Nostrana—literally 'ours'—invokes local. Simple food from honest ingredients. Pure. Regional. Italian. Nostrana utilizes locally sourced and natural ingredients to create delicately crafted Italian cuisine.

Dinner Sun–Th 5–10
Dinner Fri–Sat 5–11
Lunch Mon–Fri 11:30–2

Reservations recommended

NYC Bound: A Night at the JBF House

On April 24th, Cathy Whims and team will be bringing handcrafted Italian dishes and Pacific Northwest ingredients from our kitchen here in Portland cross-country to NYC. We are headed to NYC to cook at the James Beard House, which promises to be a memorable evening for our chefs—and of course the diners.

Chef Brian and Cathy started discussing the menu last Fall after Brian’s return from eating and cooking his way across Italy. Cathy and Brian both have a love for the refined cuisine of the Emilia-Romagna region. During Brian’s travels, he was captivated by the city of Bologna and its famed cuisine. We all agreed that would become the theme for our 8-course James Beard menu.

We know most of our Portland friends won’t be able to hop on the plane to NYC with us, but we still want you to be a part of the occasion. We’re perfecting the recipes in our kitchen in the coming days and we’d love to test them out on you! Follow us on Twitter or Facebook for the latest on what JBF dishes will be served in-house. 

On the big day, while we’re in the Beard kitchen hard-at-work, you’ll be able to tune in to the brand new JBF kitchen cam. That’s right—watch all the action from the comfort of home—you might even pick up a few new culinary techniques. If only technology let us tele-zap the dishes to you!

We are thrilled and honored for the opportunity to cook at the James Beard House and want to especially thank the staff at the Beard Foundation for welcoming us into their kitchen next week. 

Cathy, Brian and Anna practicing Strozzapreti rolling for the dinner…


Cathy selecting the wines for the evening…


Lessons from the Maialata

By Elyse Kopecky

Last Sunday I partook in a culinary event like no other, the Maialata, or the festival of the pig. The Maialata is an age-old Italian tradition that brings together locals for a day of butchering and a night of feasting. This particular Maialata took place in Willamette Valley, Oregon, instead of the mountains of Italy, but it was just as awe-inspiring and mouth-watering.

Cathy Whims of Nostrana and Rudy Marchesi of Montinore Estates, plus an impressive group of Portland chefs and artisan food producers hosted the festival, where we learned about butchering and pasta making, tasted wine and feasted. I was especially captivated by the butchering demo by Camas Davis of Portland Meat Collective and Rob Roy of Nostrana. Their entertaining demo gave me a newfound appreciation for the art and science of butchering. It was incredible to see how little waste there is when a pig is handled correctly and to learn how Portland chefs respect the animal and use every part of it. Here’s the short list of what you can get out of just one sweet hog:

  • Pork ragu
  • Pork stock or brodo
  • Ham
  • Pork shoulder
  • Pork roast
  • Sausage
  • Charcuterie
  • Ribs
  • Loin
  • Tenderloin
  • Head cheese
  • Gelatin
  • Pate
  • Spleen soup (umm?!)
  • Porter chop
  • Regular chop
  • Spare ribs
  • Baby back ribs

Oh and of course bacon!

Leave it to Portland to put on a food festival that begins with learning how to butcher a whole hog and ends with feasting on various creations of that hog at long tables in a candlelit wine cellar!

A few photos to make you hungry…


And I’ll leave you with the recipe for my favorite dish from the feast, a melt-in-your-mouth pork ragu that is more than worth the hours of simmering.

Thanks Rick Gencarelli of Grassa and Lardo PDX for sharing the recipe!

Rick’s Sunday Pork Ragu

  • 1 pound boneless pork shoulder
  • 8 ounces pork belly
  • 4 T olive oil
  • 2 T tomato paste
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 6 small Cipollini onions, halved
  • 2 28 oz cans whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes with juices
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Season the meat with the salt and refrigerate for a few hours.
  2. Sear the meat in a heavy bottomed pan with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil.
  3. Add the onions and let cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add tomato paste and let cook for a few minutes.
  5. Deglaze the pan with the wine and simmer for a few more minutes.
  6. Add San Marzano tomatoes and break them up with a wooden spoon.
  7. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
  8. Let simmer very slowly for about 4 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

The Maialata: Join Cathy & Montinore Estate for A Day of Porcine Delights


On Sunday, February 16th from 11:30 to 6pm you’re invited to join us for a timeless tradition, the second incarnation of the Maialata – the festival of the pig – at Montinore Estate.

The Maialata dates back to the time of the Roman emperors, survived through the Middle Ages and arrives to modern days in the rolling hillsides of Oregon wine country. Join Nostrana’s Cathy Whims, visiting pasta experts from Bologna, Italy, Francesca and Tommaso Tori, and a roster of notable Portland chefs for an unforgettable culinary event.

