I’ve been having very strong and very specific cravings lately. Some of them have been accommodated but there is only so much time to eat, you know? One of these cravings has been for a pappardelle pasta with a bolognese sauce (in fact, it was for this specific dish) but I’ve pushing it off. I feel like we’ve been eating out quite a bit lately and I haven’t spent as much time in my kitchen as I’d like. So I planned a fun (home-cooked) dinner for Saturday night but made the rookie mistake of watching Phantom Gourmet a few hours before that, just to pass the time. It was miserable out. A little drool-worthy television, enjoyed in the warm comforts of my home, seemed so innocent. Well, surprise surprise, a pappardelle pasta dish flashed before my eyes and there was no going back. I needed it, and I needed it NOW. Even monsoon-like weather outside could not stop me from getting some pasta in my belly.
Adam of course is always a proponent of meals out. He enjoys my cooking very much (right, honey? 😉 ) but indulgent meals out are definitely one of our favorite pass times. As soon as I mentioned Italian, he was online searching for the closest restaurant that could satisfy my craving. Papa Razzi fit the bill.
Papa Razzi is a small Italian chain and to be honest it was the only thing that held me back from eating there before this Saturday. For the most part, chain restaurants give me the creeps. For some reason the quality of food exponentially declines as the number of restaurant locations increases. I tried to suppress my fears of going to another Olive Garden-type place because I did hear some positive things about Papa Razzi. In fact, my husband, who has become nearly as picky as myself, has been to the Natick location a few times for lunch and enjoyed it. With his encouragement, we braved the elements and were sitting in a cozy spot in the back of the restaurant within 15 minutes (that included me changing out of my sweats and into something more presentable… yes, I move fast when a food craving calls!). 😀
Some focaccia was served a few minutes after that. It was nothing to write home about but not bad either. I ate the whole piece.
These “crostini” with butter looked pretty so I snapped a photo. Adam enjoyed them. I saved room for the pasta 😉
Despite the fact that I had a 5K race the very next morning, I still ordered a glass of the Tuscan Sangiovese “Ali,” Donna Laura. It was a nice glass which you’ll have to imagine since apparently I did not take a picture of it. Bad blogger, bad blogger.
To be honest, the pasta was what I came for and I didn’t even look at the menu beyond that. Adam insisted that we get an antipasti plate. Ok, I guess I could have a bite or 2. 😆
Antipasto della casa – prosciutto, salami, fresh mozzarella, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, olives and ricotta salata
Ok, how pretty is that?
I put together a little sampling plate of everything and then went back for my favorites. Everything was so fresh and delicious!!! I couldn’t stop eating. It really shocked me how much I loved this because when Adam ordered it I thought it was kind of a boring choice since we could just go to the deli and “make it” ourselves. The marinated mushrooms and the ricotta salata were my favorites, although seriously everything was great! 😀
And now onto the main dish – spaghetti alla bolognese – pancetta, ground veal and mushrooms in a light tomato sauce with a touch of cream
The pasta was not swimming in sauce but the touch of cream coated each strand of spaghetti perfectly. It was delicious! I do not like the concept of veal and would have preferred a different cut of meat used here (to be honest, even turkey would probably be fine too) but I did enjoy this and my craving was very much satisfied.
I saved half to take home and very much enjoyed it as my post-race meal. So that’s my “mystery pasta.” I won’t hesitate to go back to Papa Razzi. The back bay location is great, the prices are reasonable and everything we ordered was very delicious. I guess you can’t ask for much else, right?
What’s your favorite Italian dish?
For other restaurant reviews, check out my Restaurant Reviews page.
See you tonight with the recap of today’s eats. I’m finally going to make Saturday’s planned dinner! 😀