Thursday, December 18, 2008

Italy, Day 10, 6/24/2008

  • breakfast: bread, honey, jam, peanut butter
  • lunch: prosciutto sandwich and gelato
  • dinner at La Cantineta: cold fish antipasto; mussels and clams in tomato sauce antipasto; orecchiette with shrimp and cuttlefish; tagliole (long, thin pasta) with seafood; roasted seafood; lemon sorbet

We packed sandwiches and left in the morning for a beach in Sirolo, a small town on the Adriatic. After a day there, we got some gelato and came back to Ancona. Despite Italian food's superiority over Hungarian food, I preferred Hungarian ice cream. Gelato and fagylalt (i.e., Hungarian ice cream) are similar to each other; both are lighter and less creamy than American ice cream. I thought most gelato felt unnaturally (and unpleasantly) slick in my mouth. Giovanna did not agree.

The beach in Sirolo

Back in Ancona, Chiara took us to a seafood restaurant called La Cantineta. She took forever to translate the menu for us because she gave us a detailed description of every pasta shape. According to her (and perhaps to all Italians?) the shape of the pasta was as important as what was on it.

The cold fish antipasto had a lot of different things: a single shrimp with an intense flavor; a piece of smoked salmon; anchovies marinated in lemon juice; and arugula with what I think was cuttlefish. Our other antipasto, mussels and tiny clams in tomato sauce, was delicious.

Both pastas were great and achieved a miraculous chewiness. When I cook either dried or fresh pasta, it goes from uncooked to cooked without passing through such a chewy stage. (Apparently the intermediate value theorem does not apply to pasta.)

The seafood in the one secondo that we got consisted of a few mild white fish and some crayfish. All were covered in coarse breadcrumbs, including the crayfish, which needed to be shelled, rendering most of its breadcrumbs irrelevant. The different fishes were all good, and I have no idea what any of them were. After this I had lemon sorbet, which was essentially thick, icy lemonade, served with a straw. It was one of the best meals I had in Italy, and it made up for my year in landlocked Hungary with no seafood.

La Cantineta
Via A. Gramsci, 1/C
60121 Ancona (AN)


Lindsay said...

I think the intermediate value theorem does in fact apply to homemade pasta. The problem is just that "chewy" is outside the texture interval bounded by "moist kneaded flour" and "cooked pasta".

Toby said...

That makes sense. But in Italy I had homemade pasta that was chewy! How did they do it?