By DARLA HIGGINS
It’s a Monday night, and you’re in the mood for a nice meal out.
Most other days of the week there are plenty of choices in Jefferson, but many are closed on Mondays. What to do? One option: Drive 15 minutes for an authentic taste of Italy.
Pazzeria by Pietro’s, located in downtown Marshall, is owned by the Filippazzo family, who also operate a location in Longview. The Marshall eatery provides a welcoming atmosphere – kids can watch the chefs toss pizza dough through the window into the kitchen – and is made homier with blown-up photos of the Filippazzos on its brick walls.
We started with an appetizer of Polpetta ($8), the restaurant’s signature meatball dish served with marina, ricotta cheese and dried basil. The four hearty portions were mild but flavorful – and the dollop of creamy ricotta on top of each was quickly devoured.
Diners are also treated to complimentary bread with seasoned olive oil, which should come with a “take it easy” warning, lest there be no room for the actual meal.
We ordered the Shrimp Florentine ($15), a large portion of penne pasta covered with alfredo sauce, along with lightly sautéed shrimp, sliced mushrooms spinach and Romano cheese. The shrimp was fresh, the sauce was creamy and the overall flavor was rich, but not too rich.
Then there are the pizzas at Pietro’s. Anyone who hankers for a thin, crispy crust with expertly arranged toppings and cheeses will not be disappointed. Our selection, which was made with thinly-sliced prosciutto and arugula ($12 for a small) needed nothing to enhance it. Some of us salt lovers instinctively reach for the shaker right away, but thanks to the prosciutto, the pizza was already well-seasoned.
We ended our Monday-night visit to Italy with an Affogato ($4), which is espresso poured over vanilla bean gelato. The strong coffee taste mixed with the cold, creamy gelato was, as the Italians would put it, perfetto.
Pazzeria by Pietro’s is located at 101 W. Austin St. in Marshall. Phone: 903-472-4555. Closed on Sundays.
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