Thursday, October 29, 2009

Local Flavor: Citris Grill

Last week I got to spend some time with two of my oldest girlfriends. We met up at Citris Grill, an unassuming restaurant in the same complex as Cafe Rio on 3300 S. I had been there before, but hadn't really paid much attention to how delightful it is.

We started our meal with the Black and White Hummus. The "white" hummus was made with pinenuts, rosemary and white beans. It was perfectly paired with lightly toasted, seasoned pita triangles. The "black" hummus was black beans with cilantro and lime, served with colorful tortilla chips. Both were tasty when you ate them separately, but the combination was almost even better.

For my entree, I ordered the Butternut Squash Fettuccine. It was so delicious, I never wanted to reach the bottom of my plate! A light garlic cream sauce, bits of tender butternut squash, portobello mushrooms and tomatoes combined to make this vegetarian dish so satisfying I never missed the chicken I considered adding. And did I mention that the pasta was obviously made in-house? Because it was.

But by far the nicest thing about the Citris Grill was the option of two potion sizes for many entrees; petite and hearty. I ordered the petite, and a good thing, too! I certainly couldn't have eaten more than what I was served -- I think you would have to share the hearty portion with someone else.

Pros: reasonably priced, choice of portion size, friendly wait staff, delicious food, unassuming yet expansive menu with choices that are all so appealing it will take you half an hour to decide what you want to order

Cons: parking near Cafe Rio can be something of a nightmare on weekends

The Verdict: Definitely gotta get you some of this! If you're in the Canyon Rim area, be sure to check this one out.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Authentic Italian Lasagna

I have had the pleasure this week of having a real, live Italian staying in my house.

My husband served his mission in Italy and made some great friends, one of whom has been our houseguest for the past week. It has been a pleasure to brush up on my rusty Italian language skills and learn this fabulous recipe.

Marco went to culinary school, but this is a family recipe, and Marco makes lasagna just like his father does. It's a simple recipe, consisting of two sauces, pasta, and parmesan cheese. I hope you find it as lovely as we did!

Marco's Lasagna


1 1/2 9 oz. pkgs lasagna noodles (the kind that are rolled flat)
parmesan cheese

-Ragu- (red sauce)
olive oil
1 carrot, finely diced
1 stalk celery, finely diced
1/2 large onion, finely diced
1 lb. ground beef
3 large cans pureed Italian (San Marzano) tomatoes - you can find these at specialty stores like Granatos
salt and pepper to taste

-Béchamel- (white sauce)
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. flour
1 quart/4 c. milk
a dash of nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste
salt and pepper


In a large saucepan or pot, sauteé onions together with carrot and celery. Add ground beef and cook until browned through. Add in tomato puree and let simmer until veggies are cooked through and sauce is thickened -- this will splatter, so beware and wear an apron! Season to your taste.
(This also makes a LOT of ragu, so use what you need for tonight's lasagna, and freeze the rest for use when you make it again.)

In a separate saucepan, combine melt butter over low/med-low heat. Add in flour and stir. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened, lightly golden and mixture no longer smells like raw flour. Add in milk all at once and stir or whisk to combine and remove lumps. Add nutmeg, salt and pepper. Let sauce simmer, stirring occasionally until thickened (it should be thick enough that it coats the back of your wooden spoon).

Once sauces are ready, begin assembling lasagna:
Put down a layer of ragu in a 9x13" pan.
Layer uncooked noodles on top. Break pasta where necessary to help it fit into the pan.
Then layer ragu, then bechamel, then a generous amount of parmesan cheese.
Repeat until pan is full (or you run out of pasta).
On top of the last layer of pasta, spread bechamel and top very generously with parmesan.

Bake at 350 for 20 to 25 minutes, or until pasta is tender. Enjoy!