If it’s possible to be in a romantic relationship with food, pasta and I have been going steady for as long as I can remember. Maybe longer.
Which is why I was ecstatic for the grand opening of Picciocchi’s Pasta at 100 Old Lackawanna Trail (Summit Square Plaza) in Clarks Summit on Saturday.
The new Italian restaurant did not disappoint. But more on that later. First, back to pasta and I.
Even when I was just learning to talk, spaghetti — or “basghetti,” as I pronounced it — was my favorite food.
And “On Top of Spaghetti” was one of my favorite songs. It induced fits of laughter whenever I heard it.
If you’re unfamiliar with the lyrics or haven’t heard it in a while, the song, written by Tom Glazer, goes like this:
On top of spaghetti all covered with cheese
I lost my poor meatball, when somebody sneezed
It rolled off the table, it rolled on the floor
And then my poor meatball rolled out of the door
It rolled in the garden and under a bush
And then my poor meatball was nothing but mush.
The mush was as tasty, as tasty could be,
And early next summer it grew to a tree.
The tree was all covered with beautiful moss
It grew great big meatballs and tomato sauce.
So if you eat spaghetti all covered with cheese,
Hold on to your meatball and don’t ever sneeze.
You must admit, the thought of a meatball rolling out the door and growing into a meatball tree is hilarious. I’m a visual thinker, and the picture that grows in my head along with the meatball tree, even today, is chuckle-worthy.
One of my favorite movies as a kid was Disney’s “Lady and the Tramp.” If you’ve seen it, you probably know where this is going. My favorite scene in the film, of course, is the part where Lady and the Tramp share a plate of spaghetti.
I remember watching the movie for the first time, and, as the credits rolled, running to Mom to request my favorite food for dinner.
Spaghetti also happens to be Dad’s favorite, so we ate it a lot — every Sunday afternoon, for a while. But Mom still almost always obliged when one of us put in a special request for it. And so, that night, the four of us (Dad, Mom, my brother “Eddie Spaghetti” and I) sat around the table, us kids trying to slurp up the noodles one at a time without using our forks, like the dogs in the movie.
You can imagine the mess. (Sorry, Mom.)
But spaghetti — or any kind of pasta — is always worth it.
And Saturday’s grand opening of Picciocchi’s Pasta in Clarks Summit was worth the wait. I’d been impatiently anticipating it for a few weeks, and when the day finally arrived, I was in line just a couple hours after the new restaurant opened for the first time.
After I stepped inside, I had plenty of time to familiarize myself with the menu, because the place was packed. (Evidently, I’m not the only person in the Abingtons who has a thing for pasta.)
The first thing that impressed me about the establishment was not the food or the decor, although both were impressive. It was the smiles. Everyone, staff members and customers alike, wore ear-to-ear grins that fed an atmosphere of joy and excitement. It was like Christmas morning, and deciding what to order was like deciding which gift to open first.
I settled on the ravioli magri (spinach and ricotta cheese ravioli) with sugo bolognese (meat sauce). I got a one-size portion to go (there wasn’t a seat left in the building), and my mouth watered for it the entire drive home.
It did not disappoint.
The pasta was cooked to perfection, the filling was delicious and the sauce was just right. It was not too salty, not too sweet.
I wanted to go back for more. And I probably would have gone back the next day, but the small, family-owned establishment is closed on Sundays.
Not to worry; I’ll be back. I must try all the other pastas, from the rigatoni to the fettuccine, and all the other sauces, from the pesto Genovese (basil pesto sauce) to the ai quattro formaggi (four cheese sauce).
And the polpette (meatballs). I must try the polpette.
I’ll just take care not to sneeze.
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