I seem to be experiencing a strange sequence of meals where the starter is the star performer. This trend continued happily at Sarracino the other day, via grilled smoked cheese and aubergine. What a delectable dish! Presentation managed to be both artistic and rustic, with little touches like peeled-back tomatoes making the plate look classy (in stark contrast to the diner), and a combination of flavours and textures that made for a really inspiring introduction.
Spaghettini with cherry tomatoes, Parmesan and basil followed. I always consider it brave to serve such a simple dish, and perhaps it’s hard to see how a ton of garlic and some mushrooms wouldn’t have enhanced things, but I was nevertheless pleased with my choice. A decent sauce reminded me of my own efforts where the tomato base is enhanced with a dash of Marmite (try it, if you haven’t already) – though I imagine the recipe here was somewhat different! The basil wasn’t distributed throughout the perfectly al-dente pasta, which meant a couple of herb-intense mouthfuls, and the Parmesan was dried, which some might frown at. The latter wasn’t an issue for me personally, though I did confer with local Italian foodie (and wine buff) @Gio_Mosel, out of interest, and was assured that this doesn’t break any protocols. I’d prefer the whole dish of Parmesan being left at the table though (as happens at La Brocca), so I can greedily spoon in the whole lot as I go along.
A ‘white’ (no tomato base) pizza of porcini mushrooms, rocket, pecorino shavings and truffle oil was also a success, being pretty-much perfect (though inevitably customised by madam, who requested removal of Italian sausage) – in fact far better than a similar variant I tried earlier this year, which (very uncharacteristically, I gather) was rather flabby and lacking seasoning.
The side salad was also excellent with good quality and fresh ingredients.
Shockingly, I was off the booze on this occasion, so I’ll plan on returning to Sarracino soon to see what I can pair up with a pizza of my own.