It is the eternal conundrum – you love Mediterranean cuisine but you can’t decide which sates your palette the best – pizza or pasta.
Trawl the Internet and you will find websites, blogs, community forums and chatrooms dedicated to the cause of resolving this thorny issue, with conflicting opinions aplenty. Meat and vegetables on a doughy base or pieces of wheat cut into shapes and smothered with succulent sauces?
In the case of pasta it is very cheap – supermarkets almost give the stuff away in economy sized packets, and it costs little more even if it is wholewheat or in multiple colours. Boil it in water for a few minutes with a pinch of salt to stop it sticking to the saucepan (unless you use non-stick) and then simply pour on the sauce of your own choice or else top it with something soft, mushy and spicy.
This, of course, is the point often missed during this most essential debate. A pizza, by definition, is what sits upon the base. Is it a Margherita or a Napoletana? A Marinara or a Fiorentina? A pizza is, of course, defined entirely by its ingredients.
Pasta on the other hand is in itself rather bland. It is what one pours over pasta that lends it its character. With a Bolognese it is tomato and mince, on other occasions it can be creamy bacon, mushrooms in sauce or almost anything else one can think of. But the pasta itself is just that.
Wheat, of course, is not a product that is exclusive to Italy or to the Mediterranean. Indeed a friend from the North East swears that it originated in “Durum”.
Nonetheless the huge array of sauces – tomato-based, creamy, chilli and so many others – lend pasta an unmistakable Italian “feel”.
Interestingly, despite being more difficult to make and more expensive to source pizza invariably comes out on top whenever a poll is conducted. Where Italian food is concerned pizza continues to be the standard bearer.
But at Eco Restaurant, one of the more popular Italian restaurants in Clapham, they play it safe. An impressive and diverse array of pizza options is supplemented by an extensive range of pasta choices, from ravioli dishes to spaghetti, with sauces from wild mushroom, through seafood to spicy chicken and zucchini.
There is one other advantage that pizza has over pasta that we omitted to mention. It can be eaten on the move, or whilst standing up. At Eco, with our generous seating plan and well-organised booking system, that is unlikely ever to be an issue.