Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Back to Litro; on to Enzo

Viale di Villa Pamphili, May 26, 2015—

TWO LAST MEALS for the time being in the Eternal City, both en famille — wife, daughter, son-in-law, granddaughter, boy friend. Because of employment constraints, lunch at Litro again, where this time instead of vegetables I concenrated on meat, having noticed battuto di fassone on the menu. Fassone: a familiar word, untranslatable by Google, unknown by the fluent Italian speakers at the table, so we're reduced to asking — oh yes; it's the breed of cattle specific to Piemonte, where the beef is so sweet, so clean, so beautifully raised and prepared that it's traditional often to eat it uncooked.

But first, to nail down that northern Italian context, another serving of that excellent giardiniera, if you don't mind — the supple crispness, if that makes sense, of these pickled vegetables provide just the right foil for the smooth but nubby texture of the crudo. I could lunch like this every day.

white, in carafe

•Litro, Via Fratelli Bonnet, 5; (+39) 06 4544 7639

THEN, AFTER AN AFTERNOON strolling and shopping — and stopping in at Fatamorgana again for an excellent gelato — we accepted the urgent recommendation of our Rome host and stopped in at a very popular trattoria in Trastevere. We were thankful to sit at a table outside the door, one of a number: it was jammed inside, and the noise and the air couldn't have been comfortable, especially for a party of six.

I like pasta carbonara and amatrigiana and grigia and especially cacio e pepe as much as anyone, but I like it with fettuccine, or tagliatelle, or even spaghetti if necessary; I've developed a quite ridiculous dislike — well, disaffection — for penne or rigatoni. And that's what the pasta is here. Oh, my Roman relatives claimed, that's traditional here in Rome, it's always rigatoni. Goed so. Not at, for example, da Lucia; not at, for example, Perilli. But I bite my tongue, and do not order pasta.

Instead, after a quite delicious artichoke alla giudia, flattened and fried crisp, I went directly to my secondo: as delicious a saltimbocca alla romana as I've ever had, the veal and prosciutto flavors perfectly balanced, the sage leaf pungent and fresh, the pan liquor salty and savory. And then, since I was still hungry, the abbacchio also alla romana, grilled lamb flavored with garlic, sage, a hint of rosemary, and a few drops of olive oil; salt and pepper of course, and a bit of juice squeezed from the lemon garnish. Again: perfectly cooked, and perfectly delicious.

white (Trebbiano) and red in carafe

•Trattoria da Enzo al 29, Via dei Vascellari 29, Roma; 06 581 2260

Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants

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