February 24, 2012
Husband-and-wife owners Francis Cratil-Cretarola and Catherine Lee and Chef Joe Cicala, the Italian masters of East Passunk at the helm of Le Virtu, are proving their loyalty to the the cuisine of Abruzzo, Italy by going to great lengths.
Literally. Le Virtu will be dishing up Maccheroni alla Mugnaia, a single-strand pasta that is served uncut, stretching up to 60 feet (!!).
Maccheroni alla Mugnaia or “pasta in the style of the miller’s wife,” is found only in and around a few Abruzzese towns and, in the U.S., only at Le Virtu. It is said to have been created by millers’ wives to sustain their hard-working husbands through a long day.
The pasta is made using only flour and water, then formed into a circle and gradually hand-pulled into a longer loop.
For larger orders, the dish is served on wooden boards, called “spianatora,” designed specifically for the restaurant. Guests gather their pasta from the spianatora and pull it towards them, eating directly from the shared board. The pasta is served tossed in one of three sauces: Aglio e Olio, garlic, olive oil and hot peppers; Ragù d’Agnello, lamb ragù; and Pomodoro, a fresh tomato-basil sauce.
Chef Cicala, a 2012 James Beard Foundation “Rising Star Chef” semifinalist, will make smaller portions for single diners, just five feet long.
Call (215) 271-5626 to reserve a table.
1927 East Passyunk Avenue