Penne for your thoughts on these top pasta dishes


Spaghetti and meatballs. Macaroni and cheese. Mom’s lasagna. Pasta, for so many people, is the ultimate comfort food, bringing back memories of childhood, and making every problem go away with a mound of tummy-filling carbs. These San Diego restaurants are ready and waiting to offer diners mouthwatering pasta dishes for every tastebud.

Cucina Enoteca, Cucina Urbana, and Cucina Sorella

On Tuesday, Oct.17, all three locales are presenting two pasta and wine pairings at National Pasta Day prices. For families and groups, go with the family style Spaghetti and Meatballs (serving 3-4 people) and a bottle of Pinot Grigio or Pinot Noir for $45, or order individually a single serving of Spaghetti and Meatballs, plus a glass of red or white for $15. (Note: At Cucina Sorella the pasta shape is Bucatini.) Other must-try housemade pasta dishes on their menus include the Tagliatelle with pistachio pesto, peas, celery, mint, and lime, and the Triangoli with goat cheese, fig, eggplant, almond, and brown butter balsamic.

Cucina Enoteca Del Mar : 2730 Via De La Valle, Del Mar, 858.704.4500; Cucina Urbana: 505 Laurel St., Bankers Hill, 619.239.2222; Cucina Sorella, 4055 Adams Ave., Kensington, 619.281.4014.

Bencotto Italian Kitchen

Perhaps nowhere in San Diego is Italian pasta more authentic than Little Italy’s Bencotto. The numbers are staggering with the restaurant handcrafting 1,000 pounds of fresh pasta each and every week, and importing 600 pounds of organic flour from Parma, Italy. They’ve even timed out their pasta making to razor precision, calculating it takes three seconds to make raviolo and two seconds to roll each gnocco. They hand-color their pastas using black squid ink for black tagliatelle and gnocchi, tomato powder for red penne, fresh spinach for green gnocchi, saffron for golden pappardelle, and mushrooms for brown ravioli. Now that’s dedication to the art of pasta.

750 W. Fir St., #103, Little Italy, 619.450.4786,

“Life is a combination of magic and pasta.” -Federico Fellini

Trust Restaurant

Executive Chef Brad Wise layers flavors and aromas with the Cavatelli Pasta, made with calabrian chiles, squid, bone marrow, sweet garlic, Thai basil and parmesan. The Ricotta Agnolotti (which was named on PACIFIC’s 2016 Chain of Gourmand) is an aromatic dream with sunchokes, black garlic streusel, shaved black truffle, panna, and basil.

3752 Park Blvd., Hillcrest, 619.795.6901,

Herb & Wood

Chef Brian Malarkey’s housemade gnocchi is all about comfort with oxtail, roasted garlic, parsley, chive, sherry, parmesan and horseradish. The popular dish is selling like hotcakes, with the restaurant going through approximately 15 pounds of gnocchi dough per day.

2210 Kettner Blvd., Little Italy, 619.955.8495,

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.” -Sophia Loren

Rustic Root

Their beloved Lobster Pappardelle is a customer favorite holding an established place on the menu since day one. This seafaring treat is topped with oven-roasted tomato, spinach, corn, chili pepper, sherry cream and bread crumbs.

535 Fifth Ave., downtown, 619.232.1747,

Bar One

The FDA recently ruled that love cannot be listed as an ingredient in baked goods. But, send anyone who believes love isn’t an ingredient to Bar One where former Master Chef contestant Nick Nappi is making little pillows of heaven in the form of gnocchi. Served with a rotating sauce of the week, Nicky’s Gnocchi is perfect on its own or paired with Grandma’s Meatballs.

1532 India St., Little Italy, 619.738.8978,

Ready to make homemade pasta?

Check out Cucina Sorella’s monthly pasta classes, taught by Chef Daniel Wolinsky. Each class begins at noon and lasts about 2.5 hours. Home cooks will go home with the pasta they made in class and a recipe card for preparation at home. As if that wasn’t cool enough, students receive a glass of wine and lunch with the lesson. The next class, held on Oct. 29 will be focused on preparing long noodles. Click here for more information.