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mesaSteeler
02-21-2010, 11:25 PM
Rico's Restaurant draws on traditional Tuscan tastes
Buzz up!
By Pam Starr, FOR THE PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Cuisine: Italian
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/ae/s_667855.html

Hours: Lunch: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays. Dinner: 3:30-10 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 3:30-11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

Entree price range: $18.50-$43.95

Notes: Major credit cards accepted. Handicapped accessible. Reservations required for parties of six or more. Private patio for smokers. Full bar and more than 250 selections of wine, with more than 3,500 bottles of wine available.

Address: 1 Rico Lane, Ross

Details: 412-931-1989 or www.ricos.biz
About the writer

Denny DeLuca, executive chef of Rico's Restaurant in Ross, is very particular about the people he hires.

"I usually don't hire guys out of culinary school," says DeLuca, 56, who has been the head chef at Rico's for 30 years. "I like to hire them right off the streets and teach them the way it's supposed to be done. Rico knows every aspect of fine dining -- how to pick seafood, how to treat employees and customers. I wanted to learn from the best. Rico taught me everything."

He is referring to Rico Lorenzini, owner of the popular, 300-seat restaurant that sits high atop a hill close off Bab**** Boulevard. The native of Tuscany, Italy, learned how to cook at an early age in his uncle's restaurant before immigrating to Pittsburgh in 1958.

"I was a chef in Turin," Lorenzini, 72, says. "I never went to school for this. I was a chef in Mt. Washington for 20 years before I opened Rico's in 1979."

Through the years, Lorenzini has stayed true to his Northern Italian roots and never wavered from traditional Italian dishes. His menu is a comforting one for diners looking for classic Italian entrees, such as veal piccatta, scaloppini, Romano, parmigiana, Milanese and fontinella.

The seafood served at Rico's is flown in daily from a variety of places depending on the season. There's poached Norwegian salmon, Coho salmon with lump crabmeat, broiled Boston scallops, broiled South African rock lobster tail and filet of lemon sole.

Rico's offers only four pasta entrees, including linguine with clam sauce and fettuccine alfredo. The menu rarely changes but they do have daily lunch and dinner specials. Ingredients usually come from the Strip District, and everything is made to order.

"We get quite a bit of special requests, and a lot of repeat customers will come into the kitchen and ask me to make them something different," he says. "I run recipes by Rico before serving them. Rico is real big on not masking ingredients. He is extremely dedicated to quality here and insists on freshness. That's why he's so successful."

Both DeLuca and Lorenzini are proud of the famous and not-so-famous customers who have dined at Rico's over the years. The Beach Boys and Johnny Carson have eaten there. Many Pittsburgh Penguins players have enjoyed Rico's. Three Pittsburgh Steelers head coaches -- Chuck Noll, Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin -- have dined here, as well as several former and current players and the Rooney clan.

"I am a fanatic Steelers fan," says DeLuca, who lives in Carnegie with his wife, Kitty, and three children. "I love going to the games, and I have a room in my house that is a shrine to the Steelers."

DeLuca got his start in the culinary field by working at DeLuca's Restaurant in the Strip District when he was a kid. His father, Vince, owned the place, and DeLuca went there every weekend and put in his time along with the rest of the family. DeLuca was raised in Brookline and graduated from South Hills High in 1971.

"I fell in love with cooking," he says. "All of my aunts, uncles and cousins used to go to my grandmother's kitchen and cook homemade cannolis, raviolis and pizzelles."

The best part of being a chef, for DeLuca, is that he has the freedom to express himself through food. He doesn't write anything down -- the recipes are all in his head.

"I can be extremely creative here," DeLuca says. "I enjoy it when people call me out to the table and ask me to make something different, and I have to come up with new stuff instantly."

Even though Lorenzini has been working in kitchens all his life, he has no plans to retire.

"I am here every day at 10 a.m.," says Lorenzini with a smile. "It's fun."

(Looks like an interesting recipe I'll have to give it a try this week. - mesa)

Mahi Mahi Ratatouille Style

Executive chef Denny DeLuca chose to share his popular Mahi Mahi Ratatouille style entree with Cooking Class. The apricot preserves and brandy in this dish gives it a slightly fruity flavor that blends beautifully with the vegetables. DeLuca says it's very important not to flour the fish until you're ready to cook it.

"Flour can draw the juices out," he cautions. "Don't flour until you're ready to put it into the hot oil."

DeLuca is also a strong believer in searing seafood on the outside, then letting it simmer in the sauce.

"This dish gives a great Hawaiian flavor," he says. "This is my own creation that we run as a special."