Read Portland Monthly Magazine’s spotlight on the event.

When: Sunday, February 16th, 2014 from 11:30 to 6pm. Guests are invited to participate in butchery and pasta making. Cooking begins at noon, dinner at 3:30. 

Where: Montinore Estate, 3663 Southwest Dilley Road, Forest Grove, OR 97116. 

Who: Cathy Whims, Rudy Marchesi, Rob Roy, Jason French, Linda Colwell, Piper Davis, Camas Davis, Rick Gencarelli, and more.

What: Cathy, Rudy and friends invite pork aficionados to participate in the learning process: butchering, sausage making and pasta making alongside some of Portland’s best chefs while enjoying Rudy’s hand-crafted cheese, charcuterie, and wine. Participants will then gather in the wine cellar to indulge in a feast – the product of the day lessons and labors – accompanied by Montinore’s wines. 

Only 60 seats available.

Cost: $165.00 per person, all inclusive. Includes a full day of hands-on learning in butchering, pasta making, charcuterie, wine tasting & drinking, a seat at the grand feast, gratuity, a few special surprises and all things porcine.

How: For a place at the feast, contact Montinore Estate at (503) 359-5012 or visit

 “The pig was given by nature to feast’’ - Latin proverb






Indulge with us! #pigfestpdx or @nostranapdx

Meatballs for Super Bowl Sunday: Cathy’s House Recipe.

Just in time for Super Bowl Sunday, we convinced Cathy Whims to share the meatball recipe that you’ve come to know and love since we opened our doors. “They’re small and elegant, yet hearty and will appeal to everyone, not just hungry guys. Meatballs are a delicious no-brainer for any party,” exclaims Cathy.

You can brown the meatballs ahead of time and then reheat them in Marcella’s easy tomato butter sauce. Speared with a toothpick or a sprig of rosemary, they make for the perfect fun-loving one-bite antipasti.



Nostrana Pork and Beef Meatballs

2/3 lb ground pork

1/3 lb ground beef

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

½ onion, minced

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbs parsley, minced

zest of one lemon

¼ cup grated parmigiano

1 cup bread, soaked in milk

salt and pepper

Heat the olive oil in a medium sized skillet and sauté the onion and garlic. When it is translucent add the parsley and lemon zest. Stir for a minute or two.

In a mixing bowl add ground pork and ground beef, onion, garlic and parsley mix, lemon zest, grated parmigiano, the soaked bread and salt and pepper.

Form meat into balls 1” to 1 ½ “ in diameter. In a skillet with oil or butter, sauté until brown, but not cooked all the way through (they finish cooking in the sauce).


Marcella’s Tomato Butter Sauce
adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, Marcella Hazan

Serves 4-6

1 28 oz. can Italian plum tomatoes (preferably San Marzano)
1 stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion, peeled and halved
pinch of sugar

Crush tomatoes with hands while adding to medium sauce pan, adding juice as well. Add butter, onion, salt and sugar. Cook at a slow but steady simmer, uncovered until fat separates from tomatoes, about 45 minutes. Discard onion and correct taste for salt.

Summer Variation: Substitute 2 lbs. fresh ripe plum tomatoes, peeled

Enough sauce for 1 lb. spaghetti or ¾ lb. fresh fettuccine


Nostrana Meatball Antipasti


Make the meatballs and the sauce in advance by following the above steps. Just before serving simmer the meatballs in the sauce in a covered pot over low heat until cooked through, 20-30 minutes.

Arrange the meatballs on a platter with the sauce. Spear each ball with a toothpick or sprig of rosemary.

Chef Stories: Ben moving on and up!

Last week we bid farewell to Ben Grossmann, an energetic sous-chef and loyal member of the Nostrana family. We’re sad to see him go, but are thrilled for his exciting new opportunity as head chef at Dig A Pony. Thankfully Ben is not straying too far, as he heads down the street to one of our favorite neighborhood hangouts. In honor of his inspiring 3.5 years in Nostrana’s kitchen, we decided to share with you his story from biology student to chef-dom.


What was your path to the kitchen?

I was born in Portland and went to Lewis & Clark to study biology. I always thought I wanted to become a teacher. After graduating I started running an after school program for kids. The kids were going home and telling their parents that the food I was cooking for them was better than anything at home. Soon enough I found myself running a catering business for these families. I loved cooking and decided to save up for culinary school.

What was your first job in a restaurant?

Washing dishes of course! But I soon moved up to salads, then grilling.

What’s the best part about being a chef?

We’ll always be poor, but we’ll never be hungry!

What’s your favorite dish to make?

Truffle sausage ragu. I love making the sausage from scratch. It’s a special dish that we make at Nostrana for New Year’s Eve.

What’s the #1 lesson Cathy instilled in you during your time at Nostrana?

The value of treating everyone in the restaurant like family. You don’t have to be a stereotypical ‘yelling chef’ to be successful. There’s a lot of love in that kitchen. We mourn our troubles and celebrate our successes together, like one big family.

What’s the key to moving up the ranks quickly?

Be a jack of all trades and always show up. Before I started my career, I was really inspired by Jackie Chan’s bio. Instead of trying to be #1 in one area, try to be 2nd best at everything.

If you could only eat one dish at Nostrana for the rest of your life what would it be?

Any of the dishes with octopus like Octopie or our Spanish-inspired octopus salad. Or the oysters! I learned to shuck oysters when I was 5 year old.

Any crazy stories from the kitchen at Nostrana?

Ahh, too many! I once cut my finger on the meat slicer when I was cleaning it at the end of the night. I was standing on a milk crate and fell into the blade. Blood was shooting everywhere and the head chef at the time made me go to the emergency room. I sent a message to my girlfriend, “Left pinkie on the meat slicer, be home late.” She misinterpreted my message and thought I had literally left my pinkie sitting there. Haa! (Needless to say, we aren’t together anymore).

Is it true most chef’s don’t cook at home?

I used to cook at lot at home, all my past girlfriends would complain I was making them fat! I like to cook heavy foods. Lately I mostly live off of leftover bread from Nostrana (it’s the best bread in the city!) with salami and cheese.

What’s the best part about your culinary career?

I’m getting to teach after all. I love mentoring new hires in the kitchen. Teaching cooking is way more exciting than teaching math. I also love the camaraderie in the kitchen. There’s definitely a pirate-ship mentality…we live and die together.

What’s your lifelong goal?

I hope to open my own restaurant someday. I have ideas. It will definitely be Southern-inspired in honor of my Grandma who grew up in North Carolina and Arkansas and instilled in me a love for hearty dishes.

We heard the cast-iron skillet cornbread that Cathy served at her New Years day party was a recipe handed down to you from your Grandma. Umm, incredible! Will you let us share your family recipe?

Let me think about that and get back to you. (Please do!!)

Buona fortuna Ben! Come back and see us soon. 


Watch Ali from NBC New York make pizza with Cathy Whims at Oven & Shaker.

Olio Nuovo Cooking Class with Chef Cathy


Tired of all the holiday shopping, sales, and running around?
Come in for this year’s Olio Nuovo cooking Class on
Sunday, December 15.

Cathy Whims partners with olio nuovo expert Jeffrey Bergman
of Bergman Culinary Concepts to teach a small group of curious
Italian food lovers about the nuances of these lively olive oils.  

These oils are at their freshest for a limited time so do not miss
this small window of opportunity to sample these extraordinary

The class is $85/person plus 18% service charge and includes:

  • The history of olio nuovo
  • A guided tasting and a demonstration that highlights dishes
    cooks can make at home.
  • Wine pairings with each of the four dishes.

Please call Nostrana: (503) 234 2427 to make a reservation
Sunday, December 15th
12:30 - 3:00 pm
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Can’t make the class?  Then stop by for dinner starting
December 16, and sample these oils with your meal.  Nostrana
showcases these incredible olive oils in a variety of ways on the
dinner, dessert, and cocktail menus.

Try a side by side tasting of all four oils with our house made
ciabatta. Many dishes on the dinner menu will be finished with
the oils. You will also see them return in desserts as well as in
the Olio Nuovo cocktail from the Rooster Bar.

Olio Nuovo dishes will be available until our supply of these
new oils is exhausted. Prices vary.

Reservations are available online at or
by phone at (503) 234-2427.

Cathy Whims’ Adventures in Italy


At least once a year, Cathy Whims, takes time out of her busy schedule to travel to Italy for newfound culinary inspiration. Upon her return, we get to live vicariously through all her delicious stories. Read on to discover what inspired Cathy during her Fall adventure in Campania, Italy. 

Where did your culinary tour begin?

I joined Faith Willinger’s tour which began in the tiny fishing village of Cetara on the Almafi Coast. Cetara is a true working fishing village, not touristy at all. Faith invited celebrated chefs to come to Cetara for five days of cooking lessons. 

What chef inspired you?

I loved learning how to make fried pizza from Chef Enzo Coccia of Pizzeria La Notizia in Naples. The pizza was surprisingly light and so amazing with organic San Marzano tomatoes from Mt. Vesuvius and the organic smoked mozzarella from the ancient city of Paestum.  I’m excited to bring his technique to Oven and Shaker. I plan to return to Italy in the Spring for Enzo’s pizza boot camp! I want to master his crazy dough kneading technique.

Where else did you travel?

I was able to spend time in Naples and this time I fell in love with this crazy city. It was my second time there. Naples is intense and high energy, the history is amazing, the food incredible. L’Europeo di Mattozzi is my favorite for Sunday lunch or an evening pizza night out.

What was your most memorable meal?

I had an entire meal of anchovies at Pasquale Torrente’s restaurant Al Convento in Cetara. This fishing village is famous for their celebration of these tiny fish. Every dish was delicious. Pasquale’s bloody mary even had anchovy colatura in it!

Oh and the first night I fell in love with the dinner cooked by Rocco Iannone from Pappacarbone. Still dreaming of his raviolo caprese allo scarpariello.

What’s different about cooking in restaurants in Italy?

There’s not as much hierarchy. I love how over there chef’s call sous-chefs “collaborators”. That’s how it should be. It really is a collaboration.

What surprised you?

The water buffalo spa! We visited Tenuta Vannulo, the world’s greatest buffalo mozzarella producer in Paestum right across from the famous Greek temples.

It was amazing to see how well they treat their animals. It really was like a spa. They had these water jets that the buffalo could walk underneath for a shower and buffing machines they could walk under for a body massage. They can choose when they want to be milked themselves with these automatic machines and the floor of their stable is spotlessly clean.

Check it out here:

What were some of your favorite recipes that you plan to bring back to Nostrana?

Oh, too many choices! The pasta and chickpeas with anchovy colatura by Chef Berardino Lombardo was seriously so good we will be pairing it with olio nuovo we imported from this Fall’s harvest. So excited.

I loved the bruschetta’s we made with beans, escarole and peppers.

The candied tomatoes right out of the oven were amazing. 

I had this really good potato dish that was very simple, pressed through a food mill for a fluffy texture.

What else inspired you?

The use of tiny fishes in so many dishes. Our culture is so focused on the big, overfished seafood. We should use more anchovies and sardines.

I loved learning at Fattoria Alvaneta, an agritourismo farm, about techniques to preserve, pickle and ferment vegetables to make seasonal ingredients last all winter.

How much pasta did you eat?

Oh…so much! I’m still stuffed. You can’t beat the pasta in Italy. Their artisanal small factory handmade pasta is the best in the world. The wheat is just different over there.

Cathy with Chef Rocco…


We Got Mail from Italy!


Dear Nostrana Family,

I tried writing a postcard and failed for a week straight to make it to the post office to mail it. And given my experience thus far with Italian institutions, I had little hope I would succeed in getting it to you before my return. So instead, you get an email with pictures. Print it out and stick it on your fridge!

Do I love Italy? You betcha! Every cliche you hear is true. People are warm, outgoing, social, hospitable, generous. People who had no idea who I was were ready to pick me up, tour me around and stuff me with food.

People such as Pierluigi Crescimano, Sicilian olive oil maker, working his family land in Castelvetrano, where the giant green olives come from. Picked me up in Palermo, took me to the bakery where they bake pane nero, from a dark old wheat, in a century old oven fueled by bales of olive twigs. Then we went up the street to a butcher where we bought pancetta wrapped scallions, sausage, vitello and lamb steaks. Then on to a cannoli maker, who piped me a cannoli with fresh sheep’s milk ricotta. Next we went to a vegetable market piled with broccoli, fennel, eggplant, persimmon, cactus, pomegranate, and on and on.

We took these supplies to his olive plantation, where they were pressing the olives under our noses. We did an official tasting of 6 new oils, making the Hannibal Lecter chianti sound.

The chef grilled the meat over fragrant olive wood. Meanwhile in his 17th century farmhouse another cook, who looked like she was from Oliver Twist, made a porridge of fava beans with fennel, some little anchovy sliders on the pane Nero, salad of iceberg lettuce (prized down here - called cristilano or something!), mandarins, fennel, and pomegranate.

We eat all of this basted in fresh pressed oil, washed down with three Sicilian wines and finished with a cannoli and espresso. Then he loads me up with olives and oils for my apartment in Palermo, drives me back home, speeding, weaving, and smoking the whole way.

And this guy had no idea who I was - Faith Willinger just said an American chef might give him a call. Astonishingly, this is just one of several such adventures I’ve been taken on since I’ve been here.

Am I staying here forever? No! I love you guys and miss you madly. A few Italian clichés turned out wrong - haven’t had a cappuccino nearly as good as Spella. Haven’t had a pizza as delicious as Nostrana (true story). Haven’t had a salad that compares to our Nostrana salad. All reasons I can’t wait to return to literally our food.

But not before I spend my last week in snooty, butter and egg filled Bologna with the lovely Francesca and Tomasso Tori, for pasta making, balsamic, Parmigiano and gelato adventures.

Below some photos from my day in Castelvetrano.








Nostrana Reservations