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Best of Atlanta 2015

Place to bring the kids (& eat well, too): Novo Cucina

Toys, a self-service wine station, and orders that come out faster than your two-year-old can say “more snacks!” mean Riccardo Ullio’s Italian outpost is about as family-friendly as a restaurant that doesn’t serve corn dogs can get.

Spaghetti with zucchini

For ten or eleven months a year, zucchini is practically invisible, and then for a few weeks it bursts out of the ground and takes over the garden, producing fruit at breakneck speed, daring those of us who love it to try to keep up. Here’s an excellent recipe from Mark Bittman’s Quick and Easy Recipes from The New York Times that unites zucchini with a few of its favorite companions: cheese, basil and pasta.

Alisa Barry’s handkerchief pasta with pork and fennel polpetinni

Barry’s take on spaghetti and meatballs (she calls them by their Italian name, polpettini) reinterprets her mother’s workaday staple. She freshens up a simple marinara with roasted cherry tomatoes and replaces noodles with wide rectangles of fresh pasta (available at Buckhead’s Storico Fresco).

Comeback Carb: Pasta finally wins over Atlanta chefs

It’s been a long road to glory for pasta in Atlanta. Without the large Italian population that blessed other American cities, we never had a community to teach us how to revere fragrant bowls of noodles.

Penne with Grilled Butternut Squash and Red Pepper

Winter is for soups and stews. Spring is for salad. Summer is for anything with tomatoes in it. But fall, fall is for pasta.

BoccaLupo

The odd, angular bungalow on the southeastern corner of Edgewood Avenue and Waddell Street, on the fringe of Inman Park, has been a beacon of eccentricity for decades. Minus the back right corner that was carved out for a patio, the building is a near-perfect square.

Storico Fresco Uses Long-Lost Recipes for Novel Pastas

Think of Michael Patrick as a pasta scholar. A fascination with homemade noodles began during his South Florida childhood and grew into an obsession for obscure pastas made by vanishing Old World methods. A certified sommelier who worked in restaurants as well as wine education and journalism for two decades, Patrick spent six years traveling intermittently through villages all over Italy, learning from home cooks and culinary professionals, before starting his own small-scale production in a shared kitchen near Your DeKalb Farmers Market. The fanciful shapes, many with unique fillings, that he sells through his company, Storico Fresco, reveal more skillful attention than any other fresh pastas sold in Atlanta. He makes his products with little more than a rolling pin, small dowels, and a wooden comb called a pettine that creates ridges on, as one example, lumachelle—a tubular pasta infused with cinnamon and lemon zest that he traces to a recipe from Benedictine nuns in the province of Le Marche, east of Tuscany.

Penne with Marinated Tomatoes, Basil, and Garlic Bread Crumbs

Really good, really fresh tomatoes at the peak of the season need little adornment, and this pasta dish from my all-time favorite cookbook, 'Field of Greens' by Annie Somerville honors that premise.

Kevin Ouzts’s Peanut, Cabbage, and Pasta Salad

Kevin Ouzts grew up in Marietta with a ten-foot-square brick pit smoker in his backyard, where his Georgia-bred father, Doug, slathered many a rib rack with a family barbecue sauce that included molasses.

Pasta with Roasted Winter Squash in Browned Butter, Sage, and Hazelnut Sauce

Sheri Castle, a North Carolina cooking teacher and recipe developer, has a knack for combining seasonal ingredients in appealing and uncomplicated ways, as this vibrant pasta dish illustrates.

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