According to experts, carbohydrates lead to an increase in serotonin levels. So, that overwhelming desire to eat a pile of noodles literally, and scientifically, makes us feel better. Reaching for a cheesy bowl after an emotionally draining day will pump some feel-good chemicals into your brain.
Since locally-made fresh noodles are not dried and preserved to the degree of boxes at the grocery store for longer shelf life, cooking time is mere minutes once the pot of salted water reaches a rolling boil. A home cook doesn’t need more than a large pot and a strainer to plate up something wonderful.
With warmer days come bright and herbaceous pestos and heirloom tomato sauces gently blitzed with quality olive oil and salt. Done thoughtfully and intentionally, pasta can (and should) be eaten year-round. There’s no time like the present.
New Kids on the Block: Aliment Pasta Co.
Northeast Minneapolis’ Aliment Pasta Co. has recently joined the ranks of other talented and dedicated pasta-makers in the Twin Cities. The dinner boxes for two or four feature classics like cacio e pepe, ravioli, and lasagna yet receive a personal touch. Instead of using spaghetti, the cacio e pepe utilizes a rougher noodle, bigoli, made with locally-milled Baker’s Field flour. This “highly textured spaghetti” is perfect to catch cheesy peppery goodness in every bite. Individual options of both extruded pasta and filled pasta by the pound range in price from $12.50 to $20. Order online for pick up at the Food Building in Northeast.
The Neighborhood Gem: The Bungalow Club
The Bungalow Club in Seward is serving a special pasta menu to benefit local non-profits every Sunday. Children eat for $2 and a portion from each bowl of pasta will be donated. Additionally, on Thursdays and Sundays homemade pasta, sauces, prepared foods, wines, beers, and more are available to purchase and make at home. This cozy neighborhood haunt also boasts one of the most charming patios come summertime. Order online for pick up at the restaurant.
Just Like Nonna Made: Broder’s Pasta Bar
Broder’s Pasta Bar offers a long list of take-out and take-and-bake options. Namely, their hot crab lasagna with five kinds of cheese, roasted red pepper, chives, and paprika smothered with a spicy pomodoro and béchamel can be purchased as a single, two-pack, or pan that serves four to six. For mixing and matching, fresh pasta or imported dried pasta from Italy and sauces, antipasto, extras like a bread basket, and marinated olives, dessert, and wines round out anything a family could need for a night in. The online Broder’s Market provides fresh cheeses, 00 and semolina flour, and cans of San Marzano tomatoes if you’d like to try your hand at rolling out fresh dough yourself and support local business in the same stroke. Containers of their sugo betti, bolognese, and alfredo sauces can now be purchased at the Wedge and Linden Hills Co-op.
Classically Cozy: La Grolla
When you crave something comforting and customizable, La Grolla in St. Paul has a shape and sauce for everyone. Easily recognizable favorites like fettuccine alfredo and penne alla vodka are made with a choice of protein or vegetables and gluten-free pasta to accommodate guests’ allergies. With a large emphasis on dishes from the land and sea, the ravioli di granchio stuffed with stone crab and shrimp in a creamy lobster sauce and tagliata di manzo con rucola with a 14oz ribeye, arugula, gorgonzola, and truffle oil paired with a glass of wine and tiramisu would be perfect for any special occasion.
For Tonight and Tomorrow: Cossetta’s
The all-encompassing stand-by, Cossetta’s, has everything a family could ever want or need. The move, in my opinion, would be to do the weekly grocery shopping of specialty meats, sauces, dry goods, noodles, and whatever else catches your eye and then order something for that evening from their takeaway and delivery menu. Stock your fridge and then plop yourself down on the couch and eat some mostacolli con ricotta.
Date Night: Hyacinth
Something about Hyacinth’s Mediterranean and Southern Italy’s blend of flavors and focus on seasonal produce oozes romance. As the sun starts to shine a little brighter and warmer in Minnesota, their menu will (and has) begin to reflect that. Their natural wine list is perfect to pair with their gorgeous homemade noodles and mains for a date to remember.
With a Japanese Twist: Sanjusan
If you love noodles in all forms and all the time, newcomer Sanjusan is where you should have dinner tomorrow. Their innovative menu highlights seafood and spices beloved in Japanese cuisine. Try something new from their pistachio pesto cavatappi that uses saki in place of white wine in the sauce or a shrimp ravioli with XO butter, chives, and parmesan. Given how incredible their opening menu is, this place is sure to become an instant classic.