When it comes to offal I’m one of the least squeamish people around, gladly gobbling everything from Southern fried chitterlings to Chinese lamb face salad. Friends often call me the Andrew Zimmern of Queens. That’s high praise, but there are some things even I can’t abide, like the coppery tasting blocks of blood often found in Chinese soups. A can get behind a savory morcilla enriched with rice and spice and I like a good British black pudding. And then there’s sanguinaccio.
Sanguinaccio, is quite literally an Italian pork blood pudding, sweet one enriched with chocolate. And there’s only one place to get it in Queens Ornella Trattoria Italiana. Ornella’s owned by the voluble Giuseppe Viterale. A couple of years ago I met Giuseppe at his restaurant to sample casu marzu, a Sardinian delicacy that consists of a wheel of sheep’s milk cheese teeming with maggots. Sadly he was out of the blood pudding that day.
So I was very pleased at a recent press luncheon when Giuseppe served up sanguinaccio for dessert. It was rich and mousse-like with a deep chocolate flavor with an undertone of blood balanced by orange zest. All in all, quite nice. I recently learned that the dessert is associated with St. Joseph’s Day, which falls on March 19. I may just stop by Ornella to toast my namesake with a bowl of sanguinaccio next month.
Ornella Trattoria Italiana. 29-17 23rd Ave., 718-777-9477