About Peppercorn's Grill

Italian restaurant & bar serving upscale cuisine in a warm, intimate space.

Beginning in 1989, Peppercorn's Grill has been located on Main St. in Hartford for over 20yrs - Owned and operated by the Cialfi brothers, Sal and Dino.

We offer housemade Italian Cuisine featuring our signature dishes Orange Ravioli, In Season Farm to Chef Zucchini Blossoms, Osso Bucco, Veal Chop, Crab Crusted Grouper and so much more. Farm to Chef has always been part of our recipe as Authentic Italian food incorporates that every day life.

Please join us for Happy Hour Mon - Fri, 4 to 6:30pm with $2 - $4 Apps and $4 Drinks and Stay for dinner!!

Our beautiful "New Room" is available for small and large parties for all occasions. Catering is available on and off premises, accommodating to your style and budget.

"Peppercorn's is about as close to Italy as you're going to get on Main Street Hartford." - the Hartford Courant.

If you are in the Farmington area visit our sister restaurant Piccolo Arancio.
Catering is available on and off premises

Make your favorites at home!


Chef Secrets

1. Making Osso Buco the day before will actually enhance the flavors.

2. Caramelizing the butter first will make the orange sauce sweeter. Melting the butter slowly will make a creamer sauce. It's up to your personal tastes which way you would like to go.

3. When cooking the gnocchi pull them out of the water as soon as they float to the top. Submurse them in cold water, drain and coat with oil if you don't plan to use them right away.

4. When rolling out the almond cookies keep a bowl confectioner sugar nearby. Coating the cookies before you roll them will help them not stick to your hands.


From our kitchen to yours

A traditional Northern Italian dinner. usually accompanied by a saffron-scented risotto

Serves 6

6 1-1/4 inch-thick veal shanks
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour for dredging
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 Tbs. unsalted butter
3 cups finely diced yellow onion (about 2 medium onions)
1 cup finely diced celery (about 2 stalks)
3/4 cup finely diced carrot (about 2 small carrots)
1 tsp. dried oregano
3/4 cup dry white wine
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 28-oz. can Italian plum tomatoes, drained and chopped, juices reserved
1 cup low-salt chicken broth, more if needed
1 large sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. arrowroot mixed with 2 tsp. broth or water.
Tip: Look for arrowroot in the spice section of your grocery store.
For the gremolata:
3 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbs. finely grated lemon zest
2 anchovy fillets, minced
Heat the oven to 350°F.
Tie the veal shanks around the middle with kitchen string (if they're not tied already) and season them with salt and pepper. Put the flour in a dish. Dredge the shanks very lightly in flour, thoroughly shaking off the excess.

Have ready a roasting pan or baking dish large enough to hold the shanks in a single layer (9x13-inch works well). In a large heavy skillet, heat 3 Tbs. of the oil over medium-high heat. Put three veal shanks in the pan and sear until nicely browned on both sides, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Move the shanks to the roasting pan. Repeat with the remaining three shanks.

Carefully pour off the fat in the pan and wipe it out with paper towels (it's fine if the browned bits remain in the pan bottom; just wipe away the used oil). Return the pan to medium heat and add the butter and remaining 1 Tbs. of oil. When the butter is melted, add the onion, celery, carrot, oregano, and 1 tsp. salt. Cook the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until soft and lightly browned, 15 to 20 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high, add the wine, and cook, scraping up any brown bits with a wooden spoon, until the wine is reduced to about 1/4 cup, about 3 minutes

Stir in the tomato paste. Add the tomatoes with their juices, the broth, thyme, bay leaf, 1/2 tsp. salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Bring to a boil, and pour the contents of the pan over the shanks. Cover tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Braise the veal in the oven until fork-tender, 1-1/2 to 2 hours, checking the liquid occasionally. If it has cooked down, add enough broth to keep the level about halfway up the shanks. To check for doneness, pierce a shank with a fork. The meat should pull apart easily. Taste a morsel—it should feel soft and tender. Do not overcook, or the veal will fall apart.

Gently brush most of the vegetable bits off the shanks. With a wide, flat metal spatula, carefully transfer the veal shanks to a dish. Strain the pan juices through a medium-mesh sieve into a saucepan, pressing hard on the solids with a spatula to extract as much sauce as you can. Bring the sauce to a simmer Whisk in the arrowroot mixture and cook briefly to thicken.

Make The Gremolata:

Just before finishing the sauce and serving, combine the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, and anchovies. Add two Tbs. of the gremolata to the sauce. Remove the strings from the shanks. Serve the osso buco topped with the sauce and a small sprinkling of the remaining gremolata.

Serves 4

1 veal loin (about 650gm), cut widthways into 8
8 thin prosciutto slices
1½ tbsp thinly sliced sage, plus 8 sage leaves
40 gm butter, coarsely chopped
150 ml white wine

For The Gnocchi
700 ml chicken stock
200 ml milk
210 gm coarse semolina
2 eggs
1 tbsp thyme leaves
50 gm unsalted butter, melted
25 gm (1/3 cup) finely grated parmesan
1. For gnocchi alla Romana, bring stock, milk and semolina to the boil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, then whisk continuously until thick (1-2 minutes). Whisk in eggs and thyme, then pour mixture into a 20cm x 30cm buttered baking dish and refrigerate until firm (1-2 hours).

2. Meanwhile, pound veal pieces between two sheets of baking paper until 4mm thick. Scatter over sliced sage, wrap each piece with a slice of prosciutto and set aside.

3. Preheat grill to high heat. Butter a large 20cm x 30cm baking dish. Cut rounds from semolina mixture with a 3cm or 4cm fluted cutter and place snugly in dish. Pour over butter , scatter with parmesan, season to taste and grill until gnocchi are heated through and golden (4-6 minutes).

4. Heat half the butter in a large frying pan over high heat until foaming, add half the sage leaves and half the veal and cook, turning once, until golden and just cooked (1-2 minutes on each side), remove from heat and keep warm, then repeat with remaining butter, sage leaves and veal. Return veal to pan, deglaze with white wine and serve hot with gnocchi alla Romana.

An unusual pairing of ricotta and spinach-stuffed ravioli bathed in a brilliant golden orange butter sauce has been a mainstay on the menu at Peppercorn's Grill since 1989.

Serves 4

3 eggs
2 cups flour
Pinch salt

2 cups whole milk ricotta
8 ounces fresh spinach leaves
Zest of 1 orange, chopped
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
1 teaspoon Pecorino cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
Zest of 1/2 an orange
2 leaves fresh sage
4 tablespoons butter

To make pasta: Put flour and salt in a mixing bowl, and make a well in the center. Add eggs, and mix with a fork or by hand to make a soft dough. (Dough also can be mixed with an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook.) Roll out dough by hand on a floured surface or with a pasta machine to make a thin, flat rectangle. (If it is easier to work with smaller pieces of dough, divide the dough in half.) Cover with a cloth until ready to assemble ravioli.

30 Cookies
About 30 Minutes

1 pound almond paste
1 cup sugar
2 egg whites
Zest of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon Amaretto (or liqueur of choice)
About 30 whole almonds

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the bowl of a food processor, combine almond paste and sugar, blending well. Add egg whites, lemon zest and Tia Maria, and process until combined.

Roll dough into 1-inch balls (you should get about 30). Space them 2 inches apart on a baking sheet, and press them slightly flat. Insert a single whole almond into the middle of each cookie . Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes about 30 cookies.