Neighborhood Eats: Via Vai in Astoria

ASTORIA (WABC) -- This week's Neighborhood Eats takes you to a restaurant that has deep roots in Italy but is located in Queens.

Via Vai translates to coming and going, but you may very well want to stay for some Roman-style pizza. There's also homemade pasta, a variety of gnocchi and even a mini lasagna.

Chef and owner Antonio Morichini worked at some of the top restaurants in Rome, but his wife's native Astoria is where he now offers his creations.

He opened up shop at 31-09 23rd Avenue, introducing a dish you might not have found in Astoria years ago -- a squid ink linguine with shrimp.

Chef Antonio makes the pasta by hand, and then it's cooked in seafood stock while he sautees shallots and asparagus. The cooked pasta is added to that pan, along with shrimp mint and pecorino cheese. Here is the full recipe:

Linguine al Nero di Seppia con Gamberi, Asparagi, Menta e Pecorino
(Squid Ink Linquine with Shrimp, Asparagus, Mint and Pecorino Cheese)

For the Squid Ink linguine(four servings):
--10oz all purpose flour
--10oz semolina flour
--8oz egg yolk (from about 10-11 eggs)
--3oz pasteurized squid ink
--Pinch of salt

For the Pasta Preparation:
--Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix well. Finish by kneading by hand.
--Make a ball out of the dough
--Cover in Seran wrap and let rest for 30 minutes
--After 30 minutes, roll out the dough to a thickness of about 2-3 millimeters, and slice in narrow strips of about 12 inches in length
--Set the pasta to the side while preparing the sauce

For the Sauce:
--16 16/20-size shrimp, de-veined and sliced in half lengthwise
--8 stalks of asparagus, raw and chopped in small pieces
--2 medium shallots, minced
--16 leaves of fresh mint, chopped
--Imported Pecorino (Romano) cheese, finely grated
--1oz extra virgin olive oil
--1oz unsalted butter
--1 gallon shrimp stock

Cooking instructions:
Put the shrimp stock in a pot over high heat. In the meantime, in a large sautee pan, sautee the shallots, olive oil and butter over low-medium flame until the shallots become translucent. Add 5oz of the hot shrimp stock and the asparagus. Cook for 1 minute and set to the side.

Once the shrimp stock comes to a roaring boil, drop the pasta into the remaining shrimp stock and cook for 3 minutes. Drain the pasta and add it to the sautee pan. Add the shrimp and combine all of the ingredients, sauteeing them over a high flame. The pasta will absorb the sauce. Once the liquid is almost fully absorbed, but with still enough liquid to create a cream, remove from flame and add the Pecorino and mint. Stir to fully incorporate the cheese, and serve.

Buon appetito!
Copyright © 2021 WABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.