Fine Pappardelle Straight from the Kitchen

Columns Ono, You Know

June 21, 2015

Story By: Ali Resich | Photos by: Bodie Collins

In Italian, the word pappare means “to gobble up,” an action that we all can relate to in our deepest bouts of hunger. The phrase also is where pappardelle pasta gets its name from, as the Italians must have known that anyone in their right mind would absolutely want to scarf down a bowl of these overly wide strands of comforting golden pasta, which frankly make fettuccine look like child’s play.

As is the case with many types of pasta, nothing beats devouring these large-and-in-charge ribbons than when they’re freshly made. And I don’t mean hot off the stove; I’m talking about hand-crafted, rustic and perfectly imperfect piles of noodles that exude the love and passion that any chef, cook or nonna (grandma) puts into them.

This week, I am particularly overjoyed because I realized that I don’t have to crash an Italian dinner party to find a love-filled bite of artisan pappardelle. The chefs at a few OYK hangouts right in our backyard pour their souls into offering a homemade taste of this pasta — and just wait until you see the meaty, succulent and sultry ingredients they’ve paired with it.

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop

Making sumptuous food from scratch is something owner and executive chef Brian Chan takes to heart and lives by at his Smith Street brunch spot Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop. Everything from the pastries used in his breakfast classics right down to the pickled vegetables and hot sauce available at the eatery are made in-house. The hip dining nook even has a cozy open-air kitchen where patrons can see their dishes come to life and feel as though they’re dining in someone’s home.

I can’t say I was surprised that Chan’s Cider Braised Pork Belly and Apple Pasta ($15) blew me away, seeing as the chef always is expanding the limits of creativity. Stemming from the flavorful depths of his imagination, this dish is unlike anything you’ve tasted before — trust me!

The fresh, ideally al dente streamers of Scratch-composed pappardelle are balanced with unbelievably savory pork belly that is cured at the restaurant and braised for 12 hours in apple cider, bourbon, garlic and bay leaves. The braising liquid is so packed with flavor from the succulent pork that it makes its way into the dish, serving as its pasta sauce.

Chan’s pappardelle is a fantastic canvas for the entree’s array of unexpected flavors, which happen to get along gloriously. He knows just how to harmonize the richness of the meat — which is to die for in its own right, pork-lovers — with acidity from lemon juice and the refreshing verve of sauteed apples. Your taste buds continue to meet new flavors and textures with the addition of gorgonzola, slivers of radish, green onion, egg yolk and a touch of heat from jalapenos.

“The pasta is kind of soft, and the meat is more toothsome, so it’s all about balance,” says Chan. “This one actually made it from our spring to our summer menu because people really enjoyed it.”

Scratch Kitchen & Bake Shop
1030 Smith St.

Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar

When seeking out authentic, freshly made pappardelle, I would be remiss if I didn’t venture to a haven of true Italian cuisine. Within Royal Hawaiian Center on Kalakaua Avenue, Il Lupino stands out as a serene dining escape, whisking patrons away to a world filled with authentic flavors and cooking techniques.

As manager Maria Prioletti will tell you, Pappardelle al Ragu Maile ($29) is one of her favorite dishes, and it all starts with the quality that comes from exquisite house-made noodles. “Il Lupino is one of the only restaurants in town that makes its own pasta, and that always makes a big difference,” she explains.

Il Lupino's inspiring Pappardelle al Ragu Maile ($29)

Il Lupino’s inspiring Pappardelle al Ragu Maile ($29)

This comfort-inducing selection shines with fresh pork braised in Chianti wine and used to create a stunningly piquant tomato-based ragu.

Bartender and server Joe Seeber says pappardelle is an ideal match for such a delicate yet robustly flavored sauce, as the fresh pasta is more porous than its counterparts, which allows it to soak up every ounce of goodness. “The pappardelle catches the sauce really well and it absorbs all the flavors,” he explains.

Adding finishing touches to the dish, a lively zing of orange zest and freshly grated Parmesan render it a wonderful choice for this time of year. And seeing as Il Lupino houses an impressive wine collection — with roughly 400 to choose from — Seeber also suggests pairing Pappardelle al Ragu Maile with a glass of burgundy Chianti to bring out the flavors in this marvelous creation.

And with that, we’ve surely reached pappardelle heaven.

Il Lupino Trattoria & Wine Bar
Royal Hawaiian Center, Building B, Level 1
2233 Kalakaua Ave.

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