North End restaurant with homemade pasta
- Jpan99 Mar 16, 2012 07:41 AM
I'm looking for a a restaurant in the North End that makes their own pasta, has entrees under $25 and preferably not a line of tourists waiting to get in!
There are hundreds of threads on CH talking about the North End. I'd wager it's the single most discussed topic. Do a search.
Trattoria di Monica and Vinoteca di Monica both have fresh pasta entrees under $25. They also both take reservations and aren't on the two main streets, so that cuts down on tourists. The Trattoria is much smaller. A loud space with brick walls. A little more casual. Priced a little lower. The Vinoteca is much larger. Has white tablecloths. Often has some inventive specials that might pass the $25 mark. The single best pasta course of my life, gnocchi with venison ragout, was had at the Vinoteca. They often have venison and rabbit, because someone in the kitchen is a big hunter.
Be aware that just because a restaurant serves fresh pasta doesn't mean it only serves fresh pasta, so ask which dishes have which. Some pasta dishes are better made with dried than fresh, anyway, and shape matters, too. The indispensable Marcella Hazan on this topic:
"The exceptional firmness, the compact body, the grainier texture of factory-made pasta makes it the first choice when a sauce is based on olive oil, such as must seafood sauces and the great variety of light vegetable sauces. That is not to say, however, that you must pass up all butter-based sauces. Boxed, dry pasta can establish a most enjoyable liaison with some of them, but the result will be different, weightier, more substantial.
When you use factory-made pasta, your choice of sauce will be affected by the shape. Spaghettini, thin spaghetti, is usually the best vehicle for an olive-oil-based seafood sauce. Many tomato sauces, particularly when made with butter, work better with thicker spaghetti, in some cases with the hollow strands known as bucatini or perciatelli. Meat sauces or other chunky sauces nest best in larger hollow tubes such as rigatoni and penne, or in the cupped shape of conchiglie [shells]. Fusilli are marvelous with a dense, creamy sauce, such as sausages and cream sauce, which clings to all its twists and curls.
Factory-made pasta carries sauce firmly and boldly; homemade pasta absorbs it deeply. Good, fresh pasta made at home has a gossamer touch on the palate, it feels light and buoyant in the mouth. Most olive oil sauces obliterate its fine texture, making it slick, and strong flavors deaden it. Its most pleasing match is with subtly constituted sauces, be they with seafood, meat, or vegetable, generally based on butter and often enriched by cream or milk."