Pasta Dinner Giveaway!

linguineI’ll admit it, at about 8:30 this morning, I was craving pasta. On my walk to work, I was listening to chef Scott Conant on Marc Maron’s podcast talk about his infamous spaghetti with red sauce. He revealed how he first infuses oil with garlic and basil, only uses fresh tomatoes (!!), and that he finishes the sauce with a little butter. My compulsion for fresh pasta was definitely pretty strong once I got to Old Town. Then I remembered that Lardo chef Rick Gencarelli is opening his new pasta spot in Southwest Portland called Grassa on June 11th, and I felt a little better.

From what I’ve learned, Gencarelli’s vision for the restaurant is homemade pasta in a more casual and affordable setting than other Portland establishments. The menu I saw already has about 9,000 things I’d like to try, from bucatini zucchini with fried squash blossoms to ricotta gnocchi with San Marzano butter sauce and chives.

The restaurant officially opens June 11th, but this Thursday and Friday nights they will be holding *FREE* preview dinners for a handful of pasta lovers. Want a pair of tickets to one of these dinners? Tell me in the comments about your favorite homemade pasta dish. Is it your dad’s slow-cooked chicken cacciatore? Your boyfriend’s homemade ravioli? Be descriptive! I’ll choose and contact the winner tomorrow afternoon.

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12 thoughts on “Pasta Dinner Giveaway!

  1. My favorite homemade pasta dish was my grandmother’s pantry pasta. She was the best cook in the world, and the meals she carefully planned out were to die for.

    But, because she had a pool, during the dog days of summer, neighbors, acquaintances and friends were often dropping by unannounced, much to her chagrin! She ‘invented’ a quick dish which was lasagna noddles, boiled al dente then sauteed in butter, with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. She would then blanch what she had on hand, cannelini beans, cherry tomatoes, or chopped broccolini. She would fold in ricotta, fresh mozzarella or feta cheese and cover in bread crumbs. She would run to the back yard and grab any herbs that hadn’t been completely picked over by my cousins and I. Perhaps it was lemon thyme, basil or fresh sage. It was cheap, quick, hearty, and although the ingredients rotated, each version was better than the last. And you know what the best part was? It was made by her.

  2. My favorite homemade pasta dish is one that my mother makes. She says it originated in Singapore; I’m not sure about that, but it is delicious. It includes spaghetti noddles, a coconut curry poured on top, then a spicy, tomato-y meat curry on top of that! After all that, you can customize the dish by adding hard-boiled eggs, scallions, crispy noodles and chili oil. So so good!

  3. Kat’s pasta is the best pasta. She makes it and it is delicious when I eat it (in the future).

  4. Three home-made dishes come to mind, all incredibly simple and delicious. Casunziei Ampezzani are ravioli from the Dolomites, filled with beets and ricotta and finished with butter and poppy seeds. Casarecce from Sicily is a hand-formed pasta with tuna, lemon and garlic breadcrumbs. Pasta cacio e pepe from Rome… my version is slightly different from the Roman classic. The pasta is infused with pepper and minced lemon rind; and once cooked, is sauteed in lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil and a little garlic, and finshed with Parmigiano-Reggiano, fresh ground pepper and Italian parsley leaves. The key to these dishes is freshly made pasta, made by hand without the aid of blenders or pasta machines. The dough is rolled on a counter with a long wooden dowel. The entire experience is slow and sensual, and the results are very satisfying.

  5. Three dishes come to mind…
    1. Casunziei Ampezzani from The Dolomites. Ravioli filled with beets and ricotta, finished in browned butter and topped with poppy seeds and asiago.
    2. Cacio e Pepe from Rome. Pasta finished in butter with black pepper and Pecorino Romano. I make mine with home-made pasta infused with a little pepper and minced lemon rind, then finished in lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil, a little minced garlic, pepper, parsley leaves and the pecorino.
    3. Casarecce from Sicily. Hand rolled pasta (tube-like shape) with tune, lemon and toasted garlic breadcrumbs.
    The keys to these dishes are their simplicity and reliance on fresh, hand-made pasta. All I use is a bowl and a long wooden dowl. No machinery gets between me and the dough. The experience is slow and sensual… and the results are simply delicious.

  6. My favorite is definitely Linguini, Kale and Lemon (with a generous helping of pine nuts, garlic, and cheese). I can almost guarantee we found it on Kat’s Facebook page, but it has rapidly become a staple of the easy, delicious dinners upon which we thrive.
    (Avocado Pesto is also hard to beat, though!)

  7. My favorite pasta dish is Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, which dates back to the early 20th century in Michigan, where egg noodles and ketchup were the gastronomical norm. After boiling the dino shapes (those are my favorite) in a light broth of salt and lard, I add several sticks of butter, a gallon of milk, and massage it into those f*cking dinosaurs like they asked for it. The experience is kinda rough and tumble, but those noodles get the goddamn message. After consuming, I like to wash the whole concoction down with a 2 liter container of Mountain Dew White Out (or Code Red, if you’re craving some freshly-squeezed flavor). Following that, I sit on the toilet for about three hours and contemplate Top Ramen.

    • I should add that the whole experience is heightened by coating the dinos in ketchup and mustard, then eating vigorously using only your hands. Like Dan Vizzini, no machinery gets between me and my cheezy dinos.

  8. My favorite is a variation of the American-style spaghetti sauce my mom made very often growing up– it’s just ground beef and garlic, plus a pureed can of tomatoes + onion + garlic, and some more diced tomatoes and their juice, and a bunch of tomato paste, salt and pepper, basil and oregano, simmered for at least half an hour and served over any pasta. It’s thick and drowns the pasta but it’s also delicious and filling and scales well for a crowd or stores well for leftovers.

    When I’m feeling more like a dish that’s about the pasta as an ingredient rather than a vehicle for sauce, my favorite thing to do lately is just cook garlic, maybe onion, and maybe some sausage or beef or chicken or sun dried tomatoes, in olive oil with some herbs or vegetables. I cook the pasta while taking care of the aromatics+oil+savoriness+herbs/veggies, and when the pasta’s almost done, throw it in the sauce pan with a ladle-ful or two of the pasta water. The pasta finishes cooking a bit more with all the flavors, and the starch in the pasta water makes the pan full of flavorful stuff come together into a sauce that sticks to the pasta really nicely.

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