This is a tale of intrigue, adventure and the quest for authentic Italian pasta.
The epic journey began precisely at 12:30 on a cold, Monday afternoon in Rome. We realized we were on the wrong side of town and would need to sprint in order to get in line for lunch and beat the crowd. Challenge accepted.
Thanks to our super cool speed walking moves, we made it to Pastificio at exactly 12:40 p.m. There was only one other guy in front of us in line, so I worried that maybe the blogs I had read had exaggerated the popularity of this local joint. Had I fallen prey to an over-hyped tourist trap?
Fortunately, I felt vindicated ten minutes later when the line was down the street and wrapped around the corner. Just as I was feeling impressed with the lunch line system, I looked around and noticed others lurking nearby, casting casual glances at the store entrance.
Would they dare cut the line? I noticed few other people pretending not to see the long line and try to nonchalantly wait by the door.
You could feel the tension rise from the crowd, myself included, who had obeyed the rules and waited pseudo-patiently in line. Inevitably, the line-cutters would crumble under the pressure of the pasta bouncer’s warnings and the hungry mobs mean-mugging and humbly crawl to the end of the line.
Newfound respect for Italy. I admire any culture that takes food this seriously. At 1:00 on the dot, the doors opened and we proceeded in a semi-orderly fashion inside the pint-size store. There were only two pasta choices, one with a bell pepper sauce and the other with parmesan cheese, so we got both – for only 4 euros each!
There were no tables in the store, so we took our to-go boxes and ate our delicious, piping hot pasta sitting on a stoop near the Spanish Steps next to many envious pigeons.
If you happen to be in Rome for lunch, I highly recommend Pastificio. The adventure and experience alone was worth it, but the pasta was a definite bonus!