It's been too long since I've been to Gran Gusto, the little Italian restaurant on Sherman Street in Cambridge. Went back last night and had a killer meal, including a very special special.
Started with arugula salad with a balsamic dressing and some shards of good Parmesan, nothing you haven't seen before. But for the pasta course I did have something I'd not seen before and it was a new (to me) pasta shape -- Scialatielli with shrimp, radicchio and cherry tomato. This is like a chunky square instead of flat fettuccine with a great al dente bite. The bitter radicchio and sweet tomatoes and shrimp were a great medley of flavors, something I'd like to recreate at home. Essence of Italian cooking -- simple fresh ingredients handled with care.
Then we had the special pizza -- a white pie with buffalo mozzarella, prosciutto, a drizzle of good olive oil and summer truffles. Black summer truffles from Umbria don't get the hype that their autumnal white cousins do, but last night's specimens were outstanding. The aroma that wafted up after our waitress shaved the truffles on the hot pizza made heads turn, and the combo of creamy cheese, salty prosciutto and heady tubers was a delight. The pizza at Gran Gusto is one of my favorites in town anyway (great crust) but this was over the top good.
I was so happy to see the place full and buzzing on a Thursday night, and the host and head waiter were as charming as ever, humoring my abominable Italian, and splitting dishes in the kitchen, pacing the food properly, generally taking good care of us. Good wine by the glass as well, plus an extensive bottle list.
I haven't been lucky enough to time it right for truffles there before .. each time in the past they were coming in "the next day" but last night I didn't have my hopes up and BAM! there are the truffles for the snarfing. All in all, a great meal and I'm so glad I returned. I wont let so much time go by until the next visit.
Pix below: pasta, pizza, truffles, close up
90 Sherman St, Cambridge, MA 02140