Via Troglia, Cardona, June 2, 2015—NEXT-TO-LAST dinner here in Piemonte, for the present. We'd decided to drive into Casale for the afternoon, and found there first a big market, then absolutely empty streets: people had retreated to their homes or trattorie for lunch, then a nap, I'm sure of it. The streets were absolutely silent.
I called a restaurant recommended by Slow Food's Osterie d'Italia — the only one recommended for miles around — and yes, though it was getting on toward two o'clock, they could give us a meal if we appeared soon.
We walked through the silent empty streets. Casale is a dignified city I think, its modest architecture containing a prosperous and complacent citizenry, at least to this casual observer. But Slow Food was right about this restaurant: almost as good as last night's. In fact, strike the "almost": comparisons are odious.
We ate simply and for once identically: we began with pepperoni in bagna cauda, very nicely prepared; and then went on to spaghettoni carbonara. Alla romana, I suggested: the host looked a little sheepish, since his restaurant like all good ones hereabouts is really Monferrino, based on local cuisine. The spaghettoni was made in house, was very yellow with egg yolk, and was cooked perfectly.
Dessert: a kind of cheesecake involving gianduia and ricotta and flour, no idea how it was done, and chopped strawberries, and a drizzle of strawberry purée. A welcome thing.
Spumante rosato, of all things; and then Grignolino: Gaudio, Bricco Mandalino, 2013; in half bottle; very nice•Osteria Amarotto, Via Cavour 53, Casale Monferrato; +39 (0) 142781281
☛Restaurants visited in 2015 are listed at Eatingday's Restaurants