May 21, 2005 | Ask Gael
Lead me to some homey Pugliese cooking.

        Mamma Dora Marzovilla is back in the kitchen every morning at I Trulli, leading a team that does nothing all day but roll and shape her Apulian pasta. “We wanted to get back more to our own food when the chef left last winter,” owner Nicola Marzovilla explains. Ideally, I’d sample the ceci e tria—broad pasta ribbons tossed with fried pasta, tomato, and chickpeas—in a six-course, $48 Pugliese tasting starring small rabbit roasted in a clay pot. Alas, I’m with a duo who won’t eat rabbit. We’re crowded into the popular garden, full of fans of this rustic cucina, sharing Dora’s lush cavatelli dumplings with broccoli rabe and roasted almonds, and her hand-made maccheroncini with Sunday meatballs à la carte. Easily enough for two is the grilled-seafood platter—a gathering of baby octopus, cuttlefish, and calamari to drizzle with the house’s splendidly perfumed olive oil. Linger for coffee- spiked panna cotta in caramel sauce and the Pugliese dolcini. Then pick up a bottle of the 2003 vintage olio at the door.

122 East 27th Street 212 481 7372

Cafe Fiorello