Sherman's Food Adventures: F.N. Pasta Fresca

F.N. Pasta Fresca

While we were munching on meats and cheeses at Enoteca Salumeria Lombardi, we were staring at the huge lineup at the F.N. Pasta Fresca kitty corner in the Mercato Centrale in Florence.  That really piqued my interest and I vowed to return to try it.  After touring the Uffizi Gallery in the morning, we made our way back to the market and lined up for fresh pasta at only 6 Euros each.  You pick your pasta and your sauce and it is made freshly in their small kitchen. Sure, there isn't really anywhere to eat this other than some counter seating or if you brought it upstairs to the food court.  Fortunately, we were staying nearby and merely brought it back to our apartment.

I decided to get the chef's recommendation in the Ravioli al Limone with olio e parmigiano.  This was really good featuring big raviolis stuffed with ricotta cheese and lemon.  I found that the lemon really came through in an aromatic sense rather than being tangy.  The pasta itself was firmly al dente and held up even with the short walk back to the apartment.  Dressed merely in olive oil and parmesan, the flavours were nutty and slightly salty.  But not strong enough to take away from the subtlties of the pasta.

While in line, I noticed someone scoffing down some Spaghetti alla Chitarra with ragu di cinghiale.  I found this to be appealingly firm which was partially due to the perfect preparation but also the squared cross section rather than being round.  This robust texture went well with the wild boar ragu.  The ragu itself was rich and thick with the deep flavours of the meat and fat coming through.  It was a bit salty, yet at the same time that helped flavour the firm pasta.

The biggest portion of pasta happened to be the Gnocchi with ragu bolognese.  Honestly, for 6 Euros, this would definitely fill someone up.  Beyond the value, this was also delicious with the gnocchi being tender with a bite.  This was even better than the one we had in Rome on our first night (at a restaurant).  As for the ragu, it was plenty meaty with lots of body and natural flavours from the meat and tomatoes.  This was a less creamy bolognese and was much tangier.  This was also a touch salty.

Our last pasta was the Fagottini di Carne with pomodoro.  This was a good pairing of pasta and sauce since the meat-filled pasta was already robust and meaty.  The light pomodoro with plenty of fresh tomatoes acted as a counter-balance provided a lighter and brighter finish.  The pasta itself was thin and al dente while being delicate.  We felt that the pasta at F.N. Pasta Fresca to be more than acceptable given the price point.  Compared to the pasta I had at the Mercato Centrale in Rome, this was light-years ahead in quality and execution (comparing apples to apples).  Would gladly eat again if I was back in Florence.

The Good:
- Cheap
- Well-prepared
- More than acceptable given the price and venue

The Bad:
- A bit salty
- Long line (but moves)


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