Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pasta cacio e pepe

Via Dionigi, Rome, Nov. 21—
  • Caffè delle Arti, via A. Gramsci 73, Rome; tel. 06/3265.1236

  • THERE ARE AS MANY ways of making pasta cacio e pepe as there are ways of setting out the Italian ten-digit telephone number, I think: some like slashes, or parentheses, or dots; others like setting digits in pairs. Some add Pecorino (grated, goes without saying) at the table; others wince at the idea. At Rome's Museum of Modern Art — well, 19th- and 20th-century art, anyhow — we lunched at the museum restaurant, on tonnarelli (square-cut spaghetti, like spaghetti alla chitarra) in that style. I think there was butter on the plate below the pasta, just a bit; and olive oil added to the pasta along with the black pepper, but very little pecorino; then it was tossed and set out on the buttered plate. A dish of grated Pecorino came to the table, and I added it liberally. I must say the pasta was perfectly cooked: just the right amount of time, just the right amount of salt. Afterward, a simple salad: very small young arugula leaves smothering a dish of halved red cherry tomatoes, dressed at the table with oil and salt. Excellent.
    Frascati bianco "Cantina Conte Zandotti", 2006

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