On Amici: Part Two – Pasta!

Pizza and pasta. It’s one of those matches made in heaven.

For office workers both here and abroad, they have become the staples of many a late night at work or any one of a number of birthdays celebrated in the workplace.

Yellow Cab pizzas are the munchable of choice at my office, though – in a pinch – Pizza Hut and Shakey’s can suffice. Criss-cut Four Seasons pizzas ensure that the celebrant gets to have something everyone can enjoy. (Of course, since there are slices of Shrimp and Roasted Garlic, riots do sometimes tend to ensue. However, I digress…)

Pasta at our office, however, is a rarity. That is, of course, till Amici opened its doors at nearby Tomas Morato.

Along with yesterday’s torti di gelati, my boss threw in large trays of pasta from Amici. In this case, there was a tray of lasagne al forno and another of the spaghetti Bolognese shown above.

Amici’s pasta dishes are prime examples of classic homestyle Italian cooking: rich tomato sauces made from scratch and redolent with the flavors of parsley, garlic, and basil. Most Filipinos who are accustomed to sweetened pasta sauces will balk and shy away from such savory richness,; indeed, some of our colleagues did complain, decrying the sauce as too tart for their palates. The rest of us, however, dug straight in and enjoyed ourselves immensely.

The lasagne al forno isn’t the average Juan’s lasagna, which is to say that there is less Bechamel sauce and/or cream and more tomato. Plus, Amici’s version had a cheesier vibe to it; I suspected that there were slices of mozzarella between the pasta sheets – gooey, chewy yum!

The spag-bol, on the other hand, was also deliciously different. For one thing, the noodles used were thinner than the pasta used by fast food chains and many home cooks. For another, it looked dry rather than moist yet there was a richness in the sauce that coated each noodle. The beef used for the sauce was finely shredded rather than ground, adding textural oomph to the dish. It also had a sort of cross-cultural thing going on as the sauce also had hints of cinnamon to it. (Moussaka sauce on spaghetti? Why, wouldn’t that turn the dish into pastitsio? Don’t mind me; I was just surprised, is all…)

I have yet to dine in at any branch of Amici, but now that I’ve sampled the gelati and the pasta, I do believe I know where I’m headed for my next restaurant hop. 😀