But I would speak up on behalf of Zuppa's rigatoni ($17) al ragu di Campania: long tubes tossed with long-simmered minced pork, shreds of spigarello kale, and clumps of cacciocavallo cheese, a onetime Sicilian specialty now produced throughout the south of Italy. (Campania is the region around the southern city of Naples, including Mount Vesuvius.) The ensemble sauce is very hearty and warming on a cold winter's night, and simmering a ragu is the sort of time-intensive operation a restaurant kitchen is going to be in a better position to undertake than most home cooks, even ambitious ones.
Just as tasty was a plate of linguini ($17) in a seafood marinara sauce. The seafood was supposed to be local squid, but we were told the kitchen was substituting rock shrimp instead. This struck me as a favorable switch, since shrimp of any kind are reliably sweet, whereas squid can bring an unwanted bitterness if not handled properly. Tomato and oregano with a counterpoint of briny sweetness is a potent melody.
The menu follows Italian practice in designating pasta dishes as primi and the heavier flesh courses as secondi. (You can also get contorni, or side dishes, such as verdure [$6], perhaps a medley of kale varieties braised with garlic and pancetta.) But if you make do with pasta as a main dish, you might find that you have room left for dessert, such as a block of chocolate-pumpkin brownie ($8), fabulously moist, piped with chocolate sauce and topped with a helmet no, a globe! of cinnamon gelato.
Dinner: Mon.Thurs., 5:3010 p.m.; Fri.Sat., 5:3011 p.m.; Sun., 59 p.m.
Lunch: Mon.Fri., 11:30 a.m.2:30 p.m.
564 Fourth St., SF
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