I have a secret to confess.

For someone who loves to cook, it’s not something I’m doing a lot of lately.

The cookbooks are there, but the cupboard is bare- except for the third drawer in the kitchen, which is starting to overflow with takeaway tupperware.

I promised the Hungry One a black forest cake extravaganza for his birthday. I even wrote it on the card. It’s an IOU and I’m kind of hoping he’s forgotten about it- because I’ve lost my mojo.

I’ve been planning on making an osso bucco to feed the hoards while huddling from the cold. But I haven’t got around to doing that.

I’ve been thinking about making a pumpkin lasagne, but haven’t got past contemplating how I’m going to carry a pumpkin home from the shops.

I’ve become a cook- tease.

And here’s the source of my problem; I’ve been having an affair- with Pavarotti.

Downstairs from our apartment there’s an unassuming little place called Pavarotti pizza.

It started as a casual thing, but it’s getting out of hand. I’ve fallen- hard.

If you’re driving by, it doesn’t look like much. There are sometimes cab drivers having a late lunch on the tables outside, grasping a corner of pizza with one hand and shooing away Pepsi- sipping-miscreants slipping back to next door skate park with the other.

Its walls are tiled red, the lights in the corners a little too harsh for date-night and there’s a large communal table that eeks of ‘Bills’-style bonding, but just misses short.

But I’ve only eaten in once- because they deliver upstairs. It’s like some kind of magical room service. It’s much too easy. It’s way too fast.

And their tortellini is far too good.

It’s meaty yet subtle, with veal snuggled inside little pasta packages that have such a sweet cowboy hat charm. I’m a sucker for it.

There are other choices of spaghetti, fetuccine, linquine, penne or gnocchi- but really, they’re just carbohydrates. Then there are the sauces. While it doesn’t always bode well to see mix-and-match, choose your own adventure sauce and carb combos in Italian establishments, here I’m not complaining. Because it’s the variety that’s keeping it interesting.

Some nights I feel like $9 worth of Napoli; tomato, onion, and I’ll add far too much parmesan and a glass of red wine to wash it down.

Others its a little punch I need and I’m happy to cough up another two dollars for the Amatriciana, with onion, pancetta, chilli and a scarlet, not-too-sloppy red sauce.

But most of the time I can’t go past the pesto. It’s ridiculously rich and sees the traditional version bastardised with cream. It’s a basil and parmesan puree that licks around like an oil slick and sticks to your ribs- and your inner thighs.

Occasionally if there’s company we’ll get pizzas, the large vegetarian (with pepperoni) usually makes friends and Maria is worth the novelty of ordering so you can have West Side Story stuck in your head and play Sharks and Jets for 22 minutes while you wait for a crispy base topped with salami, tomato, eggplant, goat’s cheese and bocconcini.

There’s gelato and cannoli and sometimes some cakes and they’ve teased me once or twice when I’m vulnerable with a mystical strachiatella special; a chicken and egg soup which is so good for the soul you don’t care which one thet put in first.

The bottom line is; it’s downstairs.

It’s cheap; one order of tortellini and a home-thrown-together salad can serve two for around $12. It’s too good.

I give myself another month and then I’m going to have to start breaking it off. The tupperware drawer is starting to overflow and the affair has to end sometime.

I need my mojo back. And I owe my husband a chocolate cake.

Pavarotti on Green Square
25-33 Allen St
Waterloo NSW
Tel 9310 2266