Get to know a culture by twirling its pasta
Pasta—that simple alchemy of flour, water and sometimes eggs—is a staple of cuisines throughout the world. From a humble ramen thrown together in a college-dorm kitchen to something extraordinary in the hands of a master chef, there are seemingly endless ways to create pasta dishes that both fill the hungry void and live long in memory. Good pasta starts with good ingredients, but from there, as the following selections show, it’s all about what’s added to it: the sauce, spices, proteins and more.
Every morning for nearly 16 years, the cooks in the prep kitchen of Cucina Toscana start their day with the same ritual: Take a hand-mixed filling of ricotta cheese and spinach and drop spoonfuls onto squares of thin, fresh pasta dough. Fold the dough into a puffy triangle and seal the edges to make an individual ravioli. Then dunk them into boiling water before tossing them into a pan of sauce for finishing, which range from a creamy four-cheese blend to a spicy all’arrabbiata or a simple housemade marinara. One preparation that brings patrons back for more is the signature sauce of melted butter with fresh sage leaves and a small splash of the marinara. A young patron referred to the dish as “little pillows of heaven.” When paired with the housemade potato gnocchi, you have Pasta Duo, the perfect pasta course.
282 S. 300 West, SLC
Intoxicating Rice Noodles
On the north side of Pioneer Park, you’ll find Laan Na Thai cranking big flavors out of their compact restaurant space. Owners Yupin and Wichai Charoen bought the space three years ago and now offer Thai favorites daily, but the drunken noodles are made to order. Just choose the protein and watch wife Yupin work the wok, adding fresh vegetables and Thai basil to the sizzling, thick rice noodles before ladling on a mixture of oyster and soy sauce (with a little sugar, according to husband Wichai). A side of dried chili flakes and a lime complete this crave-inducing dish.
Laan Na Thai
336 W. 300 South, SLC
You could say that change is the only constant in Park City’s dynamic restaurant scene. But for more than 30 years, Adolph’s has remained a haven of international cuisine for locals and visitors. Owner and chef Adolph Imboden might have switched a few things on his menu over the years, but there’s been one constant from Day 1, and that’s the housemade spätzle (which translates from German to “little sparrows”). These pasta-like dumplings favored in the European Alps are served with veal and game dishes such as venison and elk chops. But many regulars order the slightly crispy, chewy spätzle as a side dish.
1500 Kearns Blvd., Park City
The Hare Affair
Handmade pastas are a regular star on the menu at Fireside on Regent, where chef/owner Michael Richey’s team makes several extruded or sheet pastas each day. Richey likes fresh pasta because it can be cooked to order quickly and it allows him to add seasonal herbs or spices to the traditional semolina flour dough. “There is an unmistakable difference when you are eating fresh pasta made that day,” Richey says. He uses ingredients that are “as local as possible,” working with four area farmers for products. He likes to use game with the pastas—such as rabbit—and one happy result of his daring cuisine is the parsley and tarragon ravioli, filled with braised rabbit and ricotta, in a rabbit and sage consommé.
Fireside on Regent
126 S. Regent St., SLC