The Cascina Spinasse Experience

October 18, 2011

While we’re taking a little break, this is a reprint of one of our favorite blog posts from prior years of Northwest Notes. Enjoy!

Tajarin burro e salvia (Fine, hand-cut egg pasta with butter and sage)

We’re probably some of the last people in Seattle who hadn’t, until recently, hoisted ourselves up to Capitol Hill to try the simple and incredible goodness that is Cascina Spinasse.

The place has already garnered rather staggering acclaim for its entire menu, but especially the handmade pasta. The Tajarin–very finely cut egg noodles with either meat ragù or butter and sage–is easily one of the best things we’ve ever put into our mouths. One super-savvy foodie and wine-expert friend of ours who just happened to be celebrating a special anniversary with her hubby at the next table when we showed up described it as “the best Tajarin I’ve ever had outside of Italy.”

In addition to chef/owner Jason Stratton’s boatload of honors, he won one of Food & Wine magazine’s coveted Best New Chef awards for 2010. Only 10 young chefs were so honored and he was the only one from Seattle.

Ravioli di Melanzane (Eggplant Ravioli)

That same amazing evening, in addition to enjoying every bite of antipasti such as Marinated Zucchini with Mint and Apricot; an unforgettable Beet Salad with Crushed Egg, Breadcrumbs, and Spicy Greens; and Fried Duck Egg with Sweet Peppers and Peaches, we had to try the Eggplant Ravioli, paper-thin pasta draping an almost meaty-tasting eggplant filling. If memory serves, it simply dusted with nutmeg and Parmesan. Simple perfection.

And here’s the gorgeous Braised Duck Caramelle in Brodo–duck confit artfully encased in paper-thin pasta sheets and wrapped like little packages!

Stracotto di Maiale con Fagioli Borlotti (Braised Pork Shoulder with Fresh Borlotti Beans)

My meat-lovin’ guy enjoyed his Braised Pork Shoulder with Fresh Borlotti Beans. I tasted the beans and can attest they were rich, good, and perfectly cooked to creamy but still a bit toothsome.

The carefully selected and reasonably priced wine list is entirely Italian except for Cavatappi Non-Vintage Barbera from Washington state ($40) and Cavatappi’s lovely 2004 Nebbiolo ($48), a consistently delicious wine that pairs so well with soulful Italian food.

As the four forks at our table fought for every last bite of the Mousse di Formaggio di Capra–Sweet Goat Cheese Mousse with Fresh Peaches and Caramelized Puff Pastry–I vowed not to eat again for the foreseeable future, or at least until we could dine again at Cascina Spinasse.

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