Imagine an express pasta place on every corner, where you could get a tall, grande or venti size fix of macaroni with a choice of sauce.
That’s exactly what the partners behind Spaghetto envision starting with their first location on South Beach, open since October. The concept is fast-casual with a traditional, premium and gourmet pastas in small, medium and large portions with a choice of nine sauces (four of them at no extra charge) including butter and sage, spicy arrabbiata and creamy pink.
The place is named for a single strand of spaghetti and is run by an Italian team from Rome with Fabio Cragnotti at the helm. He came to South Florida four years ago after selling his family-owned industrial food company to buy Tortellini & Co pasta factory in Davie. His restaurateur friend, Matteo Villarini, is a partner and the manager.
Pastas are flash frozen, dropped in boiling water, then sautéed in oil or butter with sauce, the secret to a good plate of Roman pasta. Budget pastas include bucatini, fettuccine and fusilli. Upwardly mobile choices include fiocchetto purses stuffed with seasoned ground beef and cheese tortellini.
Those who have arrived can get ravioli pillows stuffed with lobster, porcini or ricotta and spinach slicked in rich carbonara sauce (developed after World War II when Italy was awash in eggs and bacon supplied by U.S. troops). The unctuous rendition here uses crisped bits of pancetta and lots of Parmesan and pepper.
There are also bolognese, pesto and alfredo sauces to pair with the pastas. And when in Rome … end a meal with tiramisu.
Linda Bladholm is a Miami food writer and personal chef who blogs at FoodIndiaCook.com.