Apr. 15th 2013

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Last Friday night, Brett and I tried a new restaurant in Historic Fredericksburg. Castiglias is a family owned Italian restaurant located on Williams Street. We had a chance to meet one of the owners who is from Naples, Italy. From the looks of the restaurant and the number of people waiting for a table, this place is very popular and very good.


They offer indoor sitting at tables or at the pizza or bar area. They also offer outdoor cafe style sitting. Brett and I wanted to get a sense of the restaurant so we chose to wait for a table. It wasn’t a bad wait, just twenty minutes.

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They gave us these really cool buzzers too!

Once we got our table, we were quickly greeted by Myles, our waiter. Brett and I were both very impressed with Myles. His attention to detail was not that of a normal wait staff. We decided to start with an appetizer called “Bruschetta Castiglia”.

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This bruschetta is made with chopped tomato and fresh made mozzarella cheese dressed with olive oil and garlic over toasted artisan bread. The mozzarella cheese was to die for!

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As we were waiting for our salads, I noticed that Castiglias was known for their “World Famous Meatballs.” So since Brett and I love meatballs, we ordered one to share.

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This meatball is made with 100% beef and was very well seasoned. You could tell that it was made in house with loving hands! The tomato sauce was delicious and didn’t over power the meatball or cover up the meatballs seasoning. They really did go well together.

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After our salads, our main entrees arrived. Brett had decided that he wanted to give their spaghetti a try. Brett has traveled a good bit in Italy while he was in the Navy and with his current position. So he has grown to love the true Italian tomato sauce. One of the first things he noted about his dish was that they soaked the pasta in the tomato sauce before they covered it. He really likes it that way. He said that this was one of the best spaghetti dishes he has ever had.

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I decided to order one of the specials that night. A New York Strip (cooked medium) topped with Scallions and Gorgonzola Cheese with a side of Gnoochi and saute Spinach. It was so good! The Gnoochi was light and the Gorgonzola really tasted great with the New York Strip. My steak came out a little under done, but not so much that I would have said anything. But our waiter, Myles came back to check on us and saw my steak. He noted that it looked a little under done and asked me if I wanted to have it cooked a little more. I declined, but I was so impressed. I can’t say I have ever had a waiter look that close at my food!

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After we finished our meal, I told Brett that I needed just a little something sweet after such a wonderful meal. So Myles offered us a Chocolate Dipped Cannoli with a Creamy Center that just melted in your month! With the light sprinkle of powdered sugar and my taste buds were satisfied.

As we walked towards the door, the owner stopped us and asked us how our meal had been. We both told him how good it had been and how wonderful our waiter had been. He thanked us and told me to come back with a flyer for our business. He said that he would love to place it on the window by the door so everyone could see it.

So we now have a great place for Italian food for that special dinner or even just for a great night in Historic Fredericksburg while you are visiting Belle Grove Plantation!

To see more places to visit while staying at Belle Grove Plantation

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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Food and Recipes | 16 Comments »

Chicken Gnocchi Soup

Feb. 11th 2013

There is nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cold winters’ day!

And one of our favorites is Chicken Gnocchi Soup.


If you have ever gone to Olive Garden and had their Chicken Gnocchi, this is very much like that.

Except better!

Chicken Gnocchi Soup


1/2 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup celery, chopped fine

3/4 cup onion, chopped fine

1/2 cup carrots, chopped fine

1 1/2 teaspoons garlic, minced

1/3 cup All Purpose Flour

3/4 cup heavy cream

3/4 cup milk

4 cups chicken broth

1 1/2 cup cooked, boneless, skinless chicken breast

3/4 cup spinach, chopped fine

16 oz gnocchi

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon white pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt


Start by cleaning your chicken breast. Using heavy tin foil, place chicken on a sheet and add salt and pepper.

Wrap and place in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until done.


Rough chop the celery, onion, carrots and place in the food processor. Mince the garlic and add to the food processor.


Pulse the food processor and scrap sides down until the vegetables are finely chopped. May sure there are no larger pieces.


Melt butter on medium high in a large stock pot or dutch oven.

Add vegetables from the food processor. Saute for 1 to 2 minutes.


Add Flour. It should make a paste. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes.


Whisk in heavy cream, milk and chicken stock. Bring to a boil and allow to thicken.


While you are waiting for the soup to thicken, place your spinach in the food processor and chop down fine.



Once soup has started to boil, reduce the heat  to medium and add spinach, gnocchi and seasonings.

Season to taste.

For the gnocchi, I use store bought to save time during the week.

While they aren’t fresh, they are still good.


Remove chicken from the oven and rough chop. Add to the food processor and chop fine.


Add chicken to the soup. Allow the soup to cook for 8 to 10 minutes.




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Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Food and Recipes | 28 Comments »