Not to wax poetic but Prego at The Westin with Chef Emiliano at the helm is nothing short of ‘edible pleasure’. He is innovative yet traditional; he is adaptable yet manages to retain a lot of originality and as much as I would like to perpetuate packaged pastas as passable, the truth is, there is nothing better than soft, pliable, delicious, fresh pasta. The ongoing promotion at Prego is just that. Pastificio or Pasta Factory does signify systematic production of all the possible shapes of pasta but it also suggests a certain freshness that a packaged product will never be able to mimic and with that we sat down for a meal that we knew would be talked about for months to come!
We started with Insalate or salads, which had pasta of course – the Insalata Sarda (INR 700), hand made eggless strozzapreti pasta, sundried tomato, tapenade, basil pesto, pecorino cheese, kalamata olives, asparagus and pine nuts. Every ingredient reads gourmet and comes together to produce a tart and nutty flavour that’s mildly offset by the strozzapreti pasta which is interestingly also called the ‘priest strangler’ and it has nothing to do with the shape! Makes you wonder at the angst that probably existed when it came to patriarchal figures like priests. The shape however is more like long, coiled, soft penne and it tends to hold plenty of dressing when used in a salad. Then comes the Farcita which could possibly be one of my favourite Italian words and means stuffed. A classic example would be ravioli but chef also served up a mean mushroom tortelli that had a fragrance you could smell across the cafe. The Tortelacci ai Funghi (INR 1000) was served with a spinach and cheese fondue and further fortified with a beautiful truffle sauce. We kept space for at least one dish from the Gratinata or baked section of the Pastificio menu and we didn’t regret it one bit, mainly because hand crafted pastas are way less mealy than the dried, packