8 Pasta Dishes to Try Right Now

By Patty Lee  |  January 7, 2014

Cold winter days call for hearty, soulful pastas. Luckily for New Yorkers, top chefs are using the noodle as a base for some of their most creative cooking. From fusion bucatini to rustic agnolotti, here are eight new plates worth seeking out.

  • Piora

    Dish: Black garlic bucatini
    Price: $31
    Backstory: Chef Chris Cipollone fuses his Italian-American heritage with the Korean-American background of restaurant partner Simon Kim in this cross-cultural pasta.
    Cooking Notes: Black garlic - a popular ingredient in Korean cooking - and squid ink give the bucatini in the Asian-Italian mash-up its deep charcoal color. Building on the unconventional coupling, Cipollone simmers the noodles in Dungeness crab stock instead of water, then finishes the dish with sweet slivers of crab meat, crab butter, maitake mushrooms and fiery Fresno chiles.
    The Critics Say: “The noodles are soft, closer to Cantonese lo mein than al dente macaroni. Evoking takeout except with razor sharp notes of ocean, heat, onion, oil and garlic, it’s close to perfect.” - Ryan Sutton, Bloomberg

  • Carbone

    Dish: Spicy rigatoni vodka
    Price: $26
    Backstory: Italian-American toques Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone breathe new life into red-sauce classics at their retro joint inside the former Rocco’s space.
    Cooking Notes: The duo turn the normally bland bowl into addictive forkfuls thanks to a luscious tomato sauce - flecked with zingy Calabrian chiles and salty pecorino - that clings to their housemade maccheroni. Nonna would be proud.
    The Critics Say: “...elbows of rigatoni are forceful and substantial, their tomato sauce unabashedly spicy and slyly buttery.” - Pete Wells, New York Times

  • Charlie Bird

    Dish: Duck egg spaghetti
    Price: $24
    Backstory: At this downtown hot spot - named after jazz icon Charlie “Bird” Parker - Ryan Hardy adds Italian flair to seafood-focused plates.
    Cooking Notes: In his elevated plate of spaghetti - featuring thin, springy noodles made with New Jersey duck eggs - Hardy balances the richness of sea urchin with a bright, lemony sauce and scattering of green scallions.
    The Critics Say: “Sea meets land in a complex seafood oratorio, carbonaralike in richness but totally new too, by the grace of a uni gonad and a generous deployment of butter, spring onion and lemon.” - Joshua David Stein, New York Observer

  • Ristorante Morini

    Dish: Beef shank agnolotti
    Price: $26
    Backstory: At this newly opened offshoot of Osteria Morini, pasta kingpin Michael White - known for his mastery of rustic Emilia-Romagna specialties - highlights fare from all over the Boot, including an upscale riff on agnolotti del plin, a Piedmontese ravioli formed by pinching together the tiny rectangular pockets.
    Cooking Notes: The comforting bundles are loaded with beef shank that’s braised in red wine for nearly four hours. Once tender, the meat is pulled apart and mixed with eggs and Parmigiano Reggiano to form the rich filling. A dollop of celery-root cream brightens the robust parcels, which are served in a sugo made from the braising liquid.

  • Marco’s

    Dish: Chestnut agnolotti
    Price: $19
    Backstory: Following up on their beloved pizzeria Franny’s, Francine Stephens and Andrew Feinberg dig deeper than pies, sending out their take on hyper-regional, hyper-seasonal Italian cuisine.
    Cooking Notes: This rustic dish shows off two Piedmontese specialties: the region’s chestnut crop and its go-to pasta shape. Earthy cold-weather vegetables like Brussels sprouts and celery root bring out the sweetness of the fluffy chestnut-mascarpone purée that’s enrobed in silky-smooth pasta dough. It’ll fend off winter’s chill without the stick-to-your-ribs heaviness.

  • All’onda

    Dish: Tortellini in Parmesan dashi
    Price: $15
    Backstory: Drawing from his stints at Ai Fiori and Morimoto, Chris Jaeckle looks at Venetian cuisine through a Japanese lens at this highly anticipated trattoria opened with restaurateur Chris Cannon.
    Cooking Notes: Italy meets Japan in this soul-warming play on tortellini en brodo. Jaeckle swaps out the traditional hearty broth for a lighter, Parmesan-infused dashi slicked with tomato oil. The bowl is finished with porcini mushrooms and pillowy ricotta dumplings.

  • B & Co.

    Dish: Kamut with sea urchin
    Price: $32
    Backstory: Nightlife ace Max Burgio showcases Southern Mediterranean eats with a focus on seafood at this three-story nightclub/restaurant.
    Tasting Notes: Fresh parsley and pasta made from nutty kamut - an ancient grain native to the Middle East - highlights the briny sweetness of uni in this simple, standout noodle dish.

  • Alder

    Dish: Rye pasta
    Price: $20
    Backstory: As an homage to the Second Avenue Deli’s original Lower East Side home, madcap chef Wylie Dufresne reimagines the classic Jewish sandwich in noodle form.
    Tasting Notes: In true Dufresne fashion, this dish highlights familiar flavors in an entirely new way. A tangle of hand-cut noodles - made from nutty rye flour and tossed in a creamy mustard sauce - sits atop slices of fatty pastrami, which are also dehydrated to create the flurry of jerky dust sprinkled on top. Diced green tomatoes stand in for pickles, adding a tangy bite to the dish.
    The Critics Say: “Rye flour fettuccine tangle with toasted caraway and shaved slivers of pastrami. It is both zany and delicious.” - Stan Sagner, New York Daily News