Colder weather calls for warm, hearty dishes, and few match that better than pasta.
While many global cuisines have some type of noodle dish, Italian pasta often comes to mind.
And the best thing about Italian restaurants in Greater Columbus is the level of diversity and skill that goes into making some of the best pasta dishes in the city.
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It’s not uncommon to find homemade pasta tossed in an authentic rustic sauce and fresh ingredients.
We all have our favorites, from red-sauce neighborhood restaurants to more sophisticated destinations. However, noodles are a great vehicle for chefs to express their creativity, and often just serve up a nice plate of comfort food.
Here are six pasta dishes to try in Columbus.
Small and unassuming, Caffe DaVinci is the quintessential neighborhood spot, serving classic American and Italian favorites for 16 years.
Despite its modest menu and prices, Caffe DaVinci makes much of its food from scratch, including spaghetti, tomato sauce and beef meatballs ($18.20).
Owner Matthew Phelan grew up in Dublin and studied for a degree in communications at Ohio State University before packing up his cutlery and moving to New York, where he learned a different kind of skill: the Italian technique.
Housed in a new building, Novella Osteria has an intentionally worn, Old World look.
Phelan takes the food he prepares seriously, especially pasta.
A perennial favorite is the pumpkin ravioli ($24). The mascarpone, Grana Padano and pecorino add creaminess and an assertive bite. Ravioli are tossed with sage brown butter and garnished with toasted pumpkin seeds, aged balsamic and chestnuts.
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Johnny’s Italian Steakhouse, which opened earlier this year in Columbus’ north end, is reminiscent of the Italian supper clubs of yesteryear.
Located in the Hilton Garden Inn and Homewood Suites complex in the Easton area, Johnny’s offers an extensive menu of steaks and ribs, lasagna, calamari, stuffed mushrooms and risotto, among other options.
One of the restaurant’s signature dishes is Chanel no. 5: mixed cheese ravioli with lobster, shrimp, artichokes and prosciutto with cream sauce.
The upscale Italian restaurant, owned by celebrity chef Fabio Viviani, is located in the Westin Great Southern Hotel.
Although it’s known for more than pasta, the house-made noodles are the specialty.
Calabrian chili bell ($28), rolled pasta that looks like flowers, offers little neck clams, garlic, olive oil, butter, parsley and basil in a white wine sauce.
A relative newcomer to the dining scene, Pelino’s Pasta is known for carefully crafting pasta dishes by sourcing as many local and imported Italian ingredients as possible.
Vinny Pelino, who owns the restaurant with his pastry chef wife Christina, changes the menu once a month to introduce new pastas, flavors and textures to his diners.
A dish that regularly appears throughout the year with a slight adjustment or change of pasta is the carbonara, one of the favorites of the first customers.
Part of a prix-fixe menu ($49 for three courses, $64 for four courses), the current version features house-made spaghetti, guanciale (boar cheek), spicy pecorino-romano cheese and egg yolk raised in the pasture, which is thrown on the plate. hot paste for a creamy effect. Ground black pepper finishes the dish.
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Tommy Gallo, the co-owner and chef of Gallo’s Kitchen in Upper Arlington, is known to be quite picky about his food.
Although the restaurant is warm and the atmosphere pleasant, Gallo takes its menu seriously, a solid mix of Creole and Italian.
Pasta Russo ($14 small, $17 large) is the signature dish, starting with beef, pork and veal braised in red wine, herbs, spices and tomatoes.
Cavatelli, the favorite pasta, is filled with Bolognese sauce and finished with a sprinkle of Parmigiano-Reggiano.