L’Antro, Crispiano (TA)
I could dine on antipasti alone and there have been many a dinner when I wished that this had been an option. This isn’t done in Italy though, serious brutta figura and we would never want that. When we were still living in Rome we met up for dinner with the brother of a family friend in Monteverde at a very nice restaurant perched up on the hill. This gentleman had been coming to Rome every winter for the past 20 years and recommended this restaurant highly. There was a gorgeous spread of antipasti, my husband and I held back a little in anticipation of a cacio e pepe or an amatricana with the possibility of a secondo with cicoria saltata in padella. After this gentleman and his friend had made a few trips to the buffet he declared that he was stuffed and motioned for the water to bring us the bill. Blood rushing to our faces my husband and I did not want to be rude, averted our eyes from the dirty look that the water was giving us, paid our share and got out of there as quickly as possible with every desire to return, but too humiliated to do so.
It’s just bad form, even though continuing with the meal after a feast of antipasto seems excessive. I was ready to demonstrate that same brutta figura on Saturday night after sharing 8 different antipasti with my husband and our friends in from Naples. I felt like I was going to explode. Before ordering the waiter brought us little fritters of egg and parmesan cheese, I tasted a nibble and gave the rest to my daughter who would have eaten all of them if she had been given the chance. This was followed by a capocollo which could have melted in my mouth, accompanied by a fresh caciocavallo cheese; thinly sliced roast beef with a vegetable gravy; meatballs; radicchio and speck lasagna; a pizza rustica with mince meat and vegetables; creamy fondu with truffles and tomato; and lastly a little broccoli rabe souffle. Each more delicious than the next.
I barely even remember the meat, I’ll get into the fornelli at our next visit when my vision may be less clouded by the abundant antipasti.
One Year Ago: Kale with Cannellini and Polenta
Two Years Ago: Spaghetti alla Gricia