In the Kitchen: Sorrento Ristorante
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Italy is one of the most dominant and influential countries in world cuisine and has been for more than a century. For the people of Vaughan and their neighbours, that long history means fortune smiles upon us as we have one of the highest concentrations of Italian residents and restaurants outside of the old country.
At Sorrento Ristorante, owner and chef Nino Cioffi takes inspiration from the cuisine specific to the small-town from which the restaurant takes its name.  A town of 17,000 on the Amalfi Coast, Sorrento is a destination for tourists, who come for the beaches—and the food. It features many of the traditional foods we associate with Italy, such as pasta, with a regional twist influenced by the ingredients caught in and grown along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
Cioffi, who comes from a long line of chefs, opened Sorrento in 2011 with his wife Dominika.
The pair split their time between York Region and Italy, where they own another restaurant, Bougain Villea.
Cioffi's menu is fluid and changes based on the best ingredients available.
In addition to the set menu, there are up to 10 specials on any given night. Cioffi says he likes to keep his recipes “simple” —using a few fresh ingredients prepared in a way to best highlight their flavours. Think fresh pasta and gnocchi combined with vegetables such as zucchini or eggplant; imported cheeses including mozzarella di bufala and parmigiano reggiano; fresh seafood served as a simple yet elegant ceviche or simmered in tomatoes and wine; and, for dessert, homemade gelato.
Travellers who have had the good fortune to go to Italy may tell you about how the architecture and the art or the natural beauty of the mountains and beaches—but inevitably will speak passionately about the food. Sorrento Ristorante can give a taste of Amalfi Coast in your own backyard and offer a familiar Italian cuisine with a fresh twist.

Sorrento Ristorante
965 Major Mackenzie Dr., W., Maple

Spaghetti Nerano
Chef Nino Cioffi offers his take on a simple pasta dish typical to Sorrento, Italy and his menu at Sorrento Ristorante.
Serves 2.

100 g (3.5 oz) spaghetti
2 zucchini, thinly sliced
oil for frying
15 mL (1 tbsp) extra virgin olive oil
black pepper
fresh basil leaves, chopped, to taste, plus extra for garnish
30 g (1 oz) butter
30 g (1 oz) parmigiano reggiano, grated, plus extra for serving

Cook spaghetti as per package instructions.
Heat 1/2 cm (1/4 inch) of oil in a skillet and add zucchini, cooking until lightly coloured.
In another large skillet, heat butter and olive oil, add chopped basil, zucchini, spaghetti, parmigiano reggiano, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
Plate, top with extra cheese and a basil leaf. Buon appetito!


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