The Marches region borders our Umbria on the eastern side and one early summer day, Pino and I headed there to Amandola where he was to view a prospective job site.
(Photo below: Mongolo1984)
I explored this small marchigiano hill town during Pino’s appointment. Around lunchtime, we headed to Sarnano, the rolling foothills of the Sybilline mountains rising along our route:
We headed to a small restaurant outside of Sarnano, recommended to us by a “local.”
The name intrigued: Osteria “Scherzi a Parte,” (i.e, “all kidding aside – that is, let’s talk seriously”).
Inside, just a few people were enjoying their lunch:
A fireplace backdropped an elderly couple, objects of the rural past on the fireplace and above:
A bed warmer, coffee grinder, and large cheese grater were there, too.
Host Gabriele greeted us and brought us water and a local vino rosso, requested by Pino.
No menu here – but Gabriele tells all his guests what wife Tiziana has cooked up that day. As he told us, “the menu always varies depending on the fresh local goodness we have available to us.” And depending on Tiziana’s latest inspirations, I would imagine..
Their antipasto tempted – and Gabriele soon served it up:
Tiziana had prepared a medley of summer vegetables sott’olio (°under oil”), “after braising them lighly on the grill over the coals,” Guglielmo explained to us. Slices of frittata (Italian flipped omelette) joined the vegetables on this tempting plate, enticing to eye and palate:
On another plate, pecorino (sheep’s milk cheese) with peperoncino (hot red pepper) and another pecorino flanked by Tiziana’s salsa di peperoni (bell pepper sauce) joined various meats (all locally produced): ciauscolo (soft, spreadable fresh salami), another local salami, capocollo and prosciutto:
Bruschetta was included, too:
Tiziana popped out of the kitchen to welcome us, joining husband Gabriele as he served us our pasta:
Three plates for two of us as I had asked for mezze porzioni (“half-portions”) of two pasta as both had tempted: mezzalune l (half-moons) with an artichoke sauce and filled with ricotta and lemon zest, topped with grated lemon…..
….and pinciarelle – a twisty pasta, typical of the Marches region – with sausage, a dark orange squash and rosemary:
Pino chose a portion of pasta alla cafona: tagliatelle with sausage and mushrooms. Pasta alla cafona can be made in a variety of ways in various regions of Italy. “Cafona” derives from a term of Neapolitan dialect indicating “not a citizen of the town,” i.e., a poorly-educated person. The term eventually will signify “like a farmer.”
(and any pasta similar to the way the Italian farmers eat will be buonissima!)
After our antipasti and primi (first courses), I had no room for a secondo.
Pino ordered a local cheese baked in the oven and Gabriele wanted us to both try the wild spinach.
After his abundant secondo piatto (“second plate”), Pino passed on dessert.
I did not.
A dellight to eye and palate was my choice: Tiziana’s panna cotta (a creamy pudding originating in Piedmont in the early 20th-century), topped with finely-diced hazelnuts and almonds and drizzled with caramello:
A heavenly lunch and heavenly views as we left.
We’ll be back.
Soon I hope.
Read about another Sarnano eating spot
Click here for more on Marches region specialties in Sarnano