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Dominick’s Italian Trattoria offers easy holiday dining

By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
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From southern Italy to steamy kitchens in New Jersey, the holidays are a time for gathering around massive plates of food — and one Granite Bay family with strong ties to the Mediterranean tradition is making sure it’s easy and exquisite.

Dominick and Raquel Bellizzi, along with their daughter Daniela, have made a name for themselves bringing the savory, old world recipes of southern Italy to local dinner tables since moving to the area from New Jersey.

Their restaurant and deli, Dominick’s Italian Trattoria, specializes in catering, particularly as the holidays approach and office parties and family get-togethers increase the demand for high-end, affordable trays of food.

Daniela Bellizzi says the catering business is what actually first launched Dominick’s to success.

“My father was an IT guy at the time, and his company moved our family here,” she said. “My mom and dad fell in love with the area and didn’t want to ever leave. They thought the one thing that was missing was genuine and good southern-influenced Italian meals. When my dad’s company tried to move him again, he quit so my parents could take a chance on bringing that kind of cuisine to Granite Bay. We started with catering, and that took off so well that it launched our deli and, later, our restaurant.”

With Thanksgiving and Christmas on the horizon, the Bellizzis are hoping their array of food plates will make it easier for friends and families to concentrate on having the large, jovial soiree that the Bellizis used to have back when they lived in Italian American neighborhoods in New Jersey.

This season, Dominick’s will be offering cold platters, cold salads, green salads, hot appetizers, pasta, meat, chicken, seafood, vegetable and barbecue dishes.

The Tri-Color Tortellini is currently one of the hottest cold options the Bellizzi have put together: It includes tortellini with basil pesto dressing, parmesan, pine nuts and sun-dried tomatoes.

A brand new item to the catering menu is the Chopped Antipasta Salad, with its Romaine lettuce doused in Italian meats and imported cheeses, red onions, artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, olives, cannellini beans and then flavorfully cut with a deep Balsamic vinaigrette.

Another catering hit with locals in recent years has been the Penne ala Vodka. This staple is comprised of penne pasta drenched in creamy, half red sauce reduced with high grade vodka.

The blend gives each heaping spoonful of penne a slight kick to its signature tang.

Of all the items Dominick’s will offer this holiday season, one has an enduring place in Daniela’s memory.

“I guess my absolute favorite is the Chicken Francese,” she said. “It’s a southern dish from Italy that you really can’t find anywhere in the area: It’s chicken dipped in egg, floured with parmesan crust, sautéed with white wine, and touched with a hint of lemon and butter. That’s something my grandmother used to make for me and my brother when we were growing up. I can remember smelling it cooking in the kitchen, and it always was such a treat.”