Despite an odd location, with a corner gas station as a neighbor, chef-owner Vincent Desiderio’s cooking has been bringing customers back to Linguine’s (5380 Genesee St., Bowmansville, 683-6542) for 14 years.
Desiderio’s takes on red-sauce Italian classics and other Italian dishes including Gnocchi Romano ($16.95), a dish of house-made potato or ricotta gnocchi served in a tomatoey Romano cream sauce with housemade Italian sausage. (It’s not to be confused with gnocchi romana, a baked gnocchi “in the style of Rome.”)
To make it, he sautés garlic and onion and crushed plum tomatoes, adds a pinch of black pepper, and lets it reduce. Then he adds a couple ounces of heavy cream, and two or three ounces of grated Romano cheese, and lets it thicken up over the fire. “While you’re doing that, your gnocchi are cooking,” he said. “When the gnocchi are done, they go into the bowl, with the sauce, and our Italian sausage cut into pinwheels.”
The chef said his inspiration for the dish came from the years he spent cooking with his father, who owned Desiderio’s on William Street before it was demolished to make way for a highway on-ramp. “My father’s restaurant through the ’70s and ’80s, that’s where I got my start.”
His Gnocchi Romano has been so popular that even though it’s a blackboard special, it never gets erased. “It’s been on our menu probably 13 of the 14 years we’ve been here,” Desiderio said. As far as customer favorites go, “It’s right up there at the top.”
FOODIE FIND: Beer for Cats 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday. Mr. Goodbar, 1110 Elmwood Ave. Pay $10 for two 10-ounce Belgian-style drafts, and the money goes to the Ten Lives Club cat adoption and rescue organization. 882-4000.