August 14, 2012

The Ides of August

Roman Dinner at Cacio e Pepe
In between courses Neapolitan tenor Antonio Guarna regaled us
with a fabulous rendition of Maria, Marì! (Russo; Di Capua)
By Giovanni di Napoli

What better way to celebrate the Nemoralia and the Ferragosto than with a Roman meal with New York City's Sicilian Food, Wine and Travel Group? Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of joining this wonderfully hospitable group for their Ferragosto celebration at Cacio e Pepe, a delightful little trattoria located in Manhattan's East Village that serves some of the best Roman fare I've had outside of Rome. 

We were treated to a bevy of sumptuous courses specially prepared for our party by our gracious host Giusto, a Sicilian restaurateur who also owns nearby Cacio e Vino and Ballarò Caffé e Prosciutteria. The wine flowed like the Acis River and the food kept coming in a grandiose repast that would make the most pompous Roman patrician proud.

Like any meal, the food is only as good as the company you share it with, and I couldn't have asked for better company. The Sicilian Food, Wine and Travel Group are truly a festive bunch and remarkable for their wide range of interests and expertise. As always, the group's president and organizer, Vincent Titone did an excellent job and deserves a lot of praise for his hard work and dedication. It’s no easy task making these types of gatherings possible, especially as frequently as he does.
To our delight Sicilian tenor Vincent Titone belted out a few notes from Puccini's La Bohème
Our outdoor feast begins with Polpettine di Carne, Pomadoro e Basilico (Meatballs with Tomato Sauce and Basil)
Next up was the delicious Timballo di Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Eggplant Parmesan Timballo)
My favorite was the Tortino di Polpo con Patate, Battuto di Olive Nere e Fiori di Zucchine Fritto (Octopus, Potato, Black Olive Paste layered with Fried Zucchini Flowers)
Penne con Pomodoro, Mozzarella Filante e Pesto di Basilico (Penne with Tomato, Melted Mozzarella and Basil Pesto)
Fettuccine all'uovo con Ragu di Tre Carni (Homemade Fettuccine with Three Meat Sauce)
Ravioli di Carciofi, Crema Densa di Parmigiano, Zenzero e Lime (Artichoke Ravioli, Parmesan Cream, Ginger and Lime)
Tonnarelli Cacio e Pepe (Tonnarelli [handmade Spaghetti] tossed in Pecorino with Black Peppercorns)
For dessert we had Tiramisu alle Fragole con Crema Inglese al Limoncello (Strawberry Tiramisu with Lemoncello Creme Anglaise), Panna Cotta al Cocco con Zuppetta d'Ananas e Rum (Coconut Panna Cotta, Pineapple Rum Puree) and Cannoli Ripieni di Mousse al Cioccolato con Gelato di Vaniglia (Chocolate Mousse Cannoli with Vanilla Gelato)
Photos by New York Scugnizzo