Is pasta the most perfect comfort food ever invented?
For my money, anyway, a perfect bowl of pasta blows french fries, donuts, and cupcakes out of the water.
And that’s what I got at Palatucci’s when we went there for an unfashionably early dinner on Wednesday night.
For vegetarians who eat cheese, there are always two really good pasta options: pasta in red sauce and cheesy pasta. Then add some veggies to these good bases, and I’m in heaven.
We ran that gamut at Palatucci’s. The crime partner got the spaghetti marinara with fresh basil (with meatballs on the side; he’s a crime partner, not a vegetarian). Since the meatballs were separate, this was a really good opportunity to report on the quality of the spaghetti and red sauce.
I got a cheesy pasta that I would describe as ribbon noodles, both spinach and white, so they were a riot of color.
This was already pretty delicious and then they added asparagus. Perfect. (Forgive me for not using the correct Italian terms for dishes. It took me ten minutes to spell Palatucci’s and I’m still not confident I got it right.)
The pasta is house-made, and they have the recipe down. It’s the perfect degree of al dente (loosely translated that means “chewability”). My palate may not be perfect, but I can tell the difference between homemade pasta and what comes out of the box.
There is NOTHING so good as homemade pasta.
It was so good, I briefly flirted with the idea of making my own pasta, then remembered the size of my kitchen and realized I would lose two bedrooms in the remodel.
Around the time that the crime partner was further explaining the impossibility of making our own noodles, Chef Richard Britney put in an appearance.
He told us that he spent quite some time coming up with the perfect pasta recipe, which turns out to be seventy-five percent semolina to twenty-five percent flour.
“Everything is from Italy,” he explained. (Somebody get him to a local farmer’s market!)
Let me not forget to praise the “Mama’s salad” that I killed for my first course. It featured really fresh salad greens with some razor thin red turnip slices.
Vegetarians will have no trouble finding something to eat here, vegans not so much. Our waitress explained that the pasta contains a quantum of egg as does the focaccia.
In my opinion, a perfect bowl of pasta must be eaten with a glass of red wine (and don’t give me this white wine with vegetables crap). We both got glasses of a Francis Ford Coppola red.
“Man makes a good wine, for a movie maker,” I said, taking another sip.
“Man makes a good movie for a wine maker,” he quipped back.
It grew on me until it was gone.