Now that it's officially 2014, I feel I can start to go into "getting ready for Umbria" mode.
Right. Like I'm not always in this particular mode.
As you know, Dear Readers, so much of my Italian/Umbrian interest comes in the forms of 'what tastes wonderful' and 'when can I eat/drink it'…..Nothing wrong with this, of course.
Part of my regimen of getting ready, is to find new and untried places to dine. This is fun, and I can easily tear through many, many hours online doing my "research". With stomach growling, I will jot down trattorias, osterias and various hole-in-the-wall favorites I find on blogs, websites and in magazines, etc. Yes, I have a tiny notebook crammed with these finds…
And yet, and yet…. we often end up going back second, third, even forth times to some places, just because we enjoyed the meals that much. If it's great, why not? Especially if we find a place that has several options for vegetarians. I want to try it all! Sometimes over and over!
This is the case with Trattoria del Moro-Arrone in Orvieto.
First, it's in Orvieto, a lovely, historic and easy to get to hill town south of us in Umbria. We can either drive, or take the train. Once in the lower part of town, you just hop into a "funicolare", a tram that takes you up the hill to the centro storico, or old town. It's fun, and offers outstanding views along the way.
Johnny likes the small art supply shop on the main drag in Orvieto, so we always stop in. Orvieto is large enough to easily spend several hours or an entire day…if not more. There are lovely shops, a fantastic Farmer's Market, and the most beautiful Duomo in Italy. Or at least one of the top five.
|The amazing facade of the Duomo in Orvieto, covered in mosaic & marble.|
Like so many other hill towns, there is a lot to love about this one.
Lunch……. this is what I love….
I have fallen big for the Umbrian wine known as Grechetto, a nice white that is produced throughout Italy, but especially in Umbria, where it has "DOC", or "controlled designation of origin". Wines, cheeses and other local products are often labeled "DOC", and this is a good thing. Look for it….
We went for this bottle, , GREK, from Palazzone vineyards, just outside of Orvieto. I only wish we had bought a few bottles to take back to the apartment, if not to bring home to California! I will look for it this year, no doubt, and maybe even stop by the tasting room…
The day was nice, so the trattoria was busy. We were lucky to get one of the last tables available for lunch. I must get better about making reservations. Often, the small places like this book up fast, and there is only one seating. The lunch hour is basically 12:30-2:30, with no waiters rushing you along, so you may see the room fill up, and that's it for the day. No big rush to "turn" the tables. This is why it's good to book ahead. I must take my own advice…..
We decided to share two "appetizers", and then each have a first (primi) course.
We shared the pureed fresh fava beans, served with a light and super tasty pecorino cheese soufflé. A great take on the spring time combo of fava and pecorino cheese. Served with lots of good, green olive oil and fresh warm bread.
|Fava & Pecorino…perfect!|
We also had a very simple, but yummy caprese salad. Nothing fancy, just good quality products. Umbria is known for it's olive oil, and on a simple salad like this, it shines.
|A very simple and satisfying caprese salad.|
Ok, I'll admit it…I had the exact same pasta as I had when we were here before. Why not? It's a house specialty, and I swear, if I had a nickel for every time I had thought about this dish since I last ordered it, well…I could come back and have it again.
"Nidi"(pronounced 'needy') is the name of these little wonders of the pasta world. Thin sheets of pasta, rolled around slices of pecorino cheese with honey. Broiled just enough to caramelize the tops and make them a bit crispy….. oh my. The "sauce" on the plate is just the melted pecorino and honey oozing out of the pasta. Take a forkful of the pasta, drag it through the sauce, and enjoy. Enjoy, I tell you.
Next time I may try something else…..sure, sure I will….
|I need my Nidi!!|
Johnny ordered a rice and porcini mushroom dish. Not actually called risotto, it was pretty close. Nice chunks of porcini, and very good.
Mr. J has not met a plate or bowl of rice that he didn't like. This was no exception. It was so creamy, sweet and earthy. Just a subtle taste of reduced white wine...Super.
|Johnny's "not risotto" dish.|
Of course, we had to have some grilled vegetables to go right along side. Always a must.
|Perfectly fine veggies.|
|Heaven. Just saying.|
You know, I was very sick with a nasty stomach flu when we first arrived in Umbria, and I lost a bunch of pounds really fast. I couldn't eat for days. Days, I tell you…over a week! It was very stressful, and made me very upset, since all I want to do is eat when I'm in Umbria.
That's why I insisted on dessert.
Whew. What's going to be my reason this year? I don't want that damn flu again…..and I do enjoy dessert on occasion...
Not just one to share, either, mind you….
|Ricotta "cheese cake" with apricot preserves in a crunchy, almond crust.|
|Crema Catalan, basically a Creme Brûlée.|
We went all out on the dessert thing.
Another fabulous lunch at Trattoria del Moro-Aronne. Not our last, I'm sure. But maybe this year we will take the train down and have dinner. Take the stress out of driving back after a bottle of wine at night. Sounds fun to me!
If you visit Orvieto, you can find Trattoria del Moro-Arrone at:
#7 Via San Leonardo, Orvieto
phone: 0763 342763
Just off the main street, not too far from the Duomo