Thursday, July 7, 2011


Technically, I wasn't lost. The two phone calls to Chef Antonio Pisaniello were only to ensure that I was heading in the right direction. Then, a quick question to an elderly couple waiting at a bus stop in Montella (Av).  Ok, one wrong turn.

This particular afternoon I was on my way to visit Chef Pisaniello. But not in Nusco. Not at La Locanda Di Bu, where I had met him and his wife Jenny Auriemma nearly a year to the day ago. Not to his 1 Michelin star restaurant located in one the most beautiful centro storicos I have ever seen.

I was on my way to Ponteromito…6 km from Nusco. Home of Pisaniello’s new adventure-Trattovia.

Antonio was outside when I pulled up and directed me to park just across the street. He was running a little late himself. B U S Y was the word to describe his last few weeks. Lessons at a cooking school in Hong Kong…Festa a Vico, Milan,  and of course, the grand opening of Trattovia on the 13th of June.

As soon as I walked inside I felt relaxed…the light color of the interior design; wood, stone, was totally casual, comfortable. That was Pisanilello’s intent. To give the people what they want, so to speak.

Trattovia...un menu semplice…simple. That’s what I wanted. I sat down at the counter and a smiling Claudio Di Prizio  served me a glass of prosecco and the show began.   It began with Pisaniello handing me  a few simple starters. The classic bruschetta. Then a pizza di pane raffermo with anchovies, mozzarella, oregano, and basil. A crostino with butter and sardines (my new best friend). Prosciutto from nearby Venticano and a small mozzarella.  Break-chat-walk around, and then continue.  I continued with  a threesome. One-A warm, cheesy parmagiana di melanzane. Two-Pizza gialla on a bed of escarole and cannelloni beans. Pizza made with corn flour, lard and small pieces of prosciutto, young chef Giuseppe Lo Iudice described. And threee-a slice of frittata di pasta.

At this point, Pisaniello handed me the menu so that I could choose what I wanted next.  Decide what direction I wanted to go..  And as I looked over this small wooden tablet of a menu, Claudio poured me a glass of Fiano di Avellino.  I looked over the menu,, but I knew what I wanted. I'd seen photographs of this dish all over the net, blogs and facebook.  Cacio e pepe with peas, pancetta and mint. That's what I wanted.That's what I ordered.  That's what he brought me.  A creamy plate of cacio-cheese entwined around pasta from Gragnano.

Still a little space-on to the second course-grilled lamb.Grilled before my eyes from my seat at the counter. Pisaniello felt that I needed a side dish.  This time a foursome of campania classics-zucchina alla scapesce, red and yellow peppers, melenzane ai funghetti, and an old friend-i frigitelli.  I frigitelli-pan fried green peppers.  Time for  my own little private party.  A few  guests-me , Pisaniello's homemade bread basket, and  side dishes.

Break-chat-walk around, and then continue.

Time for dessert...ok, but just an assaggio, small bite...or two. A small strawberry cake in a glass. And Claudio's back, this time with a Mocato from Sicily.

I looked at my watch-wow- four hours had gone by...Time to hit the road. But not before a quick look in the kitchen, a conversation with Pisaniello.  I watched as he checked out the pizza oven in the back.  Checked out the pizza dough that had been rising all day.  Pizza in the evenings-you've got to come back.  I had been thinking the same exact thing.  Maybe to try Tratto Pizza Stop.  An all you can eat pizza challenge.  Sit down-he serves until you say -Stop!

Hmmm...I like a challenge...

Il Gastronomo dal 1908 Trattovia
S.S. 164 Ponteromito (Av)
0827 67009

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