The New York City Marathon is coming up in just 10 short days. You know what that means? There’s going to be a lot of pasta eating in this city. Nothing sets you up better for a big race than carb-loading, and you don’t need to rely on boring spaghetti and meatballs. New York is filled with upscale options — though some will cost a pretty penny. With so many unique pasta shapes and regional dishes to be had, the big question is: Where will you go to get your pasta on?
Osteria Morini is an excellent choice for top-notch handmade pastas. The Nolita restaurant is inspired by the Emilia-Romagna region, which means that you shouldn’t expect red sauces and chicken parmigiana. Instead, you’ll find pasta gramigna — green and white macaroni coated in cream sauce and tossed with free-form chunks of pork sausage. There’s memorable duck-liver-stuffed tortellini, and a hearty lasagna verde will get you up and running — but isn’t so heavy that it’ll weigh you down while you’re trying to catch up to that speedy front-runner.
If you hail from the Upper East Side, you may want to stop by Perlei for some spaghetti alla chittara (square cut spaghetti), though if you’re not location bound, West Village newcomer Lievito is better. Owned by a former Perlei manager, Lievito recently expanded its pasta program and serves the elusive pasta shape strozzapreti (priest strangler). The hand-formed and rolled nubs of pasta dough are spiked with shiitake mushrooms, sausage, and lots of rosemary. Perhaps you can bring some along to “strozza” the competition.
Rigatoni alla norma is an overlooked gem. It’s traditionally a dish of tubular ridged pasta paired with eggplant. At PizzArte, an excellent new Midtown Napoletana spot, there is no “alla norma,” but in its place is penne alla ferdinando, a close substitute that throws smoked mozzarella into the tomato-sauced dish. The dish can also be found at Aurora in Brooklyn, as well as Aurora SoHo, its Manhattan offspring. A brisk jog between the two locations may be the best prep for the big run.
Look no further than Sara Jenkins’s East Village pasta house, Porsena, for some excellent bowls of pasta goodness. Steer clear of the brodo for this occasion — it’s more soup than pasta. Opt instead for the penette with roasted cauliflower and a crunchy sprinkle of breadcrumbs, or chef Jenkins’s spin on mac and cheese — cannolicchi con una marea di formaggi. After this bowl of cheesy pasta goodness you’ll be ready to run that race. … Just think of all the upscale pasta you burn off during those 26.2 miles.