Celebrate National Pasta Month at Home and Around Houston

plate of pasta

What do you call a fake noodle?

An im-pasta!

(That one is to impress your kiddos).

In all seriousness though, I would bet if you were to ask a large group of people what their favorite type of food is, a huge chunk of them would say pasta. What is more comforting and filling than a huge bowl of noodles? Especially when you pack in various vegetables, meats, cheeses… My mouth is watering just thinking about it. October is National Pasta Month so I thought a great way to celebrate would be to share my favorite places to eat around town as well as my favorite pasta dishes to make at home. Bon appetito!

Grab a Bite Around Town

couple enjoying a night out We all know that Houston is a major foodie city, and Italian food is no exception. I know pasta can be enjoyed in all manner of cuisines, but the Italian way of using it in dishes is my favorite. Here are some excellent joints in the greater Houston area to grab a spaghetti, rigatoni, fettuccine and more!

Trattoria Sofia

This restaurant is my absolute favorite in Houston for Italian food. It is a wonderful spot for date night with its cozy interior, low lighting and beautiful courtyard, but the food is the real scene stealer. Start with the roasted octopus and add on the lamb ragu campanelle, and perhaps a pizza as well. They also have a great lunch menu.

Coltivare

This is another spot that is a fave of mine. While I typically get pizza, their pastas and other dishes are killer as well. The pumpkin ravioli – YUM. This is fun spot to go with your girlfriends or coworkers.

Tony’s

If you are looking for a more upscale experience, you can’t go wrong with this restaurant. It has been feeding Houstonians for over 50 years, and boasts a menu filled with the flavors of classic Italy. Start with a refined bolognese pappardelle and top it off with a coastal dish such as the dover sole or red snapper.

Other Houston Moms Faves:

Adriatic Cafe

Colina’s

DaVinci Ristorante

Italianos

Ostia

Pane e Vino

Eat at Home

two young boys eating pasta noodles

Pastas are one of my favorite dishes to make at home. They are fairly quick and easy, filling and satisfying, and one thing I know I can get my kids to eat! Here are some of my go-to recipes I have refined that make a wonderful family meal.

Sausage Pepper Pasta

sausage pepper pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 package penne or bowtie pasta
  • 1 pound/package of sweet Italian sausage
  • Yellow and red bell peppers
  • Sweet onion
  • Olive oil
  • Italian seasoning
  • Shredded or grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Fill up a large pot with water and set to boil for pasta.
  2. Cut up bell peppers and onion into small bites or strips.
  3. Cut up or pull apart sausage into small bites and cook in olive oil in saucepan. Remove when cooked and leave juices in saucepan.
  4. Saute onion and peppers in juices in saucepan.
  5. Boil pasta al dente (which means a bit undercooked). 
  6. Drain pasta once cooked and mix in bowl with sausage, veggies and olive oil. Season with Italian seasoning.
  7. Serve in bowl and dress with grated cheese.
  8. Enjoy!

Shrimp Scampi Pasta

shrimp scampi pasta in bowl

Ingredients:

  • 1 package pasta such as penne, fettuccine or linguine
  • 1+ pound shrimp (I prefer wild caught gulf brown shrimp)
  • Garlic cloves
  • Italian seasoning
  • Dry white wine
  • Lemon juice
  • Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Fill up large pot with water and set to boil for pasta.
  2. Peel shrimp (if needed).
  3. Peel and mince garlic cloves.
  4. Put butter in saucepan and heat up to melt and add garlic.
  5. Once garlic is slightly browned, add in shrimp to cook.
  6. Add in 1 cup white wine and ½ cup lemon juice and saute shrimp in sauces.
  7. Boil pasta al dente (which means a bit undercooked). 
  8. Drain pasta once cooked and place in bowls. 
  9. Remove shrimp and garlic with sauces and add to pasta. Season with Italian seasoning and a hefty amount of Parmesan cheese, and mix in with a bit of olive oil.
  10. Enjoy!

A Quick Recipe for Homemade Meatballs

I love making meatballs, and I didn’t realize that many people don’t know what to mix in until I was talking with a friend who had never made them. I like to use a fattier ground beef, like 80% lean, or if I am trying to be healthy I will substitute with ground turkey or bison. I mix the meat with 1-2 eggs, Italian breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese and minced garlic. I like to get a thick consistency that is heavier on the breadcrumbs for flavor. Then I cook in oil. My kids love eating these with butter noodles, so it is a great way to get some meat in them.

I hope all of this inspires you to explore your pasta-bilities this October! Alla nostra!


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Dani has spent the vast majority of her life in the greater Houston area, and there’s no place else she’d rather be! She loves all things Houston, from the culture, to the sports, to the FOOD {ohhhh, Tex-Mex}. After many years attending Texas A&M University {twice!} and the University of Texas Health Science Center Houston, she worked in the healthcare field for over a decade as a critical care nurse and then a family nurse practitioner. In 2021, she left her medical career in order to care for her youngest daughter at home who has epilepsy. Dani is wife to her best friend Stu, and mom to two little spitfires, Emilia {2017} and Caroline {2019}. When she is not caring for her family, Dani is an avid gardener and now has her own business, Summer Skye Gardens, which provides garden coaching, consultations, design and more. You can follow her gardening journey and love of all things nature-related via her Instagram @summerskyegardens and her website www.summerskyegardens.com.

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