In honor of National Pasta Day, we ranked three of L.A.’s iconic pastas

October 17, 2017

Los Angeles is known for many things: gorgeous weather, avocados, celebs weaving in-and-out of everyday life, tacos, etc. But one thing Southern California isn’t exactly known for is carbs.

Los Angeles is known for many things: gorgeous weather, avocados, celebs weaving in-and-out of everyday life, tacos, etc. But one thing Southern California isn’t exactly known for is carbs.
So in honor of National Pasta Day (October 17th), I visited Officine BRERA and The Factory Kitchen, both L.A. institutions run by Chef Angelo Auriana, an award-wining pasta vet straight from Italy. If anyone was going to turn my tastebuds, it was Chef Angelo.
The Factory Kitchen and Chef Angelo are known for unique pasta plates, including the iconic neon green “Handkerchief Pasta.” Both restaurants features noodles made of a variety of flours, like chickpea, and tossed in sauces with rich flavor profiles and bright colors. Initially I was skeptical these novelty pastas were trying to appeal to a trendy crowd, and would get in the way of the hunt for seriously good pasta within SoCal. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The ingredients elevated the Italian classics we love to an even higher, more delicious plate of existence. But most impressive was how at the base of all the delicious sauces and flavors, was a seriously simple, well-crafted, authentic piece of pasta.
Part of breaking bread at the Italian dinner table means sharing a delicious meal with your family, so naturally I had to bring some back to share. In the spirit of National Pasta Day, the HG office ranked three of Chef Angelo’s tasty pastas and rank them by nom-nom-ness.
The three pastas we tasted were:
Dan Magro / HelloGigglesMandilli di Seta: handkerchief pasta, ligurian almond basil pestoDan Magro / HelloGigglesGnocchi Piemontesi: house-made potato dumplings, castelmagno, fonduta, crushed hazelnutsDan Magro / HelloGigglesCapunsei (vegetarian): ricotta dumplings, seasonal vegetables, butter, sage, lemon zest
Lindsey Sirera, Script Writer for The Pretty
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1. Gnocchi Piemontesi
Both the sauce and the past itself delivered, with a rich cream sauce that married beautifully with the airy gnocchi texture. Basically, it tasted like little pillows from heaven.
2. Capunsei
This pasta had a vibrant and zesty flavor, and I loved the how the tomatoes and brussel sprouts were cooked. Overall the dish was a bit oily, but still delicious.
3. Mandilli di Seta
This was a great, basic pesto pasta. Neither the pasta nor the sauce were particularly noteworthy, but together they were a comforting flavor combo.
Sade Deanne Akenzua, Associate Video Producer
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1. Capunsei
I think it was the most well-rounded pasta because of the potatoes, the greens and cherry tomatoes. It looked and tasted like the healthiest out of the three. If I had to choose a pasta to eat for the rest of my life out of the three, it would definitely be this one!
2. Gnocchi Piemontesi
The white pasta reminded me of a fancy mac and cheese. The cheese was really creamy, with every bite the pasta just melted in my mouth.
3. Mandilli di Seta
The green pasta had the weirdest texture because it was very thick and hard to eat because the noodles were really long, however the green pesto sauce wasn’t too bad.
Anna Gragert, Associate Editor
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1. Gnocchi Piemontesi
I have a thing for potatoes. Give me a potato in any form and we shall develop an instantaneous love connection — never will it be said that “it’s complicated.” What I’m trying to say, in many more words than necessary, is that this pasta is delicious. And we are in love.
2. Capunsei 
Though it certainly tastes like the healthiest option out of the three, this pasta is still top-notch. I’m especially a fan of the sauce that’s draped over the noodles, which are beautifully broken up with some veg.
3. Mandilli di Seta
I think the idea of this pasta is really fun. A giant noodle that can be rolled up like a ribbon and covered in a creamy pesto sauce? Yes, please and thank you, sign me up! While this was my least favorite option, it still did the job. Because, pasta.
Brittni Brown, Video Producer
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1. Gnocchi Piemontesi
It’s basically mac and cheese and it’s AMAZING!
2. Capunsei
It had a bit of a spicy kick to it and I could’ve eaten it as a whole meal if I was allowed.
3. Mandilli di Seta
The sauce was delicious, but I wish the noodles were smaller.
Keri Pina, Editorial Video Producer
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1. Capunsei
The veggie pasta was my favorite hands down. It had the most complex flavor and it felt like a complete meal. It had some kick to it, too, which was unexpected. I feel like I could eat this once or twice a week and not get sick of it.
2. Gnocchi Piemontesi
This was super creamy but the flavor wasn’t super bold, so it would be great to pair with a zestier entree.
3. Mandilli di Seta
The sauce and the pasta were great but like the white pasta, it wasn’t super bold with flavor. So if you’re in the mood for a lighter pasta, it’s a great option.
Christina Wolfgram, Video Producer/On-Camera Talent
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1. Gnocchi Piemontesi
