I came with a long list of favorites plus a few more to try. In Rome and Viterbo, we were kinda adventurous with our pasta choices. Near the Vatican Museum, Le Grotte’s Cacio e Pepe is so good in its simplicity. Just the way I want my pasta. This can be a good sub for my all-time fav Aglio e Olio. But Cacio e Pepe is garlic-free and much creamier because of tons of Pecorino Romano Cheese piled on it. Freshly-cracked pepper clinches the deal. Can you imagine just cheese and pepper on your pasta? No, please don’t even think of adding anything else. Don’t mess it up! It’s good, SIMPLY good.
In the same neighborhood, just 3 blocks from Le Grotte is Ristorante Piacere Molise. We’ve tried many stuff here but let’s concentrate on the pasta dishes. Now, I’m a big fan of anything “di mare”. I love seafood especially shellfish. With the freshest catch from the sea, any chef deals best with the food in the simplest, basic way. No messing around as with Vongole. Except maybe to add bottarga 👍 . The level of spiciness factors in, but fresh shellfish always registers. And I can taste “FRESH” as in from sea to table.
Like the Frutti di Mare pasta dishes we had in Viterbo’s Lo Scorfano. Both were spicy but very, very good. No, it’s divine. Lo Scorfano kitchen dishes out food as good as it looks. We were charmed by its friendly, even romantic vibe. Ordered other worthy dishes but we’re just talking pasta here, remember? Speaking of which, let’s not forget the very classic and more familiar ragú bolognese and carbonara. Like grandma’s 😘
I was prepared to be underwhelmed with the Carbonara and Classic Bolognese. But there’s a lot to be said about the authentic, made-from-scratch pasta, tomato and cream sauce. And the evoo too! Bread dipped in real, good, extra-virgin olive oil is just divine. The day I left for home, I passed by Mercato Trionfale and longed to bring home tomatoes! I ended up buying porcini mushrooms instead. That and pecorino, parmeggiana reggiano and gran padano cheese plus prosciutto and pancetta. 😀
For ravioli, I waited to try it in Capri. Ravioli Caprese is another simple affair. I just love how simple the Italian cuisine is. And let’s not forget how fresh the pasta is made. It makes a whole world of difference. In Monterosi, on a break from our Via Francigena, we stopped by a small cafe and ordered gnocchi. Not fresh, but the ready-to-heat TV dinners you find in supermercados. It tasted awful. I had my best gnocchi in San Giovanni Rotondo, in Trattoria da Peppe. That and another pasta dish using chestnut flour pasta. Yum.
For desserts — I thought we’re just talking pasta? — we simply switched from tiramisu to panacotta to pistachio tarts and the ubiquitous gelato you find everywhere. But one tiramisu stood out. We liked the Nutella tiramisu in Rome’s Spaccio Pasta and some other sweets I can’t name, but fully enjoyed. Yum.