Saturday 21 July
Molti anni fa, when we were first in Rome, we went down to a place highly recommended by friends at the American Academy in Rome and Trastevere locals, called Da Paolo. There was no menu and the waiter simply rattled off the evening's specials. Between his accent (what we thought was typically Roman and later learned was in fact Abruzzese) and our nearly complete ignorance of Italian, the only name we managed to get was "Pasta fritta." "Fried pasta," we thought, "how interesting. By all means, let's try the quaint local specialty!" What arrived was a delicious dish of distinctly tasty but un-fried pasta with fresh mozzarella and tomatoes. Only then did the lira drop: not pasta fritta but pasta fredda, not fried but cold. Still, "pasta fritta" it has been in our house ever since.
So, some chilled twisty pasta (in this case, cellentani) dressed with a little extra virgin, then showered with tiny dice of: straightnecked yellow squash and Early Girl and black plum tomatoes from the garden, red onion, red peppers, mozzarella bocconcini, oregano, basil, lemon juice, and olive oil, plus yet another mistake, Asiago pressato (mistaken for aged Asiago), semi-soft and lovely.
Since it was a perfect summer's day we ate outside on the patio, looking at the garden. Ahhhh.