PWI–Parenting While Intoxicated

…on good food, questionable judgment, and making life work

Lazzaroli Pasta – It’s In There

Within these doors lies awesome

Within these doors lies awesome

While Nashville may have a dearth of good or hell, decent classic Italian restaurants*, we are blessed with an amazing little shop up in Germantown, just North of Downtown on 5th Avenue North.

(* I don’t count City House or Rolf and Daughters because they are “Italian influenced”, awesomeand not what I would consider a classic Italian restaurant)

Lazzaroli Pasta is the labor of love of Tom Lazzaro and his family.  Opened in 2007, Mr. Lazzaro makes his pasta products fresh every day.  And he isn’t pretentious.  At any time that you pop in, you’ll find him easy to talk to or meet his mother-in-law who will gladly steer you to what you need.

So goooood....

So goooood….

The shop is packed full of not only fresh noodles, but also their signature ravioli in fantastic flavors like:

Hot Italian Sausage & Asiago
Goat Cheese & Pear Ravioli
 (yep – ravioli filled with pierogi filling!)
Chianti and Beef Short Rib
And the holy mother of all
Wagyu Beef, Benton’s Bacon & 3 yr Cheddar (I can’t read that without choking on drool a little bit)
And so many many more…

Not only do they have pasta, they have all of the fixins including just about every sauce you could think of – and I’ve never had a bad one.  Cheeses (FRESH MOZZARELLA ON SATURDAYS!!!), charcuterie, olive oil – you name it.  And then things get really dangerous.  This place stocks things that are just impossible to turn down and are frankly dangerous, like Mikuni’s Noble Tonics – maple syrups and vinegars aged in bourbon barrels:

To go with the best pancakes evar?

To go with the best pancakes evar?

Only place in town that I’ve ever this stuff and they have amazing treats like Sable and Rosenfield garnishes – and these are maybe the best Bloody Mary and Martini garnishes I’ve ever seen.  Oh yes, and Luxardo Maraschino cherries!

You don't *have* to use it as a garnish...

You don’t *have* to use it as a garnish…

And the best part – the pricing here is awesome – these guys have great pricing on everything – all of the products above are cheaper than Amazon.  They are loaded down with all manner of local goods – you name it, they have it.  This would be a fantastic place to build an amazing gift basket for a foodie/drinkie friend or to treat yourself.  Not that I’ve ever… uh…

Gnocchi (or insert your own pasta) ala Vodka

(semi-artfully adapted from the Cook’s Illustrated Penne ala Vodka recipe)

Comfort fud

Comfort fud


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, minced (*about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 medium garlic cloves, minced (or pressed through garlic press,, *about 2 tsp)
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes (My kids can’t taste heat with 1/4 tsp, but I like it hotter myself)
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/3 cup vodka (**premium is best)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb Gnocchi from Lazzaroli (or penne)
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil leaves or 2 teaspoons of dried basil
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese, for serving

1. Pulse half the tomatoes in a food processor until smooth, roughly 12 pulses. Combine pureed and diced tomatoes in a measuring cup and add juice until is it slight more than 2 cups

Don't rush this step

Don’t rush this step

2. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat until shimmering.  Add onion and tomato paste and cook until onion is softened and lightly browned, roughly 5-7 minutes (don’t stop until that onion is soft!).  Add garlic and pepper flakes and cook til fragrant, roughly 30 seconds – I wish you could blog smells…



3. Stir in tomato mixture and salt, add vodka (remove from heat first if you have gas), and bring up to medium-high heat – cook for 8 to 10 minutes until you can’t smell the alcohol.  And trust me, bad vodka will be tasted.  This is the Cooks Illustrated issue where they talk about running cheap vodka through a Brita pitcher 4 times and the fact it was almost unrecognizable from Gray Goose.  Reduce heat it it starts to bubble up too much, but it should start to turn a nice orange.  Stir in cream and cook til hot, roughly 1 minute and then add the basil.



4. Meanwhile bring 4-6 quarts of salted water to boil, cook pasta until al dente and reserve 1/2 a cup of cooking water before draining.  Add sauce to pasta and cook at medium heat for 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle fresh grated Parmesan cheese on top before serving

Almost ready for mah belly

Almost ready for mah belly

You can also add pancetta – heat 1 T olive oil in saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add 3 oz. thinly sliced pancetta cut into 1/2 inch pieces and cook until crisp – roughly 5 minutes.  Drain all but 2T of fat from the pan, and cook the onions and tomato paste (omit the olive oil in step 1), reduce salt to a pinch and add pancetta to the pan in step 3 with basil.


About Sparky

Sparky is a salaryman for an unspecified Fortune 200 company. But more importantly, he has a smoking jacket and entertains fellow bon vivants in his secret lair, The Manitarium. He believes in booze, charcuterie, bbq, bourbon, villainy, craft cocktails, ascots, the Oxford comma, and freedom. He is married to a beautiful attorney who is a life-long vegetarian and was raised as an experiment by her meddling nutrition scientist parents. He can be found trying to save his kids from a life of vegetables...

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


This entry was posted on January 31, 2014 by in What Are We Eating?.
%d bloggers like this: