Italy is full of food rules: no cappuccinos in the afternoon, no eating while walking (unless it’s gelato), no mixing seafood and cheese.
But food rules are meant to be broken. I’ve even witnessed Italians raining Parmesan cheese over tuna pasta and sipping on cappuccinos with an after-dinner tiramisu. Another Italian flaunting the rules: Lanfranco Paliotti, born and raised in Ascoli Piceno, Italy, who owns food cart L’unico Alimentari on N Williams Street along with Caitlyn Hamil-Spencer.
The squid ink tonnarelli, a charcoal-black, square-edged noodle that's slightly thicker than spaghetti, comes topped with a beautiful blob of burrata, lumps of local Dungeness crab, slivered green onions, roughly torn basil leaves, and red and golden cherry tomatoes wilted until they’re sweet and the skins fall off at the touch of a fork. Each element of the pasta shines brightly on its own, but after giving it a stir, each component melds together seamlessly with one another. It’s simple yet indulgent, humble but with a touch of New York fine dining glamour. It’s no wonder that this dish, which initially started as a special, was added to the permanent menu due to customer demand.
And if anyone can pull off seafood and cheese, it’s Paliotti, who along with working at acclaimed restaurants Acquerello in San Francisco and Evelina in New York City, is also a Chopped champion—on an episode aptly named “Just Add Cheese.”