Osteria dell’ Anima is my new favorite restaurant in Rome, just a few blocks from Piazza Navona. The intimate dining room is a wonderful oasis from the city streets. The menu has a wonderful selection of Roman dishes as well as familiar choices for visitors. On my first visit, I discovered Flora Zucchini Fritti on the menu, so I eagerly ordered it to follow the lovely antipasti plate of meat, cheese, fruit and olives. Next I wanted pesto al linguini, but the waiter had another idea. As I ordered, he locked his flashing dark eyes on mine and considered my choice. “You should try our special of the house,” he said, swarthy Mediterranean charm oozing from every pore. “No one else makes our sacchetti. It will change your life.” I had no idea what sacchetti might be, but I was won over and agreed. As soon as he left, my husband leaned in and said, “What he’s going to do is bring you the same pasta you ordered,[insert dramatic pause] but he’ll serve it without a shirt on.”
In fact, when the sacchetti arrived, it did change my life—my culinary life, that is. Little handmade purses of fresh pasta, filled with Gorgonzola dolce (sweet Italian blue cheese), pear, and some other ingredients they would not share with me. Two sauces graced the plate, one a delicious fresh creamy parmesan, the other was a pureed pumpkin-carrot. Each bite melted in my mouth, and opened my eyes to a whole new level of cheese and pasta experiences. Alas, the waiter kept his shirt on the whole time.