On Thursday, May 9, I was part of a small media group that was invited to Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante at Disney Springs. The event was named Pasta Palooza, and it gave us a chance to learn about one of the signature pasta dishes at the restaurant.
If you haven’t yet visited Maria & Enzo’s, you need to check it out the next time you’re at Walt Disney World! They serve authentic Italian foods in an atmosphere that resembles an old fashioned airport terminal. There are several signature pasta dishes at Maria & Enzo’s. According to the Patina Restaurant Group’s Marketing Director Kyle Collins, “The signature pasta dishes that we serve at Maria & Enzo’s are so delicious and unique because of the authenticity of ingredients that we use. We go the extra mile to source our pasta from The Gentile Pasta Factory, founded in 1876, in Gragnano, Italy because it’s made using 100% Italian semolina wheat and a low-temperature natural air-drying method that pasta-makers pioneered in the sixteenth century.”
At our event we got to meet Executive Chef Charlie Restivo. He has been with the Patina Restaurant Group since 1995. He took us through the steps of making Lasagna Verde. “Verde” is of course the Italian word for green, and what makes the lasagna noodles green is spinach. Chef Restivo gave us a demonstration of how lasagna is put together. The pasta itself is made with spinach, as well as eggs, egg yolks, and flour. He explained that lasagna in its simplest terms is layers of pasta with protein inside. Lasagna can be made in almost any sized oven pan, as long as it is deep enough. Chef Restivo reminded us that when putting together pasta at home that you always need to start with a layer of sauce on the bottom. From there it’s pasta, and then you start to layer. Chef Restivo said that it’s important to add parmesan cheese to each layer.
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When making lasagna, the ingredients need to set. That makes it the perfect dish to prepare ahead of time. When it’s time to bake, it’s 350 degrees for about an hour. Set the timer for 50 minutes, though, because a sprinkling of cheese should be added on top for the last ten minutes in the oven. Once the time is up, the lasagna needs to sit once again. It’s not a bad idea to wait an hour before digging in.
Speaking of digging in, that is exactly what we were then able to do after our cooking demonstration. Our meal consisted of Prosecco, Salumi E Formaggi, Gamberoni E Pancetta, Lasagna Verde, and Cannoli. I’m vegetarian, so I was served Burrata Caprese for an appetizer, and my Lasagna Verde was made without the beef. The food was incredible, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from Maria & Enzo’s. We learned that the Cannoli shells and filling are all made in-house. The extra effort shows. We left full and happy.
Maria & Enzo’s is a fun place to eat. Earlier this year Carnevale was celebrated, and during the party there was live entertainment and stilt walkers. These were so popular that Maria & Enzo’s decided to keep them. On May 9 the violinist was taking requests, and the stilt walker was making balloon animals. Maria & Enzo’s Ristorante is one of my favorite Disney Springs restaurants, and I’d like to thank The Patina Restaurant Group for inviting me to this enjoyable meal.