While we’re in Italy, Tizi accumulates treasures. Mainly chocolate. Over time we’ve put providers on our maps, in Rome, Florence, Siena, Venice. When we’re hanging out in San Marino and Pesaro, which is usually the case, her go-to place is Cioccolatteria & Confetteria Talmone. Now we have a new place, in nearby Fano. But…, but… We time our visits so we can be in Santarcangelo di Romagna for the feast of Saint Martin, aka festa di San Martino. It’s a […]
I remember a distinction professors made on their course reading lists: required reading vs suggested reading. Put Gennaro down as required eating. That’s Da Genarro. It’s on a hillside high above the Adriatic, on a two lane road called “la panoramica,” through a national park called San Bartolo. I wouldn’t say the restaurant is in a village. It’s not a village so much as a brief deviation. If you don’t deviate, you’ll miss it. And trust me: you do not […]
The parsley war continues. My wife and I disagree. The question is not whether to use it. We’re both parsley positive. The issue is when, during cooking or added afterward as a garnish. I’m during, she’s after. It has not always been thus. For many years we lived in perfect harmony, parsley-wise. Diced parsley was one of those first-things-first things, like diced or chopped onion-celery-carrot. Then one day a chef friend came to dinner. We must have had something long-cook […]
Twice now I’ve chosen not to eat polenta. My wife and I are in restaurants. It’s a choice between tagliatelle and beans or passatelli in a vegetable sauce, or polenta, I reluctantly say no to the polenta. Last night it happened again. This just has to stop. Oh, polenta. It comes to the table vivid yellow, this cooked corn flour mush with a sauce ladled over the top of it. Last Sunday, at Osteria del Pisello, their polenta with pea sauce. […]
In Italy they sometimes extrude the food. In the case, for example, of passatelli. Eaten in broth or with sauce, passatelli are a mix of breadcrumbs, egg, a grated hard cheese such as Parmigiano or pecorino, lemon zest, and nutmeg, all mixed together into an “impasto” and then extruded. Passatelli would be a quintessential farmer or contadino food, the base being dry leftover bread. (Ribolitta, a typical Florentine and Tuscan dish with leftover bread as its base, also comes to […]
Is there a more guilty pleasure than a fritto misto (frittura, as they say here)? You can see what you’re eating, sort of–rings of sliced calamari, curled shrimps, spongy scallops, a stray chunk of fish, and, if you’re lucky, some thinly sliced or shredded zucchini–all lightly covered in a crispy brown batter, lightly salted.
Who thinks of these things? In conversations I’ve had with Italians about talented chefs, they refer to “fantasia,” which translates as something like “imagination.” This cod dish, served as an antipasto at Ristorante La Vela in Pesaro, is an excellent example. And as with most things on the table in Italy, particularly in my wife’s regions (Emilia-Romagna and le Marches), the guiding principle is simplicity.
For dinner one night we find our way to Casa del Sole. It’s a country house outside of Pesaro. We’re 15-20 miles inland, where the gentle hills rising to Urbino begin, far enough from the sea to know we’ll be eating meat. “We haven’t been to this place before,” my wife’s cousin says. “But my sister has,” his wife adds. “Si mangia bene.” That’s good enough for us.