Trattoria La Marianna

Invented in Romagna during the papal rule, strozzapreti are a culinary sign of the land’s deep-rooted anticlericalism: the name literally means ‘priest choker’ from the local housewives’ shared hope that their rich strips of pasta might choke the infamously rapacious priests that ate at their tables after having blessed the house. In the old part of town where fishermen used to live, next to a 2’000 year old Roman bridge said to have been built by the devil, Trattoria La Marianna serves strozzapreti paired with tomato sauce and canocchia, a mantis shrimp indigenous to the Adriatic Sea’s shallow waters. Like other trattorias where the atmosphere is convivial and the decor is purposefully plain and functional, La Marianna is a place to spend an evening with friends and have loud conversations about prosaic subject matters while eating superb local flavors. When the waiter brings out the plate, the strong aroma of fresh pasta, fish, and pepper seasoning steams from the dish. The coarser granules of the durum wheat flour used for the dough gives the pasta a velvety texture, while the cherry tomatoes and the canocchia add a viscous feeling. The pasta’s high concentration of carbohydrate sets the base; the cherry tomatoes add a contrasting layer of sweetness and light acidity; the canocchia’s delicate medium fish flavor is the modifying agent, contributing with saltiness and the umami taste of its protein content; finally, shallot, pepper, and a small amount of hot chilli act as the special flavoring that make the dish zesty thanks to the ingredients’ different intensities of pungency. Although conceived as a killer dish for its overwhelming richness, the strozzapreti with canocchia are a true comfort food that well represents the palate of Mediterranean fishermen, between earthy and saltwater flavors. AP

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