For Italians, food is not just the exclamation point at the end of a sentence—it is the sentence. Marking important moments with food, the Italian way of life means any gathering of family or friends is an excuse to set the table for a feast. And in Niwot, Treppeda’s Italian Ristorante has plenty of tables.
Treppeda’s Owner, Howard Treppeda, recently brought on a new executive chef, Italian native Giuseppe Monaco, and that occasion seemed a perfect excuse to revisit the restaurant and celebrate with a meal. The only catch? We would supply the catalyst for the menu: a surprise ingredient.
Visiting Treppeda’s on a fine, sunny afternoon was the perfect time to taste a fresh spring meal; sunlight streamed through the windows, reflecting off the bright white tablecloths, and a cool breeze blew in through open windows and doors.
In honor of the changing of the seasons, our challenging ingredient for executive chef Monaco was eggs.
Monaco was born and raised on the island of Capri, which basks in the Mediterranean sun in the bay of Naples. His food is very traditional, very authentic, so it came as no surprise that he chose to make the Italian classic, spaghetti carbonara.
Pasta alla carbonara is a Roman recipe, Monaco explained, and is basically bacon and eggs with pasta instead of toast. The American version often includes cream and is more heavily sauced like fettuccini Alfredo, but the classic Italian dish is much simpler.
Monaco combined raw eggs, chunks of salty pancetta, a little purple onion, basil and pecorino Romano and tossed them liberally with plenty of black pepper and perfectly al dente pasta to create a light yet filling meal that seemed to go perfectly with the bistro setting around us. The heat of the fresh-cooked pasta is all that’s needed to turn the eggs into a rich, creamy sauce.
Beautifully and simply plated with plenty of extra Romano and a perfect sprig of basil, the dish hit us right in the craving center as a delicious plate of springtime comfort food. The salty pancetta and cheese played well off the creamy egg sauce.
OK, so no points for creativity, but we were so enchanted by the lovely execution of the dish that we can hardly fault him for falling back on a classic. Nothing fussy or over-the-top here, just a plate of perfectly cooked pasta in a sauce that was to die for. It seemed the perfect meal for gathering together with friends and finding any excuse to celebrate
The spaghetti carbonara is a regular feature of Treppeda’s menu and can be sampled at 300 2nd Avenue in Niwot. Call 303.652.1606 for reservations or visit treppedas.com.