Thursday, July 9, 2015

Una Passeggiata a - Osteria al Paese, Nocera Inferiore (Sa)

After bumping into the team from Osteria al Paese at a couple of events this summer, I decided that it was time to visit the small tavern in Nocera Inferiore (Sa). I arrived with Chef Lorenzo Montoro after a quick visit to his family's farm where Montoro picked up a few ingredients that he wished to use that evening. Chef Montoro headed to the kitchen while I strolled around checking the place out.  It was early, I was the first guest that evening, so I took advantage of the opportunity to chat with owner Luca Ingenito, check out the comfortable wine cellar/tasting room and decide on where I'd like to spend the rest of my evening.

I chose a corner table on the small cool outdoor patio at the back of the restaurant.  The perfect spot to get a look and a listen on all Osteria al Paese has to offer.

Menu - page one said it all...

a walk in the country ... 
a relaxing stroll in the country that delights the soul, the body ... but also the eyes, the nose, the palate...

I was ready for my walk...

Osteria al Paese has an al a carte menu as well as two tasting menus.  I opted for Il Volo, the flight - which included five dishes - two appetizers, first and second course, and dessert chosen by Chef Montoro. 

The chef  thought that a fresh cool appetizer would hit the spot. one that highlighted the same products that we had seen earlier. Montoro's "Caponatina d'estate" with tomatoes, onions, eggplant, and crumbled 'biscotti di agerola' .  He was right...

Caponatina d'estate

Next up, was an amazing appetier that I wrote about earlier in the week.  The chef's version of a cool salad for summer with octopus and  potatoes.

Octopus and potato salad

As the evening progressed, I was joined on the small patio by other diners.  Diners who were familiar with the osteria.  Diners who felt at home.  The main dining room filled up as well with other guests and light conversation. 
Wait? Was that English I heard being spoken? 
Yes, it was.  Guests in town from the United States also decided to spend the evening in Nocera Inferiore - and were being treated well by sommelier Domenico Sarno.
I decided to stretch my legs a little at this point and visit the chef in the small kitchen.  The chef was about to prepare my first course using peeled Sam Marzano tomatoes that his family produces. 

He opened the can ( fresh ones were still green on the vine) and got to work.  A simple sauce with quality ingredients.  The right tomatoes - the right pasta  and the right know how all combined together to make one of my favorite dishes - spaghetti al pomodoro/spaghetti with tomato sauce.

Spaghetti al pomodoro

Second course?  Simple and tasty- Sauteed cod with a fresh fennel sauce.
Sauteed cod with fennel

Then dessert...chocolate (of course!) with anice.  

Chocolate and anice

Dessert over, my volo came to an end.  Ingenito, curious, came over and asked me how my evening went.  
Luca, I answered with a smile.  It was relaxing.
Just like I had noticed in the menu earlier...

a relaxing stroll in the country that delights the soul, the body ... but also the eyes, the nose, the palate...

Osteria al Paese
Via Papa Giovanni XXIII,11. 
Nocera Inferiore (SA). tel.: +39 081 5176722

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