Thursday, March 26, 2015

Li'l Rizzo's Declares National Li'l Rizzo's World Famous House Salad Day!

Today, March 26th, is actually Make Up Your Own Holiday Day. So Li'l Rizzo's is declaring National Li'l Rizzo's World Famous House Salad Day! Anyone that has tried our amazing salads will tell you, it's definitely worthy of it's own holiday. It didn't get the title of "World Famous" for nothing. Our Lake of the Ozarks Italian restaurant just wouldn't be the same without it!

What Makes Our Salad So Special? 

At Li'l Rizzo's, we use only the freshest quality ingredients. To make our "world famous" salad, we start with crispy iceberg and romaine lettuce. Next we mix in some diced red peppers and green onions. Then comes both provel and parmesan cheeses. Finally we toss the mixture in our delicious house dressing!

You can enjoy our salad on the side of your meal or as the meal itself. You can even add some chicken if you like. Our salads come in small, medium or large. Take it to-go or dine-in at either of our Lake of the Ozarks restaurant locations. Plus when you order a Li'l Rizzo's World Famous House Salad, you'll also get our fluffy, warm from the oven rolls.

In addition to the amazing Lake of the Ozarks Italian food, Li'l Rizzo's offers a great dining experience in a unique Italian atmosphere. Our restaurant is the perfect place to spend your lunch break or bring the family for dinner. Come celebrate the newest holiday with us...Li'l Rizzo's World Famous Salad Day. Or make up your own holiday to go with your favorite Li'l Rizzo's menu item!

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Friday, March 20, 2015

It's National Ravioli Day!

It's National Ravioli Day and Li'l Rizzo's Italian Restaurant offers some of the BEST Italian food at the Lake of the Ozarks. In honor of this day, we would like to explain more about "ravioli" and a few of the most common types you'll see in Italian restaurants at Lake of the Ozarks and across the country.

What is Ravioli? 

The word "ravioli" refers to all kinds of filled Italian pasta where a thin layer of dough wraps around a filling. Ravioli are either boiled and dished out with sauce, or served in broth. The pasta layer, generally egg-based and rolled into a thin sheet, serves as more than an enclosure - it overextends around the filling and binds with the sauces or the broth. Common fillings may include meat, cheese, vegetables and vary greatly between the countless regional recipes. Special types of deep fried sweet ravioli also exist - a long known tradition.

Types of Ravioli

Ravioli gets its shapes, names, and fillings based upon the regions of Italy. Here are the most common types:

1. Agnolotti - These are made my layering two sheets of dough and cutting out a circle or square or by folding a circle or square of dough in half. Agnolotti are usually a larger size and typically filled with braised beef, ham spinach, parmigiano and egg, and served with gravy from the beef.

2. Anolini - These are normally medium sized pieces and generally round or half-circle shaped. These normally have a meat-based filling and are served in broth or in a sauce made from beef.

3. Cappelletti - Larger than "tortellini", cappelletti are obtained by playing the filling in the middle of squares of pasta dough, then by folding the dough diagonally to form a triangle, and by wrapping it around a finger until the corners overlap and get pressed together. The name "cappelletti" means 'small hat' in Italian. They generally contain different kinds of meat such as pork or veal and parmigiano. These are normally doused in chicken broth.

4. Casoncelli - These are medium sized and generally half-circle shaped or like a candy wrapper. The fillings vary based on the area in which they are made. Sometimes filled with veal, sausage, rasin, spices such as cinnamon, nutmeg, or pepper, parmigiano, and breadcrumbs. Most likely to be served with butter and sage.

5. Fagottini/Sacchetti - More of a modern creation, their shape is obtained by closing squares of pasta to form small bags around meat-based or vegetarian fillings.

6. Pansotti - Quite large, pansotti are made by cutting squares or circles of dough and folding them in half. The name means "big bellies". Traditionally, the Genoa-style pansotti are filled with ricotta, parmigiano, endive, turnip and garlic, and served with a sauce made with walnut, milk and bread.

7. Ravioli - Ravioli are usually square and are made by layering one sheet of pasta dough, small lumps of filling, and another sheet of pasta dough. A common variety is filled with spinach, ricotta and parmigiano, a type of filling which is called 'di magro.' This name was introduced by the Catholics to indicate that the filling doesn't contain meat and this dish is allowed to be consumed during Fridays in Lent. Another variety is the Neapolitan-style, filled with ricotta, parmigiano, parsley and egg, and generally served with tomato sauce and parmigiano. Ravioli with meat or fish-based fillings are also popular and can even be served toasted, like one of our favorite appetizers at Li'l Rizzo's.

8. Tortelli - Tortelli are commonly square and flat, but may also be round or half-circle shaped. In some cases they may look like a large tortellini. Tuscan-style tortelli have a meat-based filling and are typically cooked in the oven instead of being fried in oil.

9. Tortellini - Quite small, tortellini have a shape similar to "cappelletti" except usually being made starting from a circle of pasta instead of a square. The filling is usually meat-based and commonly served with tomato sauce or in meat broth.

10. Tortelloni - These are the larger version of tortellini or cappelletti, but also may be a larger version of flat tortelli. Having numerous types of fillings, both meat-based and vegetarian, these also commonly have a mushroom-based filling. Tortelloni are served with butter and sage.

