Eating Italy

Sink your teeth into Broders’ Cucina Italiana’s sausage sandwich and cannoli

There’s a small gathering place in Lynnhurst that’s like a mating of Norwegian austerity and Italian warmth. The interior of Broders’ Cucina Italiana is full of blonde wood and light, making it feel like a visit to cloister, except at this monastery the meditations would be about piquant puttanesca, spicy Italian sausages, chewy bruschetta and a variety of fragrant, creamy cheeses culled from the length, breadth and soul of Italy.

Broders’ flaxen wooden shelves and glass counters are filled with delicacies you wouldn’t be able to get at Cub with a bar of gold and a Berretta: artichoke tomato sauce, San Pellegrino sparkling orange drinks, Genoa salami, air-dried beef, bottles of olive oil from Italy looking every bit as regal as a Versace suit wrapped on Raoul Bova, and much more.

The union of Nordic interior and lo Stivale food and atmosphere is an uncontestable triumph; Broders is about to enter its 25th year of sating Southwest lovers of simple Italian deli fare.

Bite into the hot Italian sausage sandwich at Cucina Italiana and you taste victory (which does not smell like napalm, contrary to some reports) over bland Americanization of ethnic foods.

The locally made links are pure, lean Berkshire pork spiced with garlic and fennel (the hot links have a measured kick of ground red pepper added). They’re seared in a sauté pan so that there’s a nice brown color on the outside and then finished off in the oven.

The links are sliced and smothered in Broders’ luscious, beloved Sugo Betti.

Cucina Italiana’s Executive Chef, Clara Pivaral, explains just what Sugo Betti is: “That recipe for this sugo was handed down to [owner] Tom Broder by a friend of his – and their last name is Betti. So it’s sugo, meaning sauce in Italian – Sugo Betti. It’s a rich tomato sauce that we use with the sausage sandwich, we use it in our lasagnas, we use it to make our spaghetti and meatballs; it’s quite versatile.”

The whole production has flash-sautéed julienne red and green peppers and onions added to it and is then slathered inside a French baguette from the New French Bakery.

After chowing down on this feast-in-a-bun, make sure to choose a cannoli. You can go with the traditional or the chocolate-hazelnut. I wisely chose the latter (as a chocolate fiend is well advised to listen to the inner monster demanding dark delights).

Broders imports crisp mini shells from a traditional Italian bakery in New York and fills them with velvety, intense chocolate and ground hazelnuts.

Yes, it’s a bit like Nutella wrapped in a tiny cylinder of ice cream cone – and that’s what makes it so good.

It’s a marriage of flavors that has stood the test of time, as has Broders’ union of Nordic-looking decor and top-rate Italian fare and specialty items.

 

Broders’ Cucina Italiana

2308 W. 50th St., www.broders.com, 925-3113

M-Th, 11 a.m.-9 p.m., F, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Sa, 9 a.m.-10 p.m., Su, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.