Feb 23, 2024 - Things to Do

Axios NWA Does: Semi-homemade local pasta

photo of finished pasta dishes

The finished products. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

Alex here. I sometimes want a little "Eat Pray Love" moment — but like, only for a moment.

  • So it's ideal to find fresh pasta at a cozy store in downtown Springdale where most of the work has been done for me but I come out feeling like Martha Stewart.

What's happening: NWA has its very own pasta shop — Zelli — where you can buy freshly made pastas and sauces, similar to how one would shop for cake at a bakery.What happened: I started with the most classic option — spaghetti — plus the ricotta and potato ravioli. I also selected some Zelli's tomato sauce with Calabrian chile and a basil pesto off the shelf. And, of course, fresh parmesan. And brought it all home to throw together.

It's a tightly packed store on Emma Avenue that also carries their dried boxed pasta, jarred sauces from other brands, wine, cheese, meats and gifts. Basically everything you need to class up a night in.

What happened: I started with the most classic option — spaghetti — plus the ricotta and potato ravioli. I also selected some of Zelli's tomato sauce with Calabrian chile and a basil pesto off the shelf. And, of course, fresh parmesan. And brought it all home to throw together.

photo of pasta ingredients
How it started. Photo: Alex Golden/Axios

The intrigue: This is low effort for high reward — a good plan for dinner after work or to impress when you have people over. You can always make it your own with meat, veggies or extra seasonings, but you don't need it.

  • The fresh pasta is sold by serving, so you don't have to commit to a big pot if you're looking to make dinner for one.

How it works: I boiled the pasta in two separate pans for just a few minutes. All I added was a little olive oil with minced garlic in each pan and then tossed the ravioli with the tomato sauce and the spaghetti with the pesto. And topped each with parmesan and some black pepper. Even making two separate dishes took about 10 minutes.

By the numbers: Prices vary. The spaghetti was $1.55 for two servings and the ravioli was $18 for two servings or 14 pieces. The Zelli tomato sauce was $8.50.

Alex's thought bubble: Both dishes were delicious. My husband and I could tell a major difference between the homemade pasta and our usual store-bought variety. And my kitchen doesn't look like the disaster it would be if I went to the trouble of making homemade ravioli.

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