• Vegetable oil -- enough to cover the bottom of a saute pan about 1/4-inch deep

• 4 pieces (4 ounces each) mahi mahi

• 1 cup flour

• 3/4 cup sweet red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces

• 1 garlic clove

• 3/4 cup zucchini, 1-inch pieces, skin on

• 3/4 cup prepared apricot preserves

• 2-3 tablespoons apricot brandy (optional)

• 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

• 1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

• 1 cup chicken stock (as needed)

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

• 1/2 cup green peas

Pour the vegetable oil in the saute pan and heat over medium high heat. Dredge the fish in flour. Add the peices to the saute pan after the oil is hot. The oil should be hot enough to sear the fish on first side.

Turn the fish after 3-4 minutes.

Add red peppers pieces and the garlic clove.

After 3-4 more minutes, drain the oil and add the zucchini, apricot preserves, brandy, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco sauce, salt, pepper and 1/2 cup chicken stock. Add more chicken stock while the fish is cooking, as needed

When the fish is ready -- after about 5 more minutes -- add the peas and let the sauce reduce to the desired consistency. Place the fish on two plates and put mixture on top with remaining sauce.

Makes 2 servings.

mesaSteeler
02-22-2010, 09:26 PM
Well folks I just gone done making and dining on Mahi Mahi Ratatouille Style (see above). An excellent recipe. For those of you who don't like fish I think you would like this one. Very tasty and a definite keeper. It's also easy and quick to make.

GBMelBlount
02-22-2010, 09:46 PM
It sounds delicious Mesa.

I am going to see if I can get the wife there on Saturday.

I will order this......however, I will be lucky if I can get my wife to even taste it.

She is not a big fish fan...or even a little fish fan for that matter. :chuckle:

mesaSteeler
02-22-2010, 11:30 PM
It sounds delicious Mesa.

I am going to see if I can get the wife there on Saturday.

I will order this......however, I will be lucky if I can get my wife to even taste it.

She is not a big fish fan...or even a little fish fan for that matter. :chuckle:

Well in order to help you convince her perhaps this will help.
1. Mahi Mahi, being a white fish, is not a strong tasting fish like swordfish is.
2. The recipe has no "fishy" taste at all and is a very interesting blend of flavors.
3. If there is any recipe a non fish eater would like it would be this one.

If I lived in the area I'd make it a point try this restaurant. I'm certainly going to make the recipe again.

Bon Appétit

GBMelBlount
02-23-2010, 08:38 AM
Thanks Mesa,

Hopefully that will have persuaded her to try a bite of mine. :chuckle:

AllD
02-23-2010, 08:44 AM
Mahi is also the best fish to use in fish tacos. Use soft flour tortillas, terryaki, guacamole, sour cream, finely chopped lettuce and fresh tomatoes. Go light on the cheese. Much less grease than chicken or beef and has a better texture,

Vincent
02-23-2010, 10:25 AM
I like what these food threads bring to Locker Room.

Great find Mesa!!

Vincent
02-24-2010, 10:33 AM
A friend from the Burgh says "You cannot speak of Rico’s without mentioning its appetizer specialty – “Angel Hair with Pignoli Nuts”. Heavy in cream and butter with a hint of nutmeg – fantastic."

GBMelBlount
02-27-2010, 01:37 PM
Well in order to help you convince her perhaps this will help.
1. Mahi Mahi, being a white fish, is not a strong tasting fish like swordfish is.
2. The recipe has no "fishy" taste at all and is a very interesting blend of flavors.
3. If there is any recipe a non fish eater would like it would be this one.

If I lived in the area I'd make it a point try this restaurant. I'm certainly going to make the recipe again.

Bon Appétit

Bad news Mesa...

The wife has been a little under the weather the past few days and it doesn't look like she is up for going to Rico's today. Hopefully we will get there next Saturday...:thumbsup:

Vincent
02-27-2010, 02:40 PM
Maybe Mrs GB needs the visuals...

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2010-02-18/0221-classmain-a.jpg

Chef Denny Deluca cooks Mahi Mahi Ratatouille Style at Rico's Restaurant in Ross.
Philip G. Pavely I Tribune-Review

http://files.pittsburghlive.com/photos/2010-02-18/0221-classdish-a.jpg

Mahi Mahi Ratatouille Style is on the menu at Rico's Restaurant in Ross.
Philip G. Pavely I Tribune-Review

GBMelBlount
03-06-2010, 07:32 PM
It was fabulous Mesa. Thanks. :thumbsup:

Wife had a small taste and that was enough for her...

Although she had no problem finishing off the South African Rock Lobster Tail. :chuckle:

Polamalu Princess
03-06-2010, 07:48 PM
Wow! Thank you for the heads up on the great food. GB and I loved it! It was a wonderful night out for us.

I am still not a fish eater, but give me that great lobster and I am a happy wife!!