I suppose you can file this one under “better late than never.” Here is a photo post of the Midnight Amore pasta orgy that took place at Scarpetta from 11 pm to 1 am on Saturday night of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. Chefs Scott Conant (Scarpetta), Alex Guarnaschelli (Food Network/Butter), and Rocco DiSpirito headlined the event.
I arrived early, which was a mistake, since the cooking stations were packed. My husband and I waited twenty minutes to get our first serving after navigating our way through the crowds to find a manageable queue. I was already indignant: “Imagine if we’d paid for these tickets. It’s crazy to think you would pay $125 and wait this long for the food.” Then it dawned on me: An 11 pm dinner at the Fontainebleau is for scenesters, and you’re paying just as much for the milieu and the ubiquitous pumping electro beats of South Beach, as you are for the food.
A scene it was. In addition to Conant, Guarnaschelli, and a gracious (and quite tall) DiSpirito, I spied Dilido Chef and former Top Chef contestant Jeff McInnis, Food TV’s Dinner: Impossible host Robert Irvine , and Guy Fieri-doppelganger Anne Burrell. I thought I spotted Zooey Deschanel, but perhaps it was another doppelganger.
On one visit to the bathroom, I heard increasingly uproarious laughter from outside the stalls and found Chef Guarnaschelli regaling a half dozen or more women with some funny stories, including one about falling flat on her boobs in front of everyone at her restaurant. At first, I thought the women were all friends until I recognized the chef. Maybe they were all friends. She definitely had the delivery down.
After I finally got my first serving of food, I was instantly placated by DiSpirito’s delectable and perfectly al dente shrimp orecchiette. I found a recipe for Rocco’s Shrimp Orecchiette on Cookstr. I’m not certain if this is the exact recipe for the dish served, but it’s quite good.
It turned out that others knew better than I. After we consumed our first dish, the lines thinned out considerably, with almost no waiting time closer to midnight. What initially seemed like slim pickings turned out to be an embarrassment of pasta, and I did eat my fill. The unctuous rabbit cavatelli and the famous Scarpetta tomato-basil spaghetti were also compelling. (Serious Eats has a photo tutorial of how to make the signature spaghetti here.) I was sorry to leave so many toothsome dishes untouched, but after a while, I couldn’t handle the abundant supply.
I tried one, two, three, and then four addictive cream puffs from the dessert table. Rich chocolate truffles, mini carrot cakes, and dulce de leche confections disappeared into the mouths of a hovering crowd as quickly as they were replenished, but the cream puffs were the stuff of memories.