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Bringing Down the House with Homemade Pastas

Local restaurants roll out fresh pasta

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Carbohydrates are making their way back after falling out of favor during the low-carb craze. What has returned is a new appreciation for more ingredient-centered, artisanal processes when it comes to breads and, more specifically, pastas. Many Boise eateries are creating their own homemade pastas, most without any formal menu fanfare.

These homemade pastas are not complicated to make and contain only three to four ingredients: semolina flour, eggs, salt and a touch of water. But it's the evolving techniques, space requirement, styles and shapes of pasta that takes many years to perfect.

Richard Langston, owner and head chef at Cafe Vicino, believes that homemade pastas have a more distinct texture and full-bodied flavor because of the fresh eggs, which many of the dried, boxed pastas don't have. One of his favorite versatile pastas, made every few days at the restaurant, is called tagliatelle--a pasta with wide, flat noodles similar to fettuccine.

"We don't have the biggest kitchen, and you always know when it's pasta-making day," said a jovial Langston.

At Asiago's, one of Boise's formidable Italian restaurants, pastry/pasta chef Jason Morgan takes painstaking pride in making sure all the ingredients for the homemade spinach fettuccine, shells and linguine are fresh and ready for rolling. Other restaurants with less of an Italian focus--like Red Feather Lounge and La Belle Vie in Nampa--also occasionally make their own gnocchi or artisanal pastas with fresh seasonal ingredients.

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