Best Thing I Ate All Week: Genuinely Great Italian Food in Scottsdale

May 13, 2018 599

BY: Chris Malloy

During a time in my life when I worked on a mountain farm near Bologna, I ate all kinds of off-the-map food. The farmer was a professional cellist who raised crops and made wine. Dinner consisted of rustic fare like minestrone, squash risotto, and rabbit grilled over an open fire. The wildest thing I ate that summer was a plant: agretti. The farmer treated the grassy fronds with reverence. When he came back from the market with a fistful, it was an event.

Agretti are a seaweed-like green that grows wild in parts of Italy. Their season is ephemeral. A heartbeat's delay, and you might miss the strands coated with salt, the cook’s best olive oil, and maybe a trace of vinegar. Agretti also go by barba di frate, or “monk’s beard.” I haven’t seen agretti since summer 2010. Until now. They are on the menu at Virtù Honest Craft in Scottsdale.

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