Try Li'l Rizzo's Toasted Ravioli appetizer today! Get them for half-price during Happy Hour from 4-6 PM. Our menu also features a delicious Tortellini Alfredo with bacon, peas and mushrooms in our thick cream sauce. Come celebrate National Ravioli Day with us at the BEST Italian restaurant at the Lake of the Ozarks! See you soon!

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

8 Italian Foods You Won't Find in Italy

Italian food is a favorite around the world! However, those "Italian dishes" can vary a lot. When the first wave of Italian immigrants came to America, they couldn't get good-quality olive oil, the right produce or arborio rice, however, they had plenty of cheese and meat. They built on traditional dishes to create new ones with what they had available. The result was a hearty, delicious cuisine that has never seen the light of day in the land that inspired it. An article on features some Italian foods you won't find in Italy. However, you're sure to find these favorites at your Lake of the Ozarks Italian restaurant!

1. Spaghetti and Meatballs

Spaghetti and meatballs are perhaps the most popular "Italian" dish outside of Italy. However, it is very rare to find spaghetti pasta served with meatballs in Italy. Meatballs are almost always served on their own. The most popular theory holds that the recipe was invented by poor Italian immigrants who wanted to make a satisfying dish using cheaper cuts of meat. However, some food historians believe that prior to Italian immigration to the US, small meatballs were sometimes served in Southern Italian baked pasta dishes.

2. Marina Sauce

Pasta alla marinara, "mariner style" pasta, does exist in Italy. However, it is typically made with shellfish, olives or both. In the US, the term "marinara" refers to a tomato-based red sauce. In Italian-American cooking, this popular sauce is slathered on everything from pasta to meat!

3. Garlic Bread 

Garlic bread is a staple at almost any Italian restaurant in America. However, you won't find this type of bread in Italy. Their bread is almost always baked plain and served without butter.

4. Pepperoni Pizza 

The pizza toppings you'll find in Italy aren't exactly the same as what you would find here in the US. Potato slices, anchovies, sausages, broccoli rabe, corn, prosciutto are all items you're likely to find on pizza in Italy. Pepperoni, however, is not among them. This beloved topping is thought to have been inspired by spicy dry salamis from Southern Italy and Apulia from Calabria. Plus, the word "peperoni" refers to peppers in Italian, not salami. It should also be noted that authentic Italian pizza is far less cheesy than our pizza at the Lake of the Ozarks. But lets face it, Americans love cheese and our pizza just wouldn't be the same without it!

5. Italian Dressing 

While the name might imply an Italian origin, this tangy, bell pepper-and-herb flecked salad dressing is actually American. "Dressing" as Americans know it, doesn't exist in Italy. Their salads are usually topped with oil and vinegar or sometimes just simply oil.

6. Chicken Parmesan

In Italy, parmigiana is created with eggplants, not chicken or other meats. Italian immigrants added deep-fried meat cutlets or meatballs and doubled the mozzarella to create this popular Italian-American dish.

7. Mozzarella Sticks 

This heavenly, melty, crunchy appetizer comes straight from, well America. If you're looking for mozzarella sticks in Italy, you're not going to have much luck!

8. Shrimp Scampi 

Italian words or dialects are easily misused by non Italian-speaking descendants of Italian immigrants, which could be the reason for the popular Italian-American dish "Shrimp Scampi." This dish consists of large shrimp sauteed with roasted garlic, green onions and tomatoes served over angel hair pasta. Most likely, this dish is a descendant of an Italian recipe that involves langoustines sauteed in wine, olive oil, onion and garlic. Langoustines are a type of tiny lobster, called "scampi" in Italian. Italian-American cooks adapted the recipe, but kept the old name.

So if you're craving any of these "Italian" dishes, don't hop on a plane to Italy. Instead, head on over to Li'l Rizzo's right here at the Lake. We can satisfy your craving for these popular dishes and more. With two convenient Lake of the Ozarks restaurant locations, Li'l Rizzo's is the perfect place to dine for lunch or dinner. Come by and see us soon!

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Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How do you REALLY pronounce Mostaccioli?

Pasta is a favorite among people around the world. Various pasta dishes are served in Italian restuarants all over, but the origin of some of the words can make them hard for us to pronounce. Let's take the word "Mostaccioli" for example. How do you really pronounce this delicious type of pasta? Li'l Rizzo's is here to shed some light on the confusion!

Pronunciation of Mostaccioli 

The dictionary pronunciation is: mô stä′c̸hē ō′lē. However, this version may be a little easier to understand:

Definition of Mostaccioli 

Pasta resembling a short tube with slanted ends. It is a type of penne pasta which resembles ziti. The pasta also somewhat resembles little mourstaches.

Origin of Mostaccioli 

In Italian, mostaccioli is the plural of mostacciolo, cake bun, from Latin mustāceum, cake made with must, from mustum.

Description of Mostaccioli 

Mostaccioli is actually a type of penne pasta. In Italy, penne are produced in two main variants: "penne lisce" (smooth) and "penne rigate" (furrowed). A wider version of penne is called "pennoni" meaning "big quills." In the United States, a slightly larger version of penne is called mostaccioli, meaning "little mustache" in some Italian dialects. Mostaccioli can be either smooth or ridged.

So how many of you actually knew how to pronounce mostaccioli before reading this blog? Or even what mostaccioli is for that matter?  Well, now you know! You are ready to head on over to the BEST Italian restaurant at Lake of the Ozarks and order our delicious mostaccioli! Li'l Rizzo's has two locations for your dining pleasure. Stop by and see us soon!

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