Maroni Hot Pots filled with rigatoni cognac pomodoro

UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (WABC) -- This week in Neighborhood Eats is a restaurant where it may be more popular to get your food to go, as it is to dine-in.

You're almost incentivized to take out because the "to go" containers are so adorable and reusable. They're even part of the name.

Maroni Hot Pots is located at 307 E. 77th Street on Manhattan's Upper East Side.

"They love to take home the pot, but they really can't get it through their heads that the pot really is theirs, it's your pot," said Michael Maroni, of Maroni Hot Pots.

When you order from Maroni Hot Pots, it's very likely your food will come in one of its own little pots, and you can keep the pot!

Maria and Michael Maroni do the same thing at their 15-year-old Huntington location, and so it goes at their newest spot on the Upper East Side. It's a tribute to Michael's grandmother's cooking.

"He thought in a world where people don't get to cook anymore or for their families as much because they are so busy, wouldn't it be great to bring home cooked delicious food to the table, literally, but in that old school feeling of a pot like you took it home from your grandmother's house," Maria said.

You can eat in too. There are just 14 seats. From baked clams to chicken Milanese, the location also has memories for the Maroni's. It's where Maria's father used to get his hair cut.

"We looked at each other and we are spiritual and believe you know that there are reasons for everything. And we were like, this is it, this is where we are supposed to be," Maria said.

Residents are happy they've opened there as well.

"It's a very lovely little pot. I never cook, but I like to make it look like the stove is in use," a customer said.

Many of the pasta dishes come in pots. The vongole, or the rigatoni for example, Michael's uses cognac, which he burns off before adding the pasta and his red sauce, some basil, veloute and cheese round out the dish.

"It's a deconstructed baked ziti put back in a pot, its fun, it's good," Michael said.

You too may want to take home a pot.

"It's a nice presentation, it kind of looks like I did it myself," a customer said.

"Honestly do you try to pass it off as your own?" Eyewitness News asked.

"You honestly could, it's that good, it's good home cooking," a customer said.

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Step by step how to make this amazing dish.

Maroni Hot Pots' Rigatoni Cognac Pomodoro
Serves 2

1/2 lb. rigatoni pasta; Boil 2 minutes less than what the package suggests
Save / set aside approx. 2-3 ounces of left over pasta water
2 tablespoons butter
2 ounces of cognac
12 ounces of your favorite tomato sauce; Jar of Maroni Pomodoro Sauce available to purchase at the restaurant for $8
5-6 fresh basil leaves
2-3 ounces grated Romano cheese
4 ounces of your favorite ricotta; beaten w touch of milk or water

Melt butter on pan; Once butter is sizzling, add cognac; Cook for 1 min
Add tomato sauce, pasta water, pasta & basil; Bring to a boil for 2-4 mins, until slightly thickened
Plate it; Sprinkle grated cheese, garnish with basil leaves & drizzle ricotta on top

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