There’s more pasta shapes than it makes sense to count (we’re writers, not mathematicians), but we rounded up nine different noodle shapes that you can try throughout Boston.
Giulia’s in-house pasta program is extensive, producing as many as eight to 10 different shapes daily. The pappardelle with wild boar ($23) has been on its menu since the restaurant opened in December 2012, and chef/owner Michael Pagliarini has no plans to take it off anytime soon. This noodle is fashioned in the style of Emilia-Romagna—with a dough made from egg yolks, olive oil and a combination of semolina “rimacinata” and double-zero flours—and then topped with black trumpet, juniper and Parmigiano.
MIDA chef/owner Douglass Williams has a thing for his bucatini all’Amatriciana ($21) thanks to the long noodle shape. “[It’s] mostly because of the density and dynamic of its hidden space that runs through the entire noodle,” says Williams, who tops the bucatini with San Marzano tomato, guanciale and pecorino. Williams keeps this particular noodle—one of eight that MIDA currently has in rotation—on hand for everything from specials to the Della Casa prix fixe menu and Mangia Pasta Mondays ($35), a weekly event where guests can eat all the housemade pasta, salad and bread their hearts desire.
It remains all in the family at Nebo, where chef/owner Carla and Christine Pallotta’s 83-year-old mother Angelina still comes into the restaurant to teach the new pasta prep makers. She brings her own rolling pin, pasta wheel and ravioli cutter, all of which are more than 120 years old and belonged to her own mother. “We tend to make pasta which our mother made for us while growing up,” Carla says. This tagliatelle cappesante ($27), served with light mascarpone cream sauce and seared sea scallops, features lemon pasta that’s created by adding juice and zest to the dough before it’s rolled out, folded into a cylinder and then cut and tossed to unravel.
I get really jazzed up when I talk to the service team about this dish,” says Salty Pig chef Michael Bergin about the fazzoletti ($9, small/$16, large) that’s served with mushroom broth, cloumage cheese and rye crumbs. “It is so simple but carries so much flavor.” That flavor comes from an extensive process used to create the broth, which involves putting the mushrooms through a meat grinder before they’re cooked. And the flat pasta shape is important too—Bergin specifically chose it because it nicely adheres to the mushroom broth.
While all the pasta at Posto is made in house, its gnocchi ($23) with braised beef short ribs, red wine sauce and Parmesan crema has stood above the rest since its inclusion on the opening menu. “The dumpling-like texture and soft cloud-like consistency make for a perfect dish that will not make you too full, but will only make you wonder if you should ask for another order,” says chef Joe Carli, who adds that the consistency is key: With each batch of dough, a few pieces are rolled out and cooked ahead of the rest to make sure the texture is just right.
For Venezia’s fusilli alla vodka ($25), chef Gianni Caruso uses a special machine to spin semolina-
based dough into a traditional twisted shape. The corkscrew noodles are then tossed in a rich vodka sauce made from butter, leeks, parsley, cream, tomatoes and smoked salmon and finally finished with a splash of vodka that’s cooked off before making its way to guests’ tables.
With two cooks kneading 20 pounds of dough daily, Sportello is no stranger to fresh pasta. For a more rustic feel, its strozzapreti ($27) features hand-rolled pasta and is also served with rabbit legs that are braised for two hours in herbs, butter and white wine. After the meat joins the strozzapreti in a pan with more butter, braising liquid and fresh rosemary, the dish is sprinkled with Picholine olives and shards of Parmigiano-
At Coppa, groovy cavatelli is made fresh daily from double-zero semolina flour and water, which makes for a chewy dough that lends well to a stewed, braised dish. Chef/co-owner Jamie Bissonnette starts off the cavatelli con pollo ($15, small/$24, large) with housemade chicken sausage and a sauce that’s slowly reduced with ground broccoli, onion, white wine, olive oil and tomato. After two hours, Bissonnette adds the cooked-to-order pasta and finishes the dish with oregano, chili flake, fennel pollen and Parmesan.
La Morra’s fettucelle con salsiccia di pollo ($14/$25), featuring a wide noodle three times the thickness of tagliatelle, is made using a simple Piemontese recipe of egg yolks and flour. An electric pasta machine from 1940s Italy lends a hand to the process before the ribbon-shaped pasta is cooked and tossed with chicken sausage, local red Russian kale and walnuts, dressed in a flavorful chicken fat sauce and topped with pecorino.