By Lindsey Zolot, contributing writer
Students at Holloway Commons were served a taste of Italy on Wednesday night as they filled HoCo for the sixth annual Italian cuisine night.
“Who doesn’t love Italian food?” asked Holloway Commons Executive Chef Chris Kaschak.
The menu featured a number of Italian favorites, including three cheese raviolis and fresh mozzarella provided by Tuscan Market’s owner Joe Faro, an UNH alumnus.
The food order included 475 pounds of raviolis, 180 pounds of mussels, 560 pounds of chicken, 450 pounds of calamari, 1,400 homemade meatballs, 1,200 portions of butternut squash risotto, 1800 various flavored cannolis, and 1400 portions of tiramisu.
“I was surprised at how well the calamari was received,” David Hall, Assistant Director of Dining Services said.
Italian night also debuted Kaschak’s signature Pomodoro sauce, a light marinara blended with carrots, onion, celery, tomatoes, basil and olive oil.
“I made 85 gallons of it,” Kaschak said admittedly. “It’s simple and works well with all the rest of the featured ingredients.”
According to HoCo manager Deborah Scanlon, preparations for Italian night began in the middle of last semester with scheduling when the event would be executed and sampling a variety of Italian cuisines that catered to the suggestions of the students.
By approaching tables and reading napkin notes, Scanlon and the HoCo staff have created a dining program that is fortunate enough to have a working relationship with the students.
“People loved the atmosphere of Toy Story night” Scanlon said, “but nothing compares to the quality of food that Italian night offers”
“The food was so good I wanted to try everything!” freshman Paige Belanger said.
“Italian night beats all other HoCo themed dinners!” senior Kelsey Kraft said.
The antipasto table adorned with baskets of bread, fresh fruit and authentic cheeses — another student favorite.
“People started lining up around the table before the event began,” said Kaschak.
Dining room tables and food stations were garnished with flowers from local Lee’s Pinewood Farm adding a restaurant ambience to the usual dining hall appeal. As students flowed in at a steady pace, staff members worked hard making prepared food readily available.
“Stillings closes early and Philbrook minimizes their selection to prepare for Philly late- night so students look to HoCo as their primary dining hall,” said Scanlon. “We had to open the overflow seating area downstairs to accommodate everyone.”
Scanlon revealed that between the hours of 4-8 p.m., 3069 students had already arrived and by the end of the night, she was expecting a total of 3500.
UNH dining will be hosting another themed dinner on April 22 from 4-9 p.m. at HoCo. The theme will be seafood night featuring locally caught, landed and filleted seafood.