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REVIEW: Italian Food to Rival Your Nonna’s

By Kyle Young
Published: Last Updated on
The deli case at Del Italy.

DelItaly has a robust salumi selection, and also offers house-made pastas, sauces, and pizza crusts. Photo: Kyle Young

DelItaly is a new Italian delicatessen in Sparks on Glendale Avenue at McCarran Boulevard. Northern Nevada houses some respectable delis, but this one stands apart with the warmth of its operators and depth of its flavors.

Delicatessens, or delis for short, are stores/restaurants that sell non-native specialty foods. I asked the owner, Felice Carrano, what delicatessen means to him. “Many dishes, you know. Special dishes. Different, you know – with good flavors – homemade,” Carrano replied.

daily lasagna

The day’s lasagna selection. Photo: Kyle Young

Carrano opened DelItaly with his family on Nov. 11, 2017. They hail from a small mountain town in southern Italy named Lagonegro, Italian for “black lake.” He shared that many people in Lagonegro travel into town via donkey. I’m not exceptionally well-traveled, but I bet there is a strong correlation between donkey-transport and tasty food.

Carrano and his family prepare as much as possible in-house: pasta, sauces, pizza crusts and a robust salumi (cured meat) selection. He boasts an amazing 23 lasagna recipes, making use of ingredients as diverse as lobster, shrimp, mushrooms, and artichokes. Specialty lasagnas are available by advance order. The walk-up fridge in the dining area contains microwave-ready two-serving portions as well as trays ready for baking.

Boar’s Head charcuterie products are also offered. Carrano uses Boar’s Head products for his meat dishes.

The menu at DelItaly is petite. A small menu ensures that each dish receives maximum love and care. They offer lasagna, cannelloni, pionono, pizza, sandwiches, and meatballs. You can get the standalone lasagna, cannelloni, or pionono for $9.99 or upgrade to the combo for an additional $2.99. The combo includes an entrée, sausage, and garlic bread. I went with the cannelloni combo.

The cannelloni combo includes two cannelloni, sausage, and garlic bread.

The cannelloni combo includes two cannelloni, sausage, and garlic bread. Photo: Kyle Young

If you’re searching your mental inventory for what cannelloni is, think enchilada but with pasta. The daily cannelloni variety I tried was roasted turkey, spinach, and ricotta served with tomato sauce and parmesan. The pasta was delicate and the sauce was the right balance of sweet and acidic. The cheese added a salty punch.

My ideal garlic bread has a hearty crunch and fresh garlic. On my visit is was a slice of sandwich bread with butter, garlic salt, and herbs. It may not top my list of favorites, but it sufficiently absorbed spare sauce.

The house-made Italian sausage was delectable and unlike anything I had tried before. Carrano’s son explained what makes this sausage special: “Walmart makes their sausages with 30 percent fat. We make ours with 5 percent fat. That’s why our sausage has the texture it does.” The texture was indeed notable. It was less uniform and tightly bound in texture compared to a store-bought sausage. The heat in the sausage, especially for an Italian sausage, was perfect for my particular palate.

You won’t find penguin-clad servers, candles, or steep menu prices at DelItaly. Instead, you’ll find a family working together to produce artisanal foods at fair prices. In case you aren’t completely sold on the family’s overflowing hospitality, know that Mr. Carrano gifted me the best cannoli I’ve ever eaten. Thank you, Carrano family!

Update: DelItaly is located at 185 E. Glendale Ave. It’s open Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s closed on Sundays.