Word of Mouth

Use your noodle: What are Denver's best pastas?

A national publication is working on a list of the best pasta spots in the country; we got an e-mail this morning asking for a few of our favorite pasta plates in Denver.

Early contenders:

Pasta carbonara at Fruition There's a reason Fruition's pasta carbonara has been a staple of the menu since the place opened: It's flawlessly executed. A nest of dense, hand-rolled cavatelli studded with fresh peas supports a quivering hunk of crisped pork belly and poached egg that, when cut, sends yolk cascading into the delicate, savory parmesan broth, lending creaminess to the sauce pooling in the bowl.

Spaghetti with diavola sauce at Gaetano's If we want red sauce, we head to Gaetano's, where the thick, gravy-like marinara is imbued with a smattering of red pepper flakes, then poured over fist-sized meatballs and a pile of basic, homemade spaghetti. This pasta dish is fiery and hearty, and it always hits the spot.

Any pasta at Frasca Food and Wine Up in Boulder, Jared Sippel has created an ever-rotating list of pasta dishes that includes toothsome tubes of garganelli supplemented with veal ragu and glistening lardo, long strands of chewy spaghetti swimming with prawns and capers, and skinny capelli bathing in a sauce of pork and green garlic. It's all handmade, and while we can't pick an absolute favorite, the pasta course at Frasca is always a stand-out.

What are your nominations? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Laura Shunk was Westword's restaurant critic from 2010 to 2012; she's also been food editor at the Village Voice and a dining columnist in Beijing. Her toughest assignment had her drinking ten martinis and eating ten Caesar salads over the course of 48 hours. She still drinks martinis, but remains lukewarm on Caesar salads.
Contact: Laura Shunk