The first time I had it this past visit was the night we moved to Florence from Venice. I bought some paccheri at a local market along with some eggplant and other pretty produce and while cooking up a beautiful dinner, felt myself grow sicker and sicker: the vomitous ailment that had plagued the boys in Venice had jumped to me, and I spent the next three days upchucking. Due to negative association, I looked askance at paccheri for the remainder of our trip until our penultimate night in Italy. Tom, my father and I went to Fabbio Picchi's Teatro del Sale, a truly marvelous "dinner theater" (that phrase does not even begin to do justice to the evening we had). One of the seemingly innumerable courses we enjoyed that evening was paccheri in the MOST incredibly creamy, unctuous, fresh tomato sauce. It slurped and sucked as your fork overcame the noodles' cling to one another, and really, I feel that's always a good and authentic sound. I have no idea how that sauce came to be, but it was truly a nectar of the gods and rendered me speechless for quite some time.
I made the tomato sauce this morning in honor of that wonderfully fun night at Picchi's place and so served it over some lovely paccheri. Mine doesn't even touch the magnificence of his complexly simple sugo di pomodoro at Teatro del Sale, but it was fun to muse about the larger-than-life Picchi - Attenzione! Attenzione!!- and a special night. As always and especially today, these tomatoes are slave-free. If you haven't yet signed this letter to supermarket CEOs urging them to sign on in support of the Fair Food Program, please tTake 30 seconds right now to raise your voice: sign your name to help ensure that supermarket tomatoes are slave-free!