OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) – In today’s carb-conscious world, he can often feel guilty about indulging in a bowl of noodles. And yet, few things are more comforting than a plate of pasta. Swallowing a bowl and enjoying that perfect feeling of fullness is like receiving a bear hug from a loved one, and few ecstasies are as pleasurable as resting in the food coma that follows.
While there are many restaurants serving great pasta dishes in Omaha, here are five that stand out from the rest.
Every noodle at Dante, from the long strands of tagliatelle to the curved and ridged rigatoni, is handmade and cooked to order, resulting in a tender product, but with a fair amount of bite. Chef / Owner Nick Strawhecker and Executive Chef Drew Statz combine traditional Italian cuisine with modern techniques and seasonal ingredients to create a rotating menu of masterpieces.
the Rigatoni Bolognese, which features pork and beef enhanced with deep and bold red wine cooking flavors, is a crowd favorite, as is the rich and creamy Carbonara, a dish that uses cheese, egg yolks, and guanciale (think a crispier, superior version of bacon) with shell-shaped lumache noodles. But the real masterpiece is the Sunday Tagliatelle & Ragu; long ribbons of perfect pasta are mixed and topped with huge portions of shredded bison meat (courtesy of the great Central Buffalo Nebraska) that has been cooked with spicy nduja (a spreadable pork sausage enriched with Calabrian peppers ) and red wine.
The result is a rich and warm dish that satisfies your appetite, your taste buds and your soul.
After opening the award-winning Dario’s Brasserie in 2006, chef / owner Dario Schicke searched unsuccessfully for an outstanding Italian restaurant in Omaha. “No one was really focused on bringing Italian culture back to life,” Schicke said on the Hoppen restaurant podcast.
So he traveled to the Piedmont region of northern Italy, worked in five different kitchens and learned all he could, then returned to open Avoli Osteria in 2013.
He didn’t want another old-fashioned red sauce Italian restaurant with a menu full of lasagna and meatballs. It would be modern Italian cuisine with a twist. With plain flour and water, Avoli creates noodles that headliner every plate.
The Omahanese quickly adopted the unique dishes, and nothing more than the White Bolognese. Big rigatoni noodles might be the final exam in a master’s degree course in homemade pasta. But the sauce – or I dare suggest, the meat side – sets this dish apart.
While technically this white wine-based filling is indeed a sauce, it isn’t wet and sweet like so many others. Rather, it showcases the tasty, rich pork and veal, which camp in rigatoni bunkers to provide delicious bite after bite. A healthy splash of toasted hazelnuts adds texture and depth.
The idea of handmade pasta served at a drive-thru is almost unknown, but chef / owner Piero Cotrina is passionate and driven enough to turn this chimera into reality. Originally intended to be a pastry shop serving coffee and sweets, WD Cravings has been, like so many restaurants in 2020, forced to pivot.
Cotrina’s solution? Go back to pasta, her true culinary love, but do it the quick and easy way without sacrificing quality.
This mission sounds lofty, but any skeptic need only take a bite of the savory of WD Cravings. Beef Bolognese or creamy Mac & Cheese (sprinkled with strips of crispy fried chicken) to become a believer. And if your appetite can handle it, try removing the Parmigiana chicken, a fried chicken cutlet the size of a manhole nestled on velvety pappardelle pasta.
Plus, visiting WD Cravings lets you savor one of co-owner Wendy Delgado’s delicious desserts, from sweet Tres Leches cake to decadent chocolate mousse. Whether you’re dining in or using the drive-thru, WD Cravings is a pasta destination.
Ask most Omahans where to find the best Italian food in Omaha and Lo Sole Mio is probably on their list.
An Omaha institution since 1992, Lo Sole Mio offers an old-fashioned atmosphere that transports diners across the Atlantic with its classic vibe and full pasta plates.
That’s right, you better come to Lo Sole Mio hungry.
The portion sizes are large enough to crush most appetites, and that’s without savoring the homemade buns or the delicious Minestrone soup. All hearty pasta dishes can be ordered with six different styles of noodles, and they will leave you happy and satisfied.
the Homemade pasta includes meteor-sized meatballs and creamy Pasta carbonara is a delicious combination of bacon, cheese, beaten eggs and tender noodles. If you like seafood, the Asiago scallop pasta, served with soft, buttered scallops, is a must-have dish.
Located just outside the city center, Via Farina could be described as a “minimalist sauce”
Restaurant. Good pasta can shine on its own without being drowned in gravy or pummeled by meatballs, and Via Farina’s is close to perfection. Barely al dente, it has a nice chew that comes with a pleasant salty taste but not overwhelming.
While all of Via Farina’s pasta dishes are excellent, the Raviolo with egg yolk is the
unique headliner. This giant pasta purse contains a delicate egg that oozes a delicious yolk when sliced. A delicious brown butter sauce adds fat and a dusting of pecorino cheese adds hazelnut. In addition, any remaining yolk / sauce can be blotted out with pieces of hot sourdough bread.
Omaha is home to a plethora of amazing pasta joints, and these are just a sample of the most remarkable. Got a favorite that’s not on this list? Message @dan_hoppen on Instagram Where @danhoppen on Twitter. As a passionate pasta lover, I would love to know more about your must-see places that I must try.
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