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acini di pepe

Antonius | Feb 14, 2004 12:05 PM

For some time now, there has been a mysterious and troubling shortage of 'acini di pepe', the shape of dried pasta that resembles peppercorns and is used in soups.

In a remarkable number of grocery stores and specialty shops I have found this form of pasta -- which, I might add, is unquestionably one of the more basic and commonly used forms in traditionally inclined Southern Italian kitchens (a small pasta analogue to spaghetti in the pasta lunga category)-- wholly absent over the past several months. Among the places I have recently visited and searched in vain for this item include: Conte di Savoia, Bari Market, Treasure Island (Clark), Whole Foods (Ontario), Fox and Obel, Hyde Park Co-op, Dominic's, Jewel, Andy's (Albany Park)... For a time, when this shape started to disappear in my favourite brands of Italian pasta (Cav. Giuseppe Cocco (expensive but sublime), Divella, De Cecco), I was able to find a couple of decent, non-Italian versions, namely Greek (Misko brand) 'kouskousaki' and Mexican (El Gallito brand) 'munición' but of late, my sources for these (Athens Market and Casa del Pueblo, respectively) have also let me down. I have come across the so-called 'Israeli couscous' but of the couple of brands of that I've seen, the grains were to my taste too large and the item was, moreover, absurdly over-priced.

Has anyone recently seen 'acini di pepe' by G. Cocco, Divella, De Cecco or any other Italian brand, for that matter? Or failing that, El Gallito 'municion' or Misko 'kouskousaki'?

Many thanks in advance for your help in this regard!
Antonius

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