Thursday, January 14, 2010

Cuisine d'Italia

The food we ate while in Italy was fantastic and is worthy of its own post. We ate pizza, gelato and pasta at least once a day, if not more. Our trip was a carbohydrate-lover's heaven! I have noted some restaurant names in this post because they are worth seeking out if you are headed to these parts of Italy.....Hope you are reading this post on a full stomach, otherwise, it might make you hungry.
Pizza. After a few days of the straight margarita version, we tried the prosciutto and pineapple version. YUM.
I was worried about finding a good restaurant for Christmas dinner, without going overboard on cost. We lucked out with our choice - - Lalocanda del Pellegrino was delicious and very reasonable. The anti pasta assortment included perfect fried zucchini sticks and their bolognese sauce melted in my mouth. The pasta was light, hand rolled and near perfect with the sauce. It was a great find, especially for a holiday meal. 
Spaghetti carbonara, a simple green salad (insalata mista), and pasta with a simple tomato sauce. We returned to - La Fraschetta Di Mastro Giorgio after having been there last April, when we stayed in the Aventine neighborhood. 
The restaurant has a meat bar, with a meat tender (as we have coined it) who slices and dishes out the aged prosciutto, chorizo, jambon italiano, and fine cheeses. The house wine was great there too. 

Another restaurant we stumbled upon near our home base was IL CHIANTI near the Trevi Fountain. This place was so good, reasonable, and close to our flat, that we went twice for dinner. It both a wine bar and a restaurant, with over 200 kinds of Chianti alone from which to choose for vino. Ironically, the house wine here was not recommended but our waiter was good about recommending a nice Chianti wine to enjoy with our meal.
The front of the restaurant was nicely lit for the holidays. There is a courtyard in front which would be lovely in warmer weather.
Inside, the restaurant is filled with tables and mismatched chairs. The walls are lined with wine bottles.
Cacio e Pepe. The pasta dish Scott fell in love with during our last Italian holiday. It is a simple (in this case, homemade) rolled pasta with pepper and cheese. Simple goodness.
Il Chianti featured a tasty rosemary and salt wood-fire cooked flat bread as part of their pre-dinner breads on the table. I could have made a meal out of the bread by itself. 
Carrie and Mom enjoy their meal at IL CHIANTI too. 
While the meals were filling, we settled our stomachs with dessert or just a daily afternoon snack of gelato. Our favorite find was the most "famous" gelato shop in Rome, located just steps from our apartment - San Crispino. Their chocolate gelato was intense and well worth a visit!

As we headed further south in Italy towards the Almalfi coast, the cuisine did become more influenced by the coastal area, namely with the larger selection of seafood on the menus. 
I enjoyed this fried fish assortment one day for the lunch. It was lightly fried and simple. 
Scott found himself ordering the seafood salad at almost every restaurant in southern Italy. He really enjoyed it for lunch AND for dinner, a few days in a row!
More home made pasta....
Pizza in southern Italy - it was more delicious than the pizza we had in Rome. All ingredients are just so fresh, and the tomato sauce is so good....
And to end on a sweet note, a photo of the bakery case at a lovely little bakery in Sorrento. I am not sure of the name of this place, but it warranted multiple visits while we were there. There are these apricot/butter type cookies that are sold in many cafes and bakeries throughout Italy and they were a hit with my family. My mom stocked up on them at this bakery and I can still taste them....mmmm...

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