Via Tre Piccioni, 73
We love going to countries and experiencing a wholly new restaurant genre. The kilo restaurant was one of our favorites in Brazil; but in Italy we first encountered the Agriturismo. Agriturismos are restaurants run by local farmers. Typically open only on weekends, their owners prepare fresh, ingredient-forward meals based on whatever is in season at the farm. You just sit back, tell the owner how many there will be in your party, and see what you get served.
Our friends Maya and Chris, temporary expats from the US, lived near agriturismo Tre Piccioni (“Three Pigeons”), in the town of Pozzuoli, just west of Naples proper. Definitely off the beaten tourist path, you can only get there by car, and if you blink you might miss it. Maya and Chris were also good friends with the amiable proprietor, Paolo. Paolo’s menu changes constantly, though it seems he puts it on the website as well. Maya and Chris warned us to come with a full appetite: Paolo typically serves an antipasto, a primo and segundo piatto, a dessert, coffee and a carafe of house wine – all for the very reasonable price of 20 euros a head.
When we arrived we were heartily greeted by Paolo, who promptly given a carafe of house wine, fresh bread and a fresh ball of mozzarella. The mozzarella was a show stopper, and we could have eaten 2 or 3 more. For our antipasti we were served sliced prosciutto, eggplant parmigiana, fried zucchini and chickpea flour fritters (crocche); a nice little taste of some of the street food we also enjoyed in Sicily.
For our primi, we actually were served 2 pasta dishes for the table. First was gnocchi alla Sorrentina. This consisted of tiny gnocchi (much smaller than we had seen elsewhere) covered in a red sauce and sprinkled with cheese and a hint of fresh basil. We also enjoyed a pasta with broccoli sauce – a new dish we had never tried before. The pastas came out family-style on a big plate, but don’t worry, there was MORE than enough for everyone. However, we are still kicking ourselves for letting the waiter take away the gnocchi plate while there were still gnocchi to be consumed.
For our mains we were served a hearty plate of pork cutlets and sausages, with a side of somewhat limp fries that we mostly picked over. There was also an unusual side salad seasoned only with salt, and accented with lime juice. Perhaps a little too much salt for L’s taste, but M enjoyed the simplicity. Either way, good to have some veggies!
For dessert we had a light raspberry panna cotta, which was extremely tasty, though it almost pushed us over to the point of bursting. The meal was finished up with a glass of homemade limoncello (very strong), and tiny cups of espresso (what else?). We were so stuffed we couldn’t believe it! All this for 20 euros apiece. If we lived nearby there’d barely be reason to cook at home, since everything was nice and fresh, and just like eating at a friend’s house. Now let’s work on bringing some of these agriturismi to the US!