Which restaurant chain has the best lasagna

Pasta la vista, baby: Frankfurt's best pasta

Pasta is a plate of happiness. For most of them, this intimate love relationship has existed from childhood and seems to last forever. What is the secret of this long bond? Pasta can be quite sexy, has a pleasant mouthfeel and knows so many varieties that you never get bored.

There are pasta restaurants that are simply a spaghetti length ahead of others. We have visited many and present the best. But we also consecrate into the secrets of pasta cooking like the pros do and know the Italian grandmothers. By Ludwig Fienhold and Michael Hohmann (photos)

The living room Pasta Davini is so popular that you can't just walk in because the few tables are in great demand. The Danish bestselling author Jussi Adler-Olsen, who appeared unannounced, also had to find out. There was no more space in the two small guest rooms, but he was not sent away, but served in a niche in the hallway.

Roswitha "Rosi" Stern, née Davini, likes to be a host and thrives when the place is full. It is lively and Italian lively. The restaurant is popular with men who appreciate hearty food. And with rendezvous couples for the first date, because you can't go wrong with pasta.

There are many creative people and lawyers among the guests, after all, Heiligkreuzgasse is located in Frankfurt's judicial district. The medical students who live in the house also like to come, which is why there are no complaints if it should get a little louder. There will be two seatings (5.30pm - 8pm, from 8pm), the early variant is often used by families with children.

Pasta Davini is in a corner where street dogs are more likely than the undulating poodle to be at home. Meanwhile, Frankfurt also loves its ailing districts and is not afraid of the dark paths. But what is it that makes this place so appealing? It is as cheerful and comfortable as you would like an Italian to be, but you can experience more in Italy and less in Germany.

Just like nuts

The hand-knitted and not nerdy looking for perfection characterizes the idiosyncratic style of this individual address. As a guest, you feel completely privately like at Rosi's home, dine at the living room table and hear the pots and voices clanking from the open kitchen right next door.

No fine dining, just like with nuts. All of us milieu. Best housewife kitchen, not a single professional is at the stove Maria is from Naples, Mimma from Sicily. Women economy. Each brings something from their region to the table. Rosi is also good at cooking, but above all acts as a speaking menu. She explains the ten dishes, which change daily, so animating that you want to have them all. But above all, you trust it and don't have to ask about the prices, which sometimes seems necessary for Italians in Frankfurt.

The pasta is consistently good and of course al dente, but the decisive factor is the different Sughi. Pasta with lamb ragout, mussels and their broth or Bolognese: you can have something new or tried and tested every day. The Carbanora is served with great bacon and of course without cream, which is unfortunately the exception in this country and is acknowledged with a shake of the head by ignorant guests.

The carbonara is prepared with eggs from the Dottenfelder Hof, only on Thursdays and Saturdays when they come fresh from the organic farm in Bad Vilbel. In the Arrabbiata with juicy Pici pasta, the sweetness of the Vesuvius tomatoes and the hot peperoncini harmonize in such a beautiful way that you can even create this large plate with delight. The puffy tagliatelle with rabbit that falls delicately from the bone are also one of the many highlights of the kitchen. Rosi explains the recipe for success with one sentence: "People notice whether you are authentic."

For many Italians, lack of imagination rules

If you look at the menus of the Italians in Frankfurt and in Germany in general, you have to attest many chefs unimaginative or at least comfortable. Always the usual suspects on the menu. There are over 350 different types of pasta and many different pasta dishes.

info

Pasta is not just pasta. There are around 350 different types of pasta for every purpose. If you don't want to bother making pasta yourself, you should opt for pasta "al bronzo". In this traditional form of production, the dough is pressed through special bronze molds. This makes the surface rougher and allows the sauce to absorb better. The family business La Molisana has been producing its pasta specialties in the Molise region on the Adriatic for over 100 years.

Im reopened Ristorante celebrities there are excellent pasta, such as homemade pappardelle with wild boar ragout, spaghetti with pistachios and mortadella or homemade spaghetti chitarra with king oyster mushrooms. You have to try the Pasta con Sarde from the Sicilian homeland of Saro Barbagallo, which you can't get anywhere else in the city. A "renovated" version, as the boss thinks.

“A day without pasta is a lost day.” - Saro Barbagallo, Ristorante Promis

The juicy Mezzi Paccheri are wonderfully combined with wild fennel, sardines / anchovies, spring onions, peperoncini, raisins, roasted pine nuts and breadcrumbs tossed in olive oil. "A day without pasta is a lost day," says Saro, "it brings a harmonious feeling."

