, those pictures make me HUNGRY! Especially the moz. stuffed meatballs, look delicious

  15. O my goodness... you made me sooo hungry. I am new to reading your blog. But I HAD to follow once I saw running and food recipes all on the same page!

  16. This is really a great site to known a some of delicious Italian recipe. I am thankful to you for informing about Lo Conte hotel which serve these amazing Italian food at a decent price. Truly, it is perfect place to enjoy the Italian dish.