Here I am Rome

Two nights ago in a little restaurant in Rome in the neighborhood of Trastevere I had the best Spaghetti Carbonara I have ever had in my life. Every single solitary word to describe “delicious” and “spectacular” applies here. After eating this plate of pure pleasure I spoke with the owner, Fabio who graciously allowed me into his kitchen. I watched as one of the cooks constructed this dreamy creamy buttery dish. Here is how he did it.  In a fry pan, Lorenzo, a burly man of 50, sautéed thick slices of pancetta until they curled and bounced and became a nice light brown. He lowered the heat added cream, butter, parmesan and then he quickly whisked in three of the deepest golden-colored egg yolks I had ever seen in my life and within a single second of adding those yolks, he added cooked spaghetti and tossed it all together. Then magically, skillfully he twirled it high on a plate with thongs. It was pure heaven within 5 minutes, give it try, I insist.

After dinner I walked home through Piazza di Santa Maria and I was overcome with such joy not only for what I ate, but what was around me. I was really in Italy. I was finally here! I made my great escape. I miss my family and friends desperately and wish there were right by my side, but they’re not, so instead I eat Gelato to comfort me (any excuse to eat gelato applies).

I walked home among the cobble stone streets, past the café’s with large umbrellas and the man who played the violin for a group of tourist. Onward I went past the many men from India scattered about trying to sell toys made of a tiny blue light and plastic propellers that once thrown into the sky, float back to earth spotting the darken sky with specks of the most spectacular shiny blue light.  Lights! Oh the lights in Italy… the lights are beautiful here at night; streets lights illuminate in deep yellows and in an apartment above the Piazza an ornate chandelier with dangling crystals glistened in a spectacular white light that made way for soft hints of colors like those in a rainbow I saw weeks ago over the mountains of Pavullo. After this wonderful scene of life and light, I decided to stop into my favorite place for a Gelato, Blue Ice. I ordered a large one called Cassatata, this consist of small dried fruit from Sicily in a vanilla base, delightful. I told the young girl to add a touch of pistachio and I motioned with my hands for her to pile it high and she did and I ate the entire thing with pure pleasure. It was rich and creamy and I savored its subtle sweetness. I took a seat under the fountain in the middle of the square and sat with some students who were drinking beer and smoking and with each lick of my gelato I giggled, in fact I giggled so hard that I had to get up and walk away so no one would think I was a complete lunatic.

I arrived home at half past ten and lay in my bed and looked out my windows that are 10 feet high, they are open wide day and night. My room was dark, the sky was lit by the lights of the city. I could hear cars buzzing on the street and a young couple argued in the café below my windows. My roommate Flavio sang in the kitchen to some American folk song as he sautéed Seppie in deep green olive oil (a much large form of calamari) in garlic, wine and parsley. And again I started to giggle, I’m not sure why, but I do know I couldn’t stop for the hell of me.


About johncpicardi

Welcome to my blog. I am the author of the novel Oliver Pepper's Pickle and the published plays The Sweepers and Seven Rabbits on a Pole, both plays have been produced off Broadway and around the US. I am a graduate of Johnson & Wales University where I majored in Culinary arts. I have a BA from The University of Massachusetts and an MFA from Carnegie Mellon University. This blog is about food and food memories and every other fantastic and scrumptious thing to do with it. My appetite and passion for food is large and runs deep, sometimes its indulgent and wild and other times wholesome and simple, often humorous and always immeasurable. I grew up outside of Boston and spent many hours of my childhood in front of the TV watching Graham Kerr (The Galloping Gourmet) and Julia Child prepare all kinds of luscious meals that would make my mouth water. Other days I’d follow my mother and two grandmothers around their simple, tidy kitchens as they busily prepared hearty fragrant meals, hand-cut pastas, preserved fruits and vegetables, baked yeasty breads, spicy cookies and frosted lopsided cakes. I was there by their side asking questions and helping where needed and there were plenty of times I was ordered to leave if I was in their way. It was a given that by the time I graduated High School I would be going off to Johnson & Wales University to study Culinary Arts. Those years were fine and good. I loved the hands on creativeness of cooking whether it be the simple lesson of washing a sink full of colorful salad greens, trussing a chicken or peeling a gorgeous carrot or the complicated lessons of making a French Country Pate or Julia Child’s Cassoulet or making Brioche, it all thrilled me and my dream had arrived!
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2 Responses to Here I am Rome

  1. HEAVEN!!!!!! I want that carbonara. I love that piazza, we stayed near there a few winters ago… give Roma a big baci for me.


  2. Abby Ash says:

    I feel like Im there with you!!! Love how you write, and I think Im in love with that carbonara recipie!!! xoxoxoxo


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