Everyone in Italy makes pasta differently, from region to region, from city to city, from village to village. If there is such a thing as a basic recipe, you will experience it in a thousand variations. Also pasta con sarde, the culinary trademark of the province of Palermo. But there should be one thing in common: “Good olive oil is the basis for all pasta dishes,” says Saro.

One of the best cooks and pasta specialists, Giorgio Locatelli from Lombardy, loves pasta con sarde and has written many good cookbooks. He thinks that the most important thing is always to concentrate on a few flavors. Locatelli prefers the Pure and has held a Michelin star in its Locanda Locatelli in London since 2003 with refined classic. Many Italian chefs in Germany are afraid to force pasta on their menus because they fear that it will not meet the demands of expectant guests and critics. That is completely wrong, because the soul of Italy is pasta.

Pasta exclusive

Carmelo Greco has launched an offensive in its star restaurant of the same name in Frankfurt that skilfully takes up the topic: Pasta Deluxe. So far, Carmelo Greco has been reluctant to eat pasta because he believed it would not match his reputation as one of the best Italians in Germany. But if someone can conjure up pasta as well as Carmelo Greco, it would be foolish not to play that trump card.

At lunchtime from Monday to Friday, a small, surprising starter and an exclusive pasta dish are always offered at a flat rate of 22 €. For example, tender, juicy tagliolini with a gentile goose liver sauce and lobster on top. Bravo! There is no such pasta at the Italian restaurant on the corner.

Carmelo Greco's taste buds don't bother you, he's a pasta whisperer. His dishes are characterized by subtlety, finesse and lightness. We have had countless outstanding pasta plates here, for example panciotti with Tyrolean bacon or tagliolini with sugo made from bergamot, lime and spicy dried bottarga roe, as well as tortelloni filled with Parmesan cream with Parmesan sauce, green asparagus and Parma ham.

Soft noodle, hard noodle

There is a particularly lively discussion about the exact consistency of pasta. Sure, it has to be al dente, it should have bite, but everyone understands something different by it. The Italians have an elegant term for the perfect risotto: it has to be all ’onda, like a wave, soft shell with a somewhat harder core, the transition to it is fluid.

This can also be applied to pasta, it has to be juicy and still a bit crunchy. If it hangs soft, you've cooked it too long; if it still tastes doughy, you've cooked it too short. The trick is to find the right time, something that can be decided in just a minute. By the way, pasta al dente has only been valued for the past 100 years; in the past, it was often cooked for hours.

The pasta sauce trick

There is a trick that condenses the flavor of the sauce and makes the pasta smoother. You add some pasta water to the sauce in the pan, because the water's strength ensures that it binds well. At the end, the almost finished pasta is added and swirled briefly in everything.

Why there are still lazy cooks who simply pound unpeeled tomatoes over the pasta is incomprehensible. It's so easy and inexpensive to get it right: Melt halved tomatoes in a pan with oil, if the skin is slightly wrinkled, it can be easily peeled off. A tomato only makes sense without its skin in the pasta and is therefore more intense. Pasta types with a porous surface are more popular with connoisseurs because they can soak up the sugo better.

The question of whether the Chinese or Italians discovered pasta is as annoying as it is inevitable. The history books have no clear answer to this because pasta was invented, used and cultivated by both peoples independently of one another, but in different ways.

The pasta as we know it today is clearly Italian. So one should no longer compare Chinese dim sum, Swabian Maultaschen and Italian spaghetti, but be happy that they are there. It is clear, however, that the origin of Mediterranean pasta can be found in the mixed Jewish-Arab culture of the Middle East. Sicily, with its Arabic character, is considered the mother of all Italian pasta.

Chitarra makes the heart dance

In the Frankfurt restaurant A Casa di Tomilaia the carbonara has always been prepared with pancetta, egg, pepper and sage, but without cream, which still causes displeasure among some ignorant guests today. Basically, the Casa remembers the basic values ​​of (northern) Italian cuisine, based on the Cucina Casalinga, but a pinch more refined than the mother's home cuisine.

The olive oil from top locations of our own plantations in Tuscany, served with good bread at the start, already signals the striving for quality. We have some pasta favorites that are one of the restaurant's evergreens, including pici with veal sauce, pappardelle with well-seasoned wild boar ragout and linguine mare mare with pulpo, shrimp, mussels and leek.

Good pasta guaranteed

There are restaurants that have pasta expertise when they would rather sell sole. Massimo Desortes from the Scuderia in the Westend knows how to prepare pasta very well, for example fettucine with mushrooms and spaghetti with mussels.

in the Settimo Cielo there is also very good pasta in a continuity that is rather rare for Frankfurt Italians. The tagliolini with crayfish in lobster sauce and the homemade rabbit tortelloni with black truffle are among the highlights.