From the time he was 5, Alfonso Contrisciani would help his Italian grandmother in the kitchen-watching as she made pastas and pastries from scratch, measuring ingredients by sight alone.

From the time he was 5, Alfonso Contrisciani would help his Italian grandmother in the kitchen-watching as she made pastas and pastries from scratch, measuring ingredients by sight alone.

It's from these simple cooking lessons that the chef and co-owner of Plate in New Albany learned to love making food. And even though he'd go on to become a certified master chef and culinary Olympian, he never forgot his roots, returning to his family recipes for the first time in a restaurant kitchen.

"This is the first restaurant where I went with Italian," says Contrisciani, who's opened and closed restaurants all over the country. Plate wasn't initially meant to be Italian, either. The idea to bring his heritage to the comfort food-style dishes here was a last-minute change before opening in May. And it's one he's happy he made.

At this neighborhood eatery known for its Italian-style pizzas, some dishes are almost direct translations of his father's mother's recipes, from sauces to biscotti, focaccia to salad dressings. Others have gotten a chef's tinkering to make them even better. Here's how home-cooking with a chef's touch inspired a few dishes at Plate.

Pomodoro Sauce"The way my grandmother made her sauce is very limited cooking," Contrisciani says. "The sauce is on the stove for maybe 45 minutes to an hour." This keeps the acidity level low while maintaining the sweetness of the San Marzano tomatoes. Contrisciani adds sweet onions, garlic, olive oil, basil and fresh herbs to round it out. "Everyone asks, 'Do you put sugar or honey in there?' No. It's the tomatoes."

Meatball "The meatball is the one I grew up on," Contrisciani says. While the recipe is his grandmother's, the method is one he's honed as a chef. He starts with chilled ingredients and equipment-freshly ground local beef, sweated onions, garlic and herbs and a cold bowl. Contrisciani then mixes in ice water, bread crumbs and cream. All these cold ingredients emulsify, locking in the flavorful fat. "When you cook the meatball, there's no grease on the sheet tray. Whatever fat is in the beef is cooked in," he says. "That's why my meatballs are so moist and tender."

Pasta "Of course the pastas are my grandmother's recipes. She made fresh pastas all the time," Contrisciani says. From the time she was 6 until moving to America at 12, his grandmother would start her days before school making pasta with her godmother-a member of the DeCecco family, whose boxed pasta is now available here in the U.S.

Tuscan Beef Brisket "My grandmother used to do a red wine-braised brisket using a strong wine like Chianti because she couldn't afford Barolo. She'd braise it slow and the meat would just slice super-tender," Contrisciani recalls. His version at Plate brings it up a few notches, he says. Beef is rubbed with a house seasoning blend, then locked in a vacuum-seal for 48 hours. It's then cooked sous vide for 50 hours and served with a Barolo wine sauce and cheesy orzo. "It's to die for," Contrisciani says. 29 S. High St., New Albany, 614-855-2929, plateohio.com