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OUT TO EAT / Great dishes, drinks and people

Tastes good and it's healthy, too

Orazio Ippolito Jr. has won a popularity contest selling healthy food at the Taste of Buffalo, which makes you wonder if he could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. He has offered his puttanesca sauce with whole-wheat pasta as an occasional special at Orazio's (9415 Main St., Clarence, 759-8888) but decided to make it a Taste of Buffalo offering because it fit the heart-healthy criteria. The dish won the People's Choice award at the 2011 Taste.

"It's hard to come up with something that tastes good and sounds good -- because a lot of people say, 'I'm not here to eat healthy,'" he said.

The puttanesca is Orazio's homemade marinara sauce, plus Kalamata olives, spinach, artichoke hearts, basil and capers. "We didn't even put any cheese in, so it's vegan as well as vegetarian," he said. It's $9.95 for lunch, and $15.95 at dinner, with some diners choosing to top it with chicken or scallops and shrimp.

Traditional puttanesca sauce includes anchovy, and that's how Ippolito makes it at his restaurant. "We knew that anchovy would turn off so many people, that we left it out on purpose," Ippolito said. "We really wanted to feed the masses, and said, let's leave the anchovy out so more people will eat it."

-- Andrew Z. Galarneau

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