This. Gnocchi. Is. Everything. I want to marry it and have its gnocchi babies. It’s so creamy and gooey and melty. Ugh! I’m like upset by how delicious it is.
2. Mandilli di Seta
The handkerchief pasta comes in a close second. These giant noodles are pillowy and layered, like a fine satin that just happens to be delicious.
3. Capunsei
This is the perfect autumn pasta. Like, I want to walk through a forest of trees shedding their yellow leaves and then come home to this dish. Clearly all of these options are life-changing; everyone’s a winner to me!
Amy Scarlata, Social Media Producer
<iframe src=”https://giphy.com/embed/3ohhwuQI5MBQiNm0Te” width=”480″ height=”270″ frameBorder=”0″ class=”giphy-embed” allowFullScreen></iframe><p><a href=”https://giphy.com/gifs/hellogiggles-christina-wolfgram-dan-magro-3ohhwuQI5MBQiNm0Te”>via GIPHY</a></p>
1. Mandilli di Seta
I don’t think I’ve ever tried noodles like this before! Since they were so big it was a great way to get a lot of the fresh pesto flavor.
2. Gnocchi Piemontesi
The gnocchi was a close contender. Was also very fresh, I could have eaten 3 bowls!
3. Capunsei
I thought this was just ok. I prefer my pasta just to be pure pasta, not many ingredients mixed within! Felt almost more like a pasta salad.
Anna Buckley, Social Media Producer
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1. Gnocchi Piemontesi
Did I just eat a bunch of tiny, cheesey dream clouds? Pretty sure I just did that.
2. Mandilli di Seta
It’s easy being green if you’re a pesto sauce that’s that darn good.
3. Capunsei
I’m a wimp when it comes to spicy-ness, so unfortunately, this one wasn’t for me.
Alyssa Morin, Associate Beauty Editor
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1. Gnocchi Piemontesi
This pasta tasted like a 5-star mac and cheese meal. Because it was so creamy, I seriously thought I was taking a bite out of potatoes with hints of cheese. I don’t even think that’s a real thing, but that’s how creamy and delicious this pasta was.
2. Mandilli di Seta
Even though this didn’t look like pasta (it looks more like thick lettuce in the best way), I loved it — the creamy green sauce was the real savory part. It was a close-second to the white pasta!
3. Capunsei
Because the other two pastas were so delicious and flavorful, I felt like this one was a lot more bland. While it wasn’t bad at all, I think I just loved the flavor of the other pastas
Gabriela Herstik, Latina Culture Writer
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1. Gnocchi Piemontesi
This was the fluffy, cheesy pasta of my dreams. It was simple and flavorful without being overwhelming.
2. Capunsei
I like that this one had veggies in it, which helped add a depth to it. There was even a little bit of a spice which I appreciated!
3. Mandilli di Seta
I like this pasta too, but it was more subtle and a little weirder to eat because it was so thick. Still delicious though!
Gina Vaynshteyn, Editorial Director
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1. Mandilli di Seta 2. Capunsei 3. Gnocchi Piemontesi
This was hard. All the types of pastas were delicious, and all super rich and flavorful. If I could live off a diet of solely these pastas, I’d be cool with that (maybe my cholesterol level wouldn’t be, but I guess we can’t have it all).
Gretchen Cathcart, Editorial Video
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1. Gnocchi Piemontesi
I’m a sucker for a cheesy and creamy pasta, so I really enjoyed this one. And the little bit of hazelnut was an interesting taste that really balanced out the strong gorgonzola flavor. 10/10 would eat everyday for the rest of my life.
2. Capunsei
I thought this one had the most complex and interesting flavor. It had a little spice that really added to the vegetable flavors. 10/10 would also eat this everyday for the rest of my life.
3. Mandilli di Seta
The noodle was a little strange, it was a little to thick to not be in like, a lasagna, but the sauce was still really good. I wouldn’t eat this every day for the rest of my life, but it was delicious.
Nate Miller, Video Editor, Instant
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1. Capunsei
This pasta was my favorite because it was most balanced in flavors, combinging vegetables with the richness of the potatoes.
2. Gnocchi Piemontesi
The white pasta was rich and delicious, but could get a little much after a few bites.
3. Mandilli di Seta
The green pasta was delicious and reminded me of hand cut noodles. I liked the chewy texture and found it was easy enough to cut with a fork into manageable bites.
Missy LaPlace, Editorial Video Producer
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1. Capunsei
This pasta was full of flavor and had a little bit of a kick, which my Cajun side thoroughly enjoyed.
2. Gnocchi Piemontesi
This one tasted like fancy mac & cheese, so it was tasty, but I’m probably a little too basic (read: Kraft-lover) to enjoy it.
3. Mandilli di Seta
I loved the color on this one, but couldn’t really get on board with the flavor.
AND THE WINNER IS…
Dan Magro / HelloGigglesGnocchi, by a landslide. That’s not to say that all the pastas weren’t incredible, but someone has to be a winner, so here we are. If you’re in the L.A. area make sure to check out The Factory Kitchen or Officine BRERA. And you can’t make it out here, make sure to grab a bowl (or three) of your favorite pasta and celebrate National Pasta Day on your own. Ciao!

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