For the Love of Pasta

Italian Cuisine in the Midstate

When mentioning Italian cuisine, one can quickly associate one of the most popular dishes that comes to mind – pasta. The average pasta noodle is a low-fat food, low in sodium and has no cholesterol. This is good news for health-conscious eaters and dieters. Even better news is that there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of ways to pair this tasty dish with various toppings and sauces.  Alfredo sauce, tomato sauce, garlic sauce, vodka-based sauce, chicken, beef, veal, vegetables and so much more. Even gluten-free options are available. There are endless combinations to make your perfect pasta dish. And with pasta being good for all ages, it makes for a great family meal.

In Central Pa., we are fortunate to lay claim to a variety of authentic Italian restaurants that offer up specialty pasta dishes, all with the restaurant’s own personal touches and ingredients. Harrisburg Magazine stopped by four local spots to discover some of the tastiest signature pasta dishes in the midstate. Get your appetites ready for pasta perfection.

Squid-Ink Fettuccine with Shrimp @ Pastorante in Harrisburg

The mission of Pastorante is to bring authentic, quality pasta dishes to the community for affordable prices. Specializing in unique and also traditional pasta dishes, Pastorante has something for everyone to enjoy.  A popular dish is the Squid-Ink Fettuccine with Shrimp, made with a homemade black pasta and served with shrimp, all covered in a vodka-based sauce. Pastorante is a BYOB restaurant and offers gluten-free options as well as take-out availability.

Pappardelle Bolognese @ Carley’s Ristorante & Piano Bar in Harrisburg

With live entertainment, every night, Carley’s Ristorante & Piano Bar is a great place to have a traditional, rustic Italian dish. Pasta, pizzas, veal dishes and whole fish entrées are specialties of this restaurant. Be sure to try the Pappardelle Bolognese, served with hand-cut noodles covered in a classic Italian meat sauce made from a combination of beef, pork, veal, red wine, tomatoes, and milk. The dishes at Carley’s change often, so you’ll always have the chance to try something new upon each visit.

Scialatielli di Mare @ Nino’s Bistro in Camp Hill

Nino’s Bistro specializes in Sicilian and Italian cuisine and serves large helpings for dinner entrées. The family-friendly atmosphere is a great place to sit down and enjoy a meal with your loved ones in a welcoming environment for all. One of their specialty dishes is the Scialatielli di Mare, made with scialatielli pasta, lobster, clams, shrimp, scallops and oysters topped with spinach trifolati and covered in a white butter-garlic sauce.

Homemade Penne in Pink Vodka Sauce @ Alvaro Bread and Pastry Shoppe in Harrisburg

The Alvaro family believes that “hard work becomes the most delicious food.” At Alvaro Bread and Pastry Shoppe, the bread, pasta, and pastries are made from scratch daily to ensure the freshest and most authentic Italian food. A popular pasta dish offered at Alvaro is the Homemade Penne in Pink Vodka Sauce. The sauce is alfredo-based and made with parmesan, mozzarella and asiago cheeses, then mixed with red vodka. At Alvaro, “a taste of Italy is just around the corner.”