Shipscook’s Italian Job – O Parrucchiano

One of Sorrento’s little treasures is this place.

Me in O Parrucchiano's lemon grove

Well I say little treasures, but the O Parruchiano restaurant is actually rather large, consisting of a kitchen, whacking great conservatory and lemon grove garden that reputedly can sit up to 1000 diners. The place was founded in 1868 by Antonino Ercolano a trainee priest who had been caught misbehaving with one of the local ladies. Fortunately his training in the seminary kitchen meant that he had another trade to fall back on so he set up a trattoria in two rooms just off the Corso Italia.  O Parruchiano, which stands for parish priest in the local Neapolitan dialect, was a great hit and gradually the restaurant expanded back from the Corso Italia to it’s present extent. Thankfully, despite its size the food is not institutionalised, but good Neapolitan home cooking and the waiter service is friendly and not intrusive.

Aside from being probably the best restaurant in Sorrento it’s also famous as the birthplace of Cannelloni.

Invented here - cannelloni

It was in 1907 that the chef  Salvatore Coletta hit upon the idea of rolling a sheet of pasta very thin and wrapping it around a stuffing of ricotta cheese, various minced meats and spices. O Parrucchiano’s cannelloni are truely delicious and we ate rather a lot of them during our stay, but there were plenty of other great pasta dishes like the Neapolitan Lasagna to try. I liked the lasagna because it wasn’t drowned in Bechamel sauce, but topped with aubergine, also good was the seemingly never ending pot of gnocchi.

For a starters there were a number of options including this brilliant antipasto plate

Antipasto

with ricotta stuffed courgette flowers, prawns cooked in lemon and orange leaves, deep fried squid and a ricotta stuffed pastry or the antipasto rusticano, a plate of buffalo mozzarella, Parma ham, braesola and pancetta.  While for desert, if you had any room left the raisins cooked in wine and served in a lemon leaf parcel,

Raisins in lemon leaf

were rather like a Christmas cake without the cakey bits.

Wines kicked in at about €15 for a bottle of Lacryma Christi (Tears of Christ) del Vesuvio, a rather lovely wine that comes in white, red and rose varieties, grown on the fertile volcanic slopes of the local volcano, but for a special treat it is difficult to resist the wine with peaches, which double up as a delicious desert.

Wine with peaches

So what’s the damage, for a three course meal for four with wine, water and coffee expect to pay about €110, but your holiday operator may offer a 10% discount voucher which the restaurant will only honour for cash transactions.

O Parrucchiano, Corso Italia 71 – 80067 Sorrento, tel +39 081 8781321

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