A Fork on the Road

A Peruvian-Italian taste sensation on South Beach


If you go

What: Cecci Italian Peruvian Kitchen

Address: 1541 Washington Ave., Miami Beach

Contact: 305-695-4025, ceccisouthbeach.com

Hours: 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. daily

Prices: Ceviche $10-$12.95, pasta and pizza $9.95-$14.95, Peruvian entrees $10.95-$13.95

Main dish

Pasta with Peruvian Chile-Cheese Sauce

This dish combines my take on huancaina sauce with pasta. Ají amarillo paste is available in most South Florida supermarkets. You may substitute 2 pureed jalapeños.

4 ounces queso blanco (fresh white cheese), crumbled

1 generous tablespoon ají amarillo paste

1/2 cup olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 pound pasta, preferably fettuccine, cooked until al dente

Fresh basil leaves, cut in fine ribbons

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

In a blender or food processor, process the white cheese, ají amarillo paste and oil until smooth and creamy, adding a little extra oil if necessary to emulsify. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Pour the sauce over the drained pasta and toss to coat. Garnish with basil shreds and Parmesan. Makes 6 servings.

Source: Linda Bladholm

Per serving: 498 calories (43 percent from fat), 23.7 g fat (5.3 g saturated, 14.4g monounsaturated), 13 mg cholesterol, 13.7 g protein, 57 g carbohydrates, 2.4 g fiber, 138 mg sodium.


The logo at Cecci Italian Peruvian Kitchen is a fish eating a slice of pizza, symbolizing the union of sea and land here. There are pies, pastas and tiraditos, ceviches and saltados (stir-fries) plus creations like pizza a lo macho topped with seafood cream, octopus, shrimp and calamari, and fettuccine in ají amarillo-spiked huancaina cheese sauce served with steak.

Peruvian-Italian chef and owner Daniela Salerno Bernaza runs the fast-casual place with her husband, Octavio “Chino” Bernaza, son Cesare Salerno and Ecuadorean-born daughter-in-law Stephanie Pasternak.

The family got into the business 15 years ago when Daniela inherited a hacienda in the town of Chaclacayo, east of Lima. They turned it into a restaurant named for her father, Cecci (“chechee”), and expanded to Miami Beach a month ago.

Like many Peruvian families, Del Mastro’s emigrated to South America after World War II, bringing their culinary traditions and adapting them to new ingredients.

Start here with cevichitos (mini ceviches) at $1.50 a pop including grouper with red onions, avocado chunks and crunchy cancha corn kernels or scallop bits in pisco sauce under a broiled Parmesan crust.

Causitas are mashed potato cakes stuffed with chicken, grilled octopus or shrimp , rolled into logs and cut into small slices like sushi, topped with flavored creams.

Plate-size ravioli squares are filled with ají de gallina (spiced, shredded chicken) napped in béchamel with olive and onion salsa

There’s also ceviche pizza with citrus-marinated shrimp on mozzarella, and the Doña Paula sandwich with crisp fried pork and sweet potatoes in Creole sauce.

Lucuma mousse, made with an Andean fruit that tastes like butterscotch and dates, sweetly folds Peru into a European dessert.

Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.

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