Getting out of Dodge over the weekend was inspiring. It refreshes me to walk out of the kitchen and do something totally unrelated to food, things like look at an ironworkers competition or ride a bike. It also forces us to eat out, something we don’t get around to doing that much.
After Sunday’s very beautiful and satisfying lunch at Osteria Piazzetta Dell’Erba in Assisi, I’m thinking about pasta sauces in a different way. The Osteria is a chic little restaurant, slightly off the main tourist streets, where they take the classics and put a nice little spin on them. Situated in a tiny piazzetta, with large sun umbrellas and a view down a quaint and quiet street, its a little gem.
The antipasto was a quartet of intriguing flavors: a delicious melted tomino cheese, prosciutto served with small, crisp bits of watermelon, precisely cut rings of mozzarella sandwiched bits of sun dried tomatoes, and a bresola with a thin yogurt like sauce and peaches. The only off note was the too firm peaches, but the prosciutto and watermelon worked like a charm playing the sweet and crunchy fruit off of the soft and salty proscuitto.
Jeff and I made our pasta pact: we share halfway. The pasta pact rules include: you must agree to the split prior to it being served to you, no matter what, you split down the middle and share, no backsies. We shared a red, radicchio stuffed ravioli with pancetta and asparagus, and a tagliarini with a unique pesto sauce. Unique because it was deconstructed; rather than mush up all the ingredients, it seemed as if only the basil and oil had been combined, but the nuts, cheese and fresh tomato had obviously been tossed in at the last moment. It was delicious, with the different tastes and textures of each ingredient being very distinct. They had a deconstructed amatriciana (pancetta and tomato based sauce) on the menu, but I couldn’t talk Pact Man into trying it. Oh well. The idea of tossing fresh tomatoes and crispy pancetta in with oil softened onions sounds pretty good to me, so I guess I’ll have to deconstruct on my own.
The red tinged ravioli, stuffed with radiccio and ricotta was lovely, and I haven't seen or tasted any asparagus in months, so that was a treat, but it was as inspiring as the pesto.
Another intriguing pasta combination was zucchini and summer truffles; not something I would instinctively put together, but the scent coming from the table next to us makes me think this is also something to try.
The only disappointment was the wine list, which we both felt was over-priced, but I suppose that is to be expected in such a tourist rich town.
Assisi is full of ‘menu touristico’ type restaurants and trattorias so it was refreshing to find a restaurant that is clearly a cut above the usuals.
Osteria Piazzetta dell’Erba
Via S. Gabriele dell’Addolorata
06081 Assisi (PG)