My husband’s very favorite pasta sauce is also one of the world’s simplest. We both fell in love with this Roman specialty, a creamy twirl of fresh pasta, hot with crushed black pepper, during our time in residence at the American Academy in Rome, after a friend introduced us to the charms of the old Jewish Ghetto. There, on the Piazza delle Cinque Scuole, behind an unmarked door at number 30, is one of the smallest trattorias in the city, Sora Margherita.
You need to become a “member” of Sora Margherita because of local licensing, but this essentially means filling in a form. We were introduced in this loud and crowded little watering hole to the simple marvel that is pasta cacio e pepe. The cooks at Sora Margherita serve it over a delectable egg tonnarelli (a variation on long, flat fettucine), but any long pasta will do. The quality of the pasta is as important as the freshness of the few ingredients.
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Aria Trattoria, North End — One of my absolute favorite spots for dinner, drinks, more drinks and snacks… everything! And yes, this is my second and last North End restaurant on the top five list. I would add more, but I don’t want you all to think I’m afraid to leave my neighborhood.
Massimo Tiberi has hit it out of the park with Aria. Named after his daughter, the best part of the menu is Tiberi’s love for having pasta fit into every meal. I agree with Mass, you must squeeze the pasta in somewhere. In fact, a small bowl of homemade bolognese is what makes your night at Aria complete. And the fact that you can order a small bowl of pasta in between your starter and main dish is, in my opinion, righteous. Yeah, I said righteous.
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