Stephen & Inez Ribustello
Stephen and I returned to my hometown, Tarboro, after the harrowing attacks of September 11th left us without jobs when Windows on the World fell.
Almost one year later, on October 14 th , 2002, we purchased On The Square with the idea that we would give it a year, for my dad’s sake, and then continue on with our lives.
Here we were, newly married, trying to create a gourmet restaurant in a town with a population of 11,000, and unemployment at the highest rate for any county in the state. Even we were doubtful it would work.
But, it was exactly what we needed at the time, and when you have what you need, you make it work.
Now, twenty-one years later, we want to celebrate and share our story with you; with our friends that supported us, with our staff that made it happen, and with our families that were with us every step of the way.
Join us in celebrating On The Square’s Twenty-First anniversary this coming October with our limited edition cookbook. Pre-order your book now!
1 pound of asparagus (bundled), cleaned, trim the bottom two inches off
2-3 tablespoons Canola oil or other neutral oil
2 cups Arborio rice (short grain)
½ cup diced yellow onion
½ cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon lemon zest, plus more for garnish
½ cup grated Pecorino, divided
Salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste
Green onions, sliced, garnish
If you have a juicer, juice the asparagus bottoms. If not, chop the bottoms and add a quarter cup of water and blend in a blender.
Squeeze liquid through a cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel and reserve juice. Blend water into asparagus juice until you yield 4 cups of liquid.
Chop the remaining asparagus stalks into ½ to 1-inch pieces and hold.
In a large pot over medium-low heat, add oil to coat the bottom of the pot. Sauté the yellow onion and rice until the kernels are a little translucent, about 3-4 minutes.
Start adding the asparagus water a cup at a time, stirring the rice frequently until liquid is almost completely absorbed. Before adding the final cup of water, add in the asparagus pieces and when the rice is almost tender, the last cup of asparagus water and ½ cup cream.
Add a tablespoon of fresh lemon zest, ¼ cup grated Pecorino and stir until rice is fully cooked and the dish is nice and creamy.
Season with salt, pepper & cayenne to taste. Garnish with remaining grated cheese, green onions and more lemon zest and serve immediately.
Optional add-ins: fresh diced tomato or halved grape tomatoes, fresh spinach leaves, roasted mushrooms.
1 pound of backfin crabmeat
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon minced red onion
1 tablespoon minced red bell pepper
1 egg, whisked
1 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
1 cup Panko breadcrumbs, divided
Salt, Pepper & Cayenne to taste
Canola oil, as needed
In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except breadcrumbs and mix. Add ½ cup of panko and continue mixing. Let mixture sit covered in the refrigerator for 10 minutes and then test to see if the mixture sticks together. If it seems too wet, add more panko until the mixture will form into cohesive cakes.
For a cocktail party, form into small crabcakes about the diameter of a quarter and an inch high.
Deep fry cakes in 350 degree oil or pan sear in frying pan with a light film of neutral oil until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Serve warm with sliced lemon and cocktail sauce.
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On the Square Cookbook