8 Must-Try Pasta Dishes Around Boston

By Scott Kearnan  |  February 17, 2015
Credit: Brian Samuels

A heaping bowl of pasta does an appetite good in the cold New England winter. But you're not looking for basic spaghetti-and-meatballs stuff; you want some creative, chef-driven dishes with a sense of style and whimsy. We've found a wide variety of new pasta dishes, from down-South spicy to European-elegant, to satisfy your carb cravings.

  • Corzetti at Ribelle

    Chef Tim Maslow's Brookline hit leaves its mark with this pasta dish, composed of housemade corzetti (thin, round pasta) made with toasted-almond-flour dough and stamped with the Ribelle logo. The flavors are textured too: it's  served with hedgehog mushrooms, celeriac purée and topped with bread crumbs and almond florentine
    1665 Beacon St., Brookline; 617-232-2322

  • Bolognese at Gather

    The Seaport destination might be one of our picks for Boston's most innovative restaurants (somewhat literally; details here), but the Bolognese is a simple, hearty standout. Pasta in a tomato cream sauce with tender braised pig cheek? We love innovation, but guys: don't change a thing. 
    75 Northern Ave.; 617-982-7220

  • Lasagna at M.C. Spiedo

    If you haven't already, check out our detailed look at M.C. Spiedo, an upscale Italian restaurant inspired by historic recipes of the Renaissance. Then get over there, and dig deep into the lasagna: handmade egg pasta layered with ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, toasted pinenuts, golden raisins and a rich slow-cooked ragù of beef and pork. It's baked in the pizza oven for a little extra amazing. 
    606 Congress St.; 617-476-5606

  • Credit: Brian Samuels

    Spaghetti & Meatballs at River Bar

    The "elevated street food" at this Assembly Row newcomer from chef Patrick Gilmartin integrates plenty of Asian influences. Hence his clever twist on traditional spaghetti and meatballs, using ramen noodles for this pomodoro-style small plate. 
    661 Assembly Row, Somerville; 617-616-5561

  • Fettuccine Grano Arso at Nebo

    This plate pays tribute to peasant tales from Puglia, the southern Italian region to which Christine and Carla Pallotta, Nebo's sister chef-owners, trace their mother's ancestry. Using "grano arso" ("burnt flour") for pasta goes back a few hundred years; according to one version of the story, grano arso was made from the grain left behind on the floor of the mills where poor peasants worked. According to the other, when fields were burned at the end of harvest, peasants gathered the small amounts of surviving grain to mill themselves. Either way, the result is a toasted, nutty flavor that goes well with hearty sauces. Here it's served with a wild mushroom ragù, caramelized onion, fontina and sage.
    520 Atlantic Ave.; 617-723-6326

  • Drunk-Ass Shrimp at Shojo

    Okay, okay. We're technically talking noodles here, not pasta. But let's not split hairs, so that we can sing the praises of chef Mark O'Leary, who continues to give us creative new reasons to head to Shojo since stepping into the Chinatown kitchen just a few months back. His latest, this awesomely named dish of shrimp poached with Asahi beer, set atop ramen and flecked with persimmon. Drunk in love, bae. 
    9 Tyler St.; 617-423-7888

  • Credit: Michael Young

    Memphis BBQ Spaghetti at State Park

    We could drown and die happy in this bowl, a flavor-packed explosion of smoked pork shoulder, pasta and a 50/50 mix of housemade marinara and barbecue sauce. Like many of the plates, it was inspired by chef-owner Barry Maiden's Southern roots and travels — in this case, a similar dish served at Interstate Barbecue in Memphis. 
    1 Kendall Sq., Cambridge; 617-848-4355

  • Cheese Ravioli and Sweet Sausage at Parish Cafe

    Bigger isn't always better — except when it is. These oversized cheese raviolis are filling enough to last you through a winter hibernation, tossed with sweet Italian sausage and a homemade gravy with Pecorino cheese. 
    493 Massachusetts Ave.; 617-391-0501