The first time I visited Ferrara Pizza and Pasta, I was on a 5-month countdown to my first trip to Italy. I was a bit skeptical of its promise of good Italian food. I had had my fair share of broken promises of authenticity when it came to non-American cuisine. But I was there for a colleague’s birthday celebration so I went with the flow.
Outside of the random entrees of chicken wings and chicken tenders, the menu was covered with what I assumed were authentic Italian dishes. There was antipasto salad, eggplant parmigiana, baked ziti, shrimp scampi, 7 types of specialty rolls, and of course, there was pizza. With my skepticism in tow, I began my first experience at Ferrara with a small veggie Stromboli. The veggie Stromboli was fresh baked bread stuffed with mushrooms, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, spinach, and just a pinch of mozzarella. The pinch of mozzarella was my choice; thankfully Ferrara makes each of its dishes fresh to order and at the discretion of its diners. After my first bite, it would take several more visits until I could talk myself out of ordering it. I had yet to try Stromboli while in Italy, but if it was anything close to what I had that day and on a number of visits after, I was prepared to return from my trip 15 pounds heavier. It wasn’t until I finally broke the spell that the Stromboli had over me, did I come to realize that Ferrara wasn’t just a one-trick pony.
Since my breakaway from the veggie Stromboli and my visit to Italy, Ferrara has continued to satisfy my cravings for Italian food. As of today, I still can’t remember my “pizza life” before trying the white pizza. The simplicity of the ingredients doesn’t match up to the intense flavor of this dish. Garlic, mozzarella, parmigiania, and ricotta are all that bring the white pizza to life. I was in pizza heaven the first time I tried it.
Most recently, I took a dive into one of Ferrara’s pasta dishes. Pasta was pretty much the only thing I ate while in Italy, specifically during my time in Rome. So, I am pretty confident that I know a good pasta dish when I taste it. The most important part of an Italian pasta dish is the pasta. After years of overcooking my pasta and loving it, I got a taste of (and a lesson in) correctly cooked pasta, which is cooked al dente. I was hooked on the firmness of the pasta and haven’t looked back. So, when I ordered Ferrara’s penne puttanesca, there was absolutely no room for error. The dish is very simple, and is made by sautéing garlic, onions, black olives, and capers in olive oil then topping it with marinara sauce and penne pasta. The flavors in this dish were amazing! I especially enjoyed the sudden bursts of salt that the capers added, and the penne was pretty close to perfection.
The best part about Ferrara Pizza and Pasta is that its authenticity is a result of owner and Sicilian born Francesco Ferrara, whose passion for fresh ingredients and freshly made dishes has been evident with each visit. With Francesco’s culinary background, he has been making pizza since he was a 12-year-old boy living in New York City, mixed with recipes grounded in his Italian roots, Ferrara’s offers Central Florida a taste of Italy right in its back yard.
Ferrara Pizza and Pasta is located at 3020 Lamberton Blvd, Orlando, FL 32825. Dine-in, take-out, delivery, and catering are available. For more information on take-out, delivery, and catering, call 407-277-2881.
Be sure to watch the video above for a detailed look at Ferrara and the making of its white pizza and penne puttanesca dishes.