Photography by Greg Rannells
The explosion of fresh-made pasta is one of the most welcome trends in local dining. It’s showing up on menus regularly, many times as a nightly special, but increasingly as a cornerstone of a restaurant’s offerings. Tower Grove South’s own Mangia Italiano (dineatmangia.net) has been in the fresh noodle game since 1983 and has become known for its lasagna Bolognese—with sheets of thick pasta, crisp on the edges from the oven, layered with cheese, beef, and salsiccia.
Since it opened in December 2012, Basso (basso-stl.com) has drawn diners with its cacio e pepe, featuring fresh linguine bespeckled with flakes of cracked black pepper and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Stellina (stellinapasta.com) changes its menu nightly; it keeps the focus on hearty pastas that can stand up to rustic vegetable pairings, but are equally at home when drizzled with olive oil.
Rock Hill newcomer Katie’s Pizza & Pasta (katiespizzaandpasta.com) offers up a roster of classic pasta shapes to tempt diners in the county, including a spaghetti dressed in pine-nut pesto and adorned with burrata—a fresh mozzarella cheese with a gooey, decadent core.
It is nationally lauded chef Gerard Craft, however, who has managed to bring fresh pasta to the masses at Clayton’s Pastaria ( pastariastl.com), where watching the noodle-making process is as much a part of the experience as eating the result. Our current favorite? A heaping plate of bucatini all’ Amatriciana, a dish whose round, hollow noodles are tailor-made for capturing tomato sauce, spicy chilies, and blissfully funky guanciale.