It’s not often that the Divas venture outside our usual surroundings but now and then, we can be convinced. Such was the case when La Femme Fatale told us that we had to try out a place in NDG called Pasta Casareccia.
Located on Sherbrooke west, Pasta Casareccia has been making homemade pasta since 1985. You can buy their pasta at the restaurant’s counter, along with pastries, cookies and more. There is a small terrasse set up outside and the seating inside is on a raised mezzanine.
The Divas and Sweet Pea arrived at the mom and pop restaurant, clearly overdressed for the occasion but we had late night plans after so we had to keep it sexy. We sat down and waited for everyone to arrive, eyeing the chalkboard menu with some of the night’s specials. The restaurant is decorated in a typical quaint, Italian style which makes you feel like you’re visiting a relative, with ornate dishes on the wall, espresso pots, a bicycle and Italian caramelle, or candies that Italian kids used to get from their Nonno’s.
As La Femme Fatale and her Monsieur arrived with their friends, Mauro, friends with Femme Fatale, and the owner, came out to greet us and joke around before leaving us in his mother’s capable hands. The Divas reminded him that he promised us on Facebook that we could take his Vespa for a spin, and he told us we could choose from his collection of 12! He doesn’t know us but we will hold him to it…or hostage. He asked if we wanted to order from the menu or simply let him choose the best of the best. Since he’s the expert, we left it in his hands.
We started with a plate of mixed homemade cold cuts with olives, which included a meaty and rich sopressata. It was thinly sliced, as was the sweet tasting coppa, made from pork. We also had a dish that Diva #2 is very familiar with thanks to her godmother, stuffed and fried olives. Served with wedges of lemon, the olives were stuffed with a blend of ground meats, breaded and deep fried to add a thin crust to the outside. Every bite was perfection.
Another dish that is hard to resist, and one of the night’s specials, is fried zucchini flowers and Pasta Casareccia does them well. Sweet Pea’s grandmother makes some of the best fried zucchini flowers sprinkled with sugar, we had high standards and were eager to try them at Pasta Casareccia. Served with a simple cherry tomato salad, the flowers were lightly breaded and fried. Surprisingly they were not at all greasy. We could have easily eaten a plateful each!
Our last appetizer which was another special for the night, was the crostini topped with rapini and a Diva favourite, burrata. The rapini was cooked perfectly and still retained its bright green colour. The burrata was drizzled with olive oil and cracked black pepper, it was cheesy and fresh. This was our favourite appetizer of the night! It was nice to see a twist on the usual bruschetta like topping that is served with burrata. The bitterness of the rapini was a perfect combination with the creamy burrata and the rich olive oil.
We were given a break between dishes and conversation turned to potential weddings. Diva #1 has known La Femme Fatale for a long time and tried to gently explain to La Femme Fatale’s friend that she would be the obvious choice for flower girl. The friend did not agree and looked to her boyfriend for support, though he had stuck his foot in his mouth earlier in the evening when siding with the Divas over his lady. He was convinced that he would be sleeping on the couch, and we didn’t have an argument for that! It should be pointed out that no one fought for maid of honour postion…but Diva #1 knows that she is going to get it *hint hint* !!!
Thankfully our first pasta plate arrived to cut the tension. What’s lovely about Pasta Casareccia is that you can choose the type of pasta that you prefer and pair it with one of the many sauces that are offered. Some pasta dishes can be ordered as a half portion, so that you can try a little bit of everything. The delicious tagliatelle in a Porto d’Ascoli sauce of red pesto and arugula was topped with shrimp. The pasta was cooked al dente, the arugula added a hit of colour and the shrimp were large, sweet and flavourful. We were so pleased, it was a serious plate of pasta!
If there’s one thing you can be sure of, Pasta Casareccia does not skimp on portion size! The gnocchi were made with a hazelnut sauce which was rather original. The small nuggets of potato dough were divine when bathed in a luscious creamy hazelnut sauce with ground sausage, wine, black truffle shavings and cream. Every bite was decadent and though we were full, it was not hard to clean our plates. It was a wonderful dish and our favourite pasta plate of the night.
Though the food was delicious, we were glad that we only had dessert left. We had three choices and of course the Divas and Sweet Pea ordered all of them to share. The tiramisu was definitely homemade and there was plenty of alcohol soaked into the lady fingers. The mascarpone layers were rich and smooth and the portion generous. The sorbettos were both refreshing, the coffee flavoured one was thick and rich, and the lemon sorbetto had just enough tartness to it.
Our night came to end and we planned on heading out for drinks to meet more friends, along with La Femme Fatale and her Monsieur. We had a lovely meal with plenty of carbs to absorb the alcohol we were about to consume. Pasta Casareccia is a great family run restaurant, perfect for a casual meal, with homemade pastas and friendly service that makes you feel like you’re eating with family.
Our Rating: As Expected
Tagged: 5849 Sherbrooke W, Burrata, Charcuterie, Crostini, Family Restaurant, Gnocchi, Homemade Pasta, Italian, Italian Restaurant, Lemon Sorbetto, Montreal Food, Montreal Restaurant, NDG, NDG restaurant, Pasta, Pasta Casareccia, Pasta Casareccia Montreal, Pasta Casareccia NDG, Pasta Casareccia Sherbrooke, Rapini, Shrimp, Sorbetto, Stuffed Olives, Tagliatelle, Tiramisu, Truffles, Zucchini Flowers