National Pasta Day is today -- a reminder, if not an incentive, for for pasta lovers all around town to indulge. Houston has many excellent restaurants where one can celebrate.
For a taste of stellar house-made pappardelle bolognese, Best of Houston Italian Restaurant winner Ciao Bello is the place. Their sweet corn pansoti is also insanely good (you can get this and other hand-made pastas at sister restaurants Vallone's and Tony's as well). At Giacomo's Cibo e Vino, artisanal, hand-made pastas by Lynette Hawkins are also delicious --try the tortielli de bietola, ravioli stuffed with swiss chard, ricotta, goat cheese and finished with a sage and butter sauce.
At Paulie's, get spiced up with their house-made bucatini Amatraciana, available in half or full portions. Then there's good ole' Prego in Rice Village, where the pappardelle con coniglio, a wide-fettuccine pasta with braised texas rabbit and ragu sauce is nothing short of divine. Not far away in the Rice Village, D'Amico's offers hand-made pastas to-go, as well as a very popular crawfish ravioli. If you love spaghetti carbonara, chef Brandi Key offers one of the coolest versions in the city at hotspot Coppa Osteria.
Go high end with wagyu bolognese lasagna from Quattro at the Four Seasons. At Ristorante Cavour at the Hotel Granduca, splurge on Spaghetti di oro e granchio, a Gold Cut Spaghetti with Lump Blue Crab, Oregano, and Chili, or indulge in anything with truffle. Speaking of truffle, it's in season right now, and two of the best places to get freshly shaved truffle pasta are Tony's and Da Marco.
Provisions' ever-popular cresta di gallo -- twisty shaped house-made pasta made with hen of the woods, roasted yeast, and parmesan, is also a must. Arturo Boada's pasta selection includes Mama Sonia's ravioli, stuffed with chicken and porcini in a white cream sauce, and topped with jumbo lump crab meat.
In Memorial, head to family friendly Carmelo's for live accordian music by Pino Virga, and relax with one of five specialty pastas -- such as the Stracci with Chicken Ragu, Ricotta and Fennel -- that they've created in honor of National Pasta month.
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In the Medical Center, visit Trevisio for Paccheri, made with pancetta, butternut squash, kale, wild mushrooms, spicy pomodoro sauce.
At Poscol, the thing to get is their pheasant pappardelle, but their vegetarian cannelloni with brocolli, tomato and reggiano is also excellent -- both a great value at just $10. Across the street at sister restaurant Dolce Vita, pastas will run $12, like the orecchiette with escarole and sweet sausage. Sister restaurant Da Marco's pasta down the street run a little higher, but the sweet corn ravioli with lobster is worth it.
For a steal of a deal, however, and certainly the best value you'll find in Houston on National Pasta Day, head to Damian's Cucina Italiana in Midtown. During the month of October -- National Pasta Month -- Damian's is offering their famous spaghetti and Mama Mandola's meatballs for just $8.30 (the regular price is $16) during the Friday lunch hour.
In honor of National Pasta Day, Damian's is extending that $8.30 deal so that it runs all day long. That's less than $10 for a plate of spaghetti and meatballs as good as your Italian grandmother might make -- and one helluva reason to celebrate.