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Taste the Art of Handmade Pasta

So you think, pasta is simple. The reality is centuries of Italian invention, industry, agriculture, hunger and politics have shaped pasta into its myriad forms and flavors. Pasta is different all across Italy. In the poorer South, pastas of semolina and water are shaped by hand into chunky peasant forms (ie: orecchiette). In South-Central Italy, the same semolina dough is extruded by machine into simple long shapes and complex short ones, then dried and packaged (ie: spaghetti, rigatoni, penne). North and North-Central Italy – wealthier by far – uses expensive egg yolks and refined flours to make silky ribbons and tiny stuffed shapes (ie: tagliatelle, tortellini). In the far North – cold and under the influence of Germany and Eastern Europe – white flour is often replaced by other starches: bread crumbs, chestnut, buckwheat, and rye (ie: pizzoccheri). The properties of each type of dough and the tastes and traditions of each region also determines what sauce to be used. Choosing the right pasta shape to go with the right sauce is a serious Italian preoccupation.

One of our focuses has always been to serve a variety of handmade pastas, an art that even in Italy is becoming harder to find in restaurants today.  When you have a pasta craving, put your carb-free diet on hold for the day and dive into a bowl of steaming homemade pasta! If you’d like the toothy experience of a thick, handmade spaghetti-like pasta, choose Pici All’Aglione with the simplicity of tomato and garlic sauce garnished with ricotta. For a taste of Tuscany, try Rigatoni Strascicate – literally means the pasta is “dragged through” our classic 12-hour simmered sugo.

Handmade spinach and ricotta filled tortelloni is a dish we have been serving since we opened with three sauce variations – classic butter and fresh sage; Florentine tomato and cream; or the seasonal corn and roasted mushrooms. Taglierini Alle Vongole (pictured) is a fine egg pasta gently tossed with little neck clams and roasted zucchini, while Cavatelli Neri is pasta flavored with squid ink and extruded through a brass die to form short, twisted cylinders sauced with our house-made fennel sausage, gulf shrimp and diced, fresh tomato. Consumed with a glass of Italian wine, a good plate of pasta is one of life’s little pleasures! Give yourself a mid-week treat, and stop at our bar for a quick flavorful dinner.

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