Salumeria 104: Fresh Pasta for Under $20

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To dine intelligently in Miami, you must master the art of graceful interrogation. Does the soup of the day have cream, butter or perhaps a pound of cheese? Does this place serve the brussels sprouts with bacon?

There is a fine line between being a curious patron and causing the staff to curse you out in the kitchen. At Salumeria 104, not only are the menu options loaded with fatty salumi and formaggi, but there's a slim communication barrier. See, the restaurant staff is straight from Italy. For non-Italian speakers, questioning whether the polenta is finished off with butter usually gets you confused looks and blank stares.

With that in mind, get a salad to start off your meal. Chowing down on some greens may help to avoid a mishap when spotting porchetta on the menu. Focus. The regular menu salad options are either fake healthy (the signature radicchio salad with sautéed guanciale) or not too motivating (mixed greens with shaved Parmesan and lemon vinaigrette). On a previous visit, the daily salad featured arugula, goat cheese, watermelon and croutons. Skip the croutons. The tiny baked breads serve as a sneaky vessel for excessive oil or butter.

Then opt for the cavatello, the lightest pasta on the menu. Made with house-made ricotta, this fresh pasta comes with fragrant basil and a sweet tomato sauce. Avoid the several proposals from waiters to add Parmigiano to the cavatello and, in general, focus on items with fresh cheeses like goat cheese, ricotta, and mascarpone. High moisture cheeses are usually lower in fat than aged ones and the sprinkling of too much Parmigiano can seriously deter you from eating healthy.

Carbohydrate haters of Miami, don't look so shocked about the pasta proposal. Stop thinking that this nutrient is evil and when you dine at Salumeria, where the main courses are breaded, wrapped in pork belly or served with buttery polenta, just let go of the phobia and indulge. There aren't many other places to get fresh, homemade pasta for under $20 in Miami, so enjoy the carbohydrates and just skip the fat.

-- Emily Kodik

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