Last week, we were invited to nebo to meet sister owners Christine and Carla Pallotta and to watch a cooking demonstration. Of course we were in, as we’re always up for learning about Boston restaurants and enjoying fabulous meals. I had been to nebo back when I worked at an office nearby, but it had been a couple years. And we were both psyched to see what it was all about!
Christine and Carla are sisters who actually grew up in Boston’s North End. They opened a successful hair salon together in Reading, Massachusetts, before deciding to open a restaurant that would feature their mother’s recipes. But since their mom didn’t actually have any of her recipes written down, they had to spend a lot of time in the kitchen with her, watching and measuring as she cooked.
They opened nebo (North End BOston) in 2005. The restaurant has exposed brick walls, an ultra sleek, modern interior and is located right near the Boston Garden, so it’s ideal for stopping in before or after a game or concert. Or any time, really! Christine and Carla are two amazing ladies who have wonderful complementary personalities for running a restaurant together. It’s easy to see how well they work together and had me and Chels both wondering if we could run a restaurant with our own sisters as well as they do.
Also, the bar is stocked full and ready!
Our favorite thing about nebo (besides the delicious food) is their kitchen is opened until 2 a.m., Thursday, Friday, and Saturday; how many times have we complained that restaurants are not open late enough in this city? Also, nebo features an additional 100% gluten-free menu, which is awesome news for everyone who has to watch their gluten intake. It’s tough to go out to eat when eating gluten-free, but 90% of nebo’s regular menu has been converted to gluten-free. So don’t forget to tell your gluten-free friends!
Carla and Christine planned a couple recipes ahead of time to cook for us. And they were the perfect We are not Martha recipes! Why? Because they were a) absolutely delicious and b) quick, simple, and perfect for entertaining. Carla and Christine shared the recipes with us and we’re sharing them with you. They’re so easy and call for basic ingredients that are often found in your kitchen anyway, you can (and should) make them tonight!
We started with Shrimp Buzara Style.
- 2 lbs. extra large srimp, deveined but not peeled
- 10 T olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1/2 C shallots, chopped
- Pinch of sea salt
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- 3/4 C white wine
- 1 T tomato paste
- 3/4 C water (or as needed)
- 1 T bread crumbs
- Chopped parsley
Rinse and dry shrimp. Pour 6 T olive oil in saute pan and place over medium heat. Add garlic to the oil so it sizzles. Add shallots and cook for one minute. Add salt and 1/2 of the wine; it will burn off as you stir constantly. Cook until shallots soften and add the rest of the wine. Bring to a fast boil and add water and a little more salt. Bring to a boil again and lower heat.
In a separate frying pan, pour the rest of the oil and set on high heat until very hot. Place shrimp in pan and cook until shells are pink but shrimp is not cooked through (turn shrimp over as necessary). While sauce is bubbling, add shrimp gently and coat. Add pepper flakes and cook for 1 minute. Add bread crumbs and continue cooking until shrimp are pink. Toss with parsley.
Of course, we dug in right away and the shrimp were absolutely delightful. It’s hard to believe that something so easy with so few ingredients can be this full-flavored, but it definitely has something to do with the freshness of all the ingredients. Carla and Christine said they use all fresh ingredients and rarely even use spices or dried herbs (because they prefer the fresh stuff!).
Then we watched Christine make Spaghettini alla Zingara. It’s an extremely fresh and simple dish. We were both so surprised by how quickly the dish was prepared!
- 1 lb. spaghettini
- 20 tri-colored cherry tomatoes (heirloom), halved
- 1/2 C black olives, pitted
- 3 T capers
- 1/2 clove garlic, chopped fine
- 1/2 C olive oil
Saute garlic in olive oil until softened. Add capers, olives, and tomatoes and saute until tomatoes are soft.
With the back of a wooden spoon, mush some of the tomatoes to flavor the oil.
Meanwhile, cook the spaghettini. When it’s done, toss in pan with the sauce.
How easy was that? And look how beautiful it is!
The two of us absolutely loved this and had about 3 servings each. And we’re even making it for a little gathering we’re having tomorrow evening. Yup, it was that delicious, we can’t wait to make it again. And since it was so easy, it’s the perfect party food.
Thank you so much to Christine, Carla for opening your beautiful kitchen to us for the afternoon and a big thank you nebo’s lovely PR manager Heather McCready for introducing us all! We’re convinced we found a new favorite restaurant.
Actually, we loved our lunch experience so much, we went back last night with Katie to try more of the menu. And yes, it’s been confirmed, nebo is way up there on our list of favorites. We had an absolutely amazing meal that consisted of their sweet sausage gnocchi, prosciutto and caramelized onion pizza, burrata, arancini, and lots more.
We’ll be back again very soon to try even more of the menu… I think we made it our 2010 goal to try every single item on there!
90 North Washington St.
Boston, MA 02114
[Sues and Chels]