A new delivery-only restaurant launches in Miami this week, offering classic Italian-American comfort-food fare — and, on Sundays, an immense, pizza-shaped chicken parm.
Inspired by chef Nicole Votano's childhood, Mamma Parmigiana is a partnership with Miami-based Reef Kitchens, a ghost-kitchen company that recently named Votano as its director of culinary research development. Moving forward, the chef will work with Reef's expanding NBRHD Kitchens program.
"Delivery is a huge thing now, and I felt the delivery-only model was a great way to share my family's tradition and comfort food with the people of Miami," Votano tells New Times.
Her goal, Votano says, is to re-create the classic red sauce, checkered-tablecloth experience. The menu consists of a variety of familiar Italian-American dishes, ranging from antipasto-style appetizers and salads ($6 to $16) to sandwiches, baked Parmesan-and-penne combos, and other pasta dishes including a penne alla vodka ($15 to $20), and desserts ($7).
Votano channels her childhood memories from her family's meatball recipe into subs using classic New York-style sesame-crusted rolls. Many items have made appearances in one form or another on her menus at Dirt, Fooq's, and Michelle Bernstein's Crumb on Parchment.
Of course, those meatballs aren't to be missed. Votano explains the recipe, which she learned to make at the age of 5, comes from her grandmother.
"I'm especially excited to share my meatballs on the delivery platform. My dad has been making them with me for years, and I'm still waiting for him to say mine are as good as Nonna's," Votano laughs. "They're a crowd favorite, and people remember them, so they're definitely a special dish I can't wait to share."
The item most likely to show up on your Instagram feed, though, is "Mamma's Chicken Parm Pizza." Not quite a pizza, it's an immense chicken parm that's shaped like a pizza.
Beginning on Sunday, March 21, the "pizza" will be available every Sunday in limited quantities (300 orders, max).
It’s a heavy meal. The recipe starts with three to four pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat and dipped in egg and breading the same way you’d normally prepare a parm. Then it's placed in a round baking mold, topped with shredded pecorino, Parmesan, and mozzarella cheeses and fried until crisp. Then the tomato sauce goes on, followed by more Parmesan, and into the oven till the cheese gets gooey.
“People want to share a pizza so this seemed like a good way to enjoy chicken parm with friends and family,” says Votano, who loves how you can get bites of crisp chicken cutlet as well as more tender bites smothered in sauce and cheese.
"I grew up with Sunday dinner being very important in our family — we couldn't miss it," she says. "This pie is a cool way for me to have other people partake in that tradition."
The price for a "Mamma's Chicken Parm Pizza" (serves four): $30.
"I was born in New York, and there's so many options for good takeout and delivery there," Votano says. "In Miami, there are plenty of high-end concepts, but nothing I've found to fill that void while also being accessible and affordable."
Mamma Parmigiana’s full menu is available for delivery throughout most of Miami-Dade via UberEats, Door Dash, and GrubHub.
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