Published on May 25, 2016

13 Fresh Pastas to Keep a Spring in Your Step

Everyone loves a big bowl of pasta, and luckily, lots of restaurants are crafting lighter, warm-weather versions of this comfort-food classic. So fear not, noodle lovers! There are plenty of great vegetable-forward, herb-driven pastas that'll help you keep a spring in your step.

Dating all the way back to 1154 in Sicily, Italy, today's pasta — a noodle typically made from an unleavened dough of wheat flour mixed with water or eggs — comes in over 310 lovable shapes and varieties and is known by over 1,300 different names! From penne with peas to macaroni and mint, this delicious Italian staple lends itself to all kinds of fresh, seasonal possibilities.

Here are 13 pastas that’ll keep you smiling from spring till summer. Buon appetito!


1. GARGANELLI - Osteria Morini (New York)

Osteria Morini Photo provided by Osteria Morini. Photo by Ted Axelrod.

Osteria Morini’s renowned chef, Michael White, dishes out fantastic Italian pastas made fresh in-house and inspired by the Emilia-Romagna region, like the Garganelli pasta quills made with cream, peas, truffle butter and prosciutto.

2. MUSSELS & LINGUINE - Brass Union (Boston)

Brass Union Photo provided by Brass Union.

Brass Union features delicious bistro fare, such as their Mussels & Linguine dish with spring garlic, cream and roasted tomatoes — a lovely dish befitting the chic, tavern-like space.

3. PAPPARDELLI PASTA - Myriad Gastro Pub (San Francisco)

SF - Myriad Gastro Pub Photo provided by Myriad Gastro Pub.

At Myriad Gastro Pub, Chef/Owner Trish Tracey dishes out globally inspired comfort food classics finished with fresh California twists like in one of her favorites, the Pappardelle Pasta, prepared with pork cheeks, peas, kale, brown beech mushrooms, tarragon and pecorino.

4. MACCHERONI ALLA MUGNAIA - Le Virtu (Philadelphia)

Philly - Le Virtu Photo provided by Le Virtu.

Le Virtu showcases the cuisine of central Italy — Abruzzo specifically — highlighting the region’s love of pasta. Try their Maccheroni Alla Mugnaia, made with hand-pulled, single-strand pasta, garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, hot pepper and pecorino, for a bold and spicy spring kick.

5. PASTA FATTA IN HOUSE - Casa Luca (Washington D.C.)

Casa Luca Photo provided by Casa Luca.

Laid-back, rustic Italian eatery Casa Luca offers a variety of pastas under the “Pasta Fatta in Casa” — meaning “pastas made daily in house” — section of its menu, such as their Ravioli San Leo, Smoked Potato Gnocchi and Trenette Nere (squid ink pasta).

6. TINY VEAL TORTELLINI - Pastoral (Boston)

Boston - Pastoral Photo provided by Pastoral.

Serving irresistible Italian fare, Pastoral creates artisanal wood-fired pizzas and handcrafted pastas, including Tiny Veal Tortellini, made with 'Nduja meatballs, English peas, mint and capon reduction.

7. CANNELLONI SALTIMBOCCA - Monteverde (Chicago)

Chicago - Monteverde Photo provided by Monteverde. Photo by Ashley Ryann.

Top Chef alum Sarah Grueneberg’s new restaurant, Monteverde, replicates an at-home dining experience. She takes a modern approach to authentic Italian cuisine with dishes such as the Cannelloni Saltimbocca, made with merguez lamb sausage, manchego, peas, harissa (Tunisian hot chili pepper paste) and balsamico (balsamic vinaigrette).

8. TAGLIATELLE - Jardinière (San Francisco)

SF - Jardiniere Photo provided by Jardinière.

Jardinière serves French-California fare made from sustainable and local ingredients with deliciously exotic twists, like a tagliatelle pasta with sea urchin.

9. BUCATINI WITH JALAPEÑO AND ALMOND PESTO - Amis Trattoria (Philadelphia)

Amis Trattoria Photo provided by Amis Trattoria.

Amis Trattoria brings Roman-style Italian flavors to life with zesty pastas like the Bucatini with Jalapeño and Almond Pesto, one of many fresh dishes prepared in the open kitchen of the loft-like space.

10. LINGUINE A.O.P. - Sessanta (New York)

Photo provided by Sessanta. Photo provided by Sessanta.

Inspired by the flavors of Southern Italy, Sessanta serves an array of crudo, seafood and creative pasta dishes, including the Linguine A.O.P. with garlic, olive oil, pepperoncini (hot chili peppers) and toasted bread crumbs; Ravioli with burrata, almond pesto, mint and lemon zest; and a Pasta Con Sarde (pasta with sardines) with fresh fennel, raisins and pine nuts.

11. LOBSTER TORTELLONI - Tosca (Washington D.C.)

Tosca Photo provided by Tosca.

Delivering Northern Italian cuisine, Tosca focuses on local produce and fresh house-made pastas, such as their Tortelloni Maine — lobster- and burrata-stuffed pasta served with heirloom cherry tomato, braised leeks and lobster bisque.

12. VARIOUS PASTAS - Drago Centro (Los Angeles)

LA - Drago Centro Photo provided by Drago Centro.

With fresh twists on authentic Italian dishes, Drago Centro offers various pastas under the “Primi Piatti” — meaning “first course” — section of its menu, including a pappardelle with mushrooms, fettucine with black pepper and pecorino, and spaghetti with Sicilian almond-tomato and basil pesto.

13. SAFFRON SPAGHETTI - Sbraga (Philadelphia)

Photo provided by Sbraga. Photo by Michael Persico. Photo provided by Sbraga. Photo by Michael Persico.

Sbraga, a modern American favorite in Philadelphia, delights with its famed Saffron Spaghetti — made with fresh king crab, tomato butter and Calabrian chili.

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