Charming in Carmel

The Panzuto brothers use many of their mother’s recipes, including thinly sliced zucchini layered with tomato, mozzarella, basil and Parmesan, and the paccheri, where thick pasta tubes are coated in a chunky ragout of pork and beef in a fragrant tomato sauce.
— - Michael Bauer, San Francisco Chronicle

Il Tegamino, A True Family Affair

Some restaurants lean on the Italian nonna marketing ploy, the idea that the food comes from treasured, hand-scrawled recipes from a beloved matriarch deep within the family tree. Often the food falls far short of that romantic notion.

Carmel’s newbie Il Tegamino tells that story with sincerity and believability. No local restaurant will better replicate a homespun, southern Italian dining experience. It’s small, it’s loud, it’s cozy, it’s convivial, and it’s filled with the love of two brothers who opened Il Tegamino in honor of their mother, Rita, who died three years ago.
— Mike Hale, The Grub Hunter

Italian Comfort Rules at Brand New Il Tegamino

In fact, Rita Panzuto’s dreams are part of this. She died three years ago, but always dreamed her sons would once again open a restaurant. Today that restaurant, tucked in the cute and subterranean-seeming spot in the belly of the Court of the Golden Bough in Carmel (off Ocean between Monte Verde and Lincoln), is named after the traditional Italian pan, or tegamino, she used so frequently and lovingly.

“She always wanted us to do something together,” Giuseppe says. “This is an homage.
— Mark Anderson, Monterey County Weekly

Edible Monterey Bay: Italian Comfort Food Coming to Carmel

May 5, 2015 – The former GM of Cantinetta Luca is getting ready to open a home-style Italian restaurant of his own called Il Tegamino in the picturesque Court of the Golden Bough in Carmel. Giuseppe Panzuto and his brother Salvatore previewed their new restaurant Saturday as part of the 23rd Annual Winemakers’ Celebration. “It will be homey,” said Giuseppe, who plans to open the doors in July and feature Neapolitan comfort food using family recipes.

Hailing from Naples, Italy, the Panzuto brothers named the restaurant as a tribute to their mother, Rita, who collected cooking pots. Il tegame is one of the most classical Italian pots, characterized by a flat bottom, short sides, and two handles. Il tegamino is a smaller version of the pot. With fond memories of growing up in Rita’s cozy kitchen, Giuseppe and Salvatore hope to create the atmosphere of being in a genuine Italian kitchen.

Though the menu is not yet set, they are exploring favorite recipes that their mother made. Giuseppe waxed nostalgic about her eggplant parmesan and her lasagna di carnevale. “You have these little meatballs and eggs. You know it’s not like what Americans think of as lasagna,” he said.

Carnevale falls just before Lent, when Christians abstain from indulging in rich foods. And, sometimes, meat is avoided altogether. Carnevale derives from two Latin words—carne (meat) and vale (farewell); so it’s literally ‘Farewell, meat!’ Lasagna di Carnevale is a classic Neapolitan dish filled with meat and cheese. Some versions include salami and hard-boiled eggs. The idea behind the dish is to use up whatever meat you have in the house before Lent.

Giuseppe resigned from his most recent post as GM of Schooner’s Coastal Kitchen at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in March to focus on the new endeavor.

Il Tegamino will be located in the Court of the Golden Bough in Carmel-by-the-Sea, in the courtyard behind the Cottage of Sweets. It’s part of a reinvigoration effort that includes opening the Alexander Smith tasting room and the addition of new fountains through the efforts of Denny LeVett. Like their recipes, the Court of the Golden Bough holds a bit of old Europe. ‘The Golden Bough’ refers to the Roman poet Virgil’s Aeneid. The titular hero, Aeneas, bearing a tree branch with golden leaves was allowed to travel through the underworld unscathed.

The courtyard used to house a restaurant that, for four decades, served as a meeting place for locals and visitors and fed City Hall employees, something the brothers hope to replicate with Il Tegamino.

The menu at the new eatery will be largely influenced by Southern Italian traditions, featuring easy and simple recipes. “Many of the dishes will have as few as three ingredients but will be full of freshness and flavor,” Giuseppe said. “It will be like inviting people into our house—into our family kitchen.”
— Camilla Mann- Edible Monterey Bay

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