Mangiamo La Pasta!

by Brennah Dallaire

Let’s eat pasta!

Mark your calendars for National Pasta Day on Tuesday, Oct. 17. Go out, stay in, cook with friends, but whatever you do celebrate this holiday will a delicious dish of your favorite pasta.

According to nationalpastaday.com there are over 600 types of pasta. A few of the most famous types includes spaghetti, rigatoni, ravioli, penne, linguini and tortellini. In Italian, pasta is the word for dough and was adapted to describe what we know as the noodle course.

In Italy, pasta is eaten as a course of a meal but not the main entree as we typically eat it in the United States. Many pasta enthusiasts belief that pasta was invented by Marco Polo. However, nationalpastaday.com reports that the earliest pasta recipe was found in the will of a man named Ponzio Bastone in 1279. According to this account, Bastone included a simple recipe of water and flour to create macaroni.

It wasn’t until Thomas Jefferson served as an ambassador in France in 1789, that he was served pasta and enjoyed it so much that he brought the first pasta machine to America. Americans didn’t know how much they were missing out.

Connecticut food blog,  ctfoodlovers has featured local restaurants gourmet pasta dishes including:

  • Fettuccini Alfredo from Fratelli’s, Southington,
  • Baked Penne Macaroni & Cheese from The Corner Pug, West Hartford
  • Fresh Bucatini Marinara with “Giant Meatballs” from Blue Plate Kitchen, West Hartford
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs from Joe Pizza, Simsbury
  • Rigatoni Bolognese from Carbone’s, Hartford.

If you’re looking for something close to campus, look no further than Tony’s Central Pizza. Tony’s offers a range of Italian dinners that all include pasta. Options include ravioli, manicotti, baked ziti, eggplant parmesan and more.

If you are interested in indulging your palate, take a trip to Alta Strada, located in the Fox Tower at Foxwoods Resort and Casino. The restaurant makes their pasta fresh daily. The prices per entree range from $19-$30. OpenTable and TripAdvisor reviews give Alta Strada four out of five stars, while Yelp reviews give the restaurant a modest three stars. According to the restaurant’s website, “Alta Strada is considered one of the best, most authentic Italian restaurants in CT.”

Celebrating National Pasta Day doesn’t have to mean eating out. Celebrate the holiday by cooking at home. You don’t necessarily need a pasta machine to enjoy your favorite dish. Below is a recipe for “Tagliatelle alla Bolognese” adapted from the Eataly recipe found at eataly.com

Ingredients:

1 pound dried or fresh Tagliatelle pasta

2 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, minced
1 small carrot, minced
1 celery stalk, minced
1 tbsp garlic, minced
4 ounces (1/4 lb) ground veal
4 ounces (1/4 lb) ground pork
4 ounces (1/4 lb) ground beef
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken or beef stock
Fine sea salt, to taste

Instructions:

In a large skillet over medium heat, melt the butter with the olive oil. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent (5 minutes). Add the carrot, celery and garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until softened and fragrant, for about 2 minutes.

Combine the veal, pork and beef in the pot. Season with fine sea salt. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the meat has rendered most of its fat and has started to brown (5 minutes). Remove some of the rendered fat leaving just enough to cover the bottom of the pan (lean meats will render less).

Add the wine, and increase the heat to medium. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the wine has evaporated (6 minutes).

Decrease the heat to low, add the tomato paste, stir to combine and cook, stirring frequently (20 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add the stock and adjust the heat to simmer until the stock has reduced but the sauce is still moist (about 45 minutes). Taste the sauce, adjust the seasoning if necessary and remove from the heat.

Remember the best way to eat pasta is to enjoy it with friends and family. Mangia e goditi! Eat and enjoy!