January 16th, 2010. Birthday Dinner at Basta Pasta!!
So for my birthday aunt and uncle invited me out to Basta Pasta for dinner. Now this isn’t your average pasta place. It’s a Japanese pasta place! Sure enough, at a cursory glance the menu looks Italian but upon closer inspection there are some small twists and delightful surprises! For a place that’s been open for over 20 years in the city you know it’s gotta be better than good!
The bread! Served with a healthy helping of fragrant olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette.
As a starter we got the Gnocchi di Zucca. Wonderfully fluffy and light pumpkin gnocchi in a beautiful lemony sage cream sauce. Heaven! Everyone at the table was impressed and we couldn’t stop eating it!
Asparagi Gratinati: yes..asparagus pops up everywhere. Come on, folks, you know how I feel about this particular vegetable.
Appetizer #3 is the Cartoccio di Funghi Misti: 3 kinds of mushrooms baked inside sealed cooking paper with thyme, garlic and herb infused olive oil.
The waiter punctured and opened up the package before our very eyes and then drizzled it with this herb infused oil, which really brought out the flavors of the mushrooms. Aunt and Uncle LOVED it!
The discussion at the table quickly turned to shop talk: Exactly what kind of paper is this? Is it do-able at Hangawi? What could we use? Hahaha!
SPAGHETTI CON PROSCIUTTO E PARMIGIANO: Spaghetti with Parmigiano Reggiano & Parma Prosciutto, served in a half wheel of Parmesan cheese at the table.
(This was for the table next to ours. I would have ordered it as my meal..but I was moonlighting as a vegetarian this night…sad!)
PAPPARDELLE ALLA SICILIANA: Homemade pappardelle with eggplant, basil & fresh tomatoes in tapenade. Aunt ordered this dish. If you want a pasta dish that is light, this is the one!
Uncle and Cousin Mark both went for the vegetarian version of the SPAGHETTI CON MOZZARELLA, POMODORI E FUNGHI: Spaghetti with shiitake mushrooms & basil in fresh tomato sauce.
CRESPELLE CON FUNGHI E RICOTTA: Homemade silk handkerchief pasta with mixed mushrooms, lemon zest & ricotta cheese.
I know, I know, what am I doing with ordering a mushroom dish??!! I just felt it was the safest bet in terms of vegetarian option as well as being easy to eat and was counting on it not being too carby so I could finish most of it. I was right. And the mushrooms were surprisingly good, too!
I even got a surprise birthday dessert and song with a ukulele! Thanks, Aunt & Uncle~~ ♥
So, to sum up the dinner? I can definitely see how this establishment has been able to sustain their business for so long. The food seems simple but each component is so well done. From the fresh made pasta, to the ingredients, everything is just so clean. And the whole vegetarian aspect? Don’t knock it til you’ve tried it. I actually had a very satisfying meal and enjoyed how fresh everything tasted!