Tony Shalhoub's Go-To Italian Restaurant Order

Tony Shalhoub has awed us with award-winning performances with diverse roles in hits like "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel," "Nurse Jackie," "Monk," and "Men in Black" (via IMDb). Younger fans may not be familiar, however, with his 1996 hit titled "Big Night," a story about two Italian brothers and one of our favorite film topics — the restaurant business. Bon Appétit recently sat down with Shalhoub and this film's impressive lineup of stars, including Stanley Tucci, Minnie Driver, and Isabella Rossellini to reflect on this classic performance, and the food that inspired it.

In fact, the food that inspired the movie also inspired the actor. Shalhoub's favorite order at an old-school Italian restaurant is risotto, but there's a little more to that story. Risotto played a central role in the tale of two brothers struggling to understand and adapt to the taste buds of their new culture, including an oft-quoted and highly famous risotto scene (via Ken Burgin).

And both the film brothers Primo and Segundo are still influenced by this portrayal today.

A good risotto is incomparable

"I love risotto, which the movie cemented for me," Shalhoub told Bon Appétit. "That's the thing I'm looking for: What's in the risotto tonight?" As many foodies know, risotto is one of those vehicles that can be packed with many different flavors. Risotto is a classic Italian dish that is basically creamy rice, slow cooked with ladled liquids over time (via Taste of Home). As with other varieties of rice, consider it an open palette for added, rich flavors, and the slower cooking technique allows chefs to really experiment with starchy smooth textures. While risotto is best enjoyed fresh, many also appreciate a dish created by frying risotto called arancini.

When it comes to a specific dish in the movie, Shalhoub's favorite adds some extra dimension to this traditional dish. "For me, it's the three colors of risotto sitting on the plate: pink, green, and white, all lined up together," he said. Co-star Stanley Tucci clearly agrees. "There are no real recipes in 'Big Night'; it's all just so visual. But the risotto, with three different colors of risotto on one platter is a big one," Tucci described.

When it comes to Tony Shalhoub's go-to order, you can't go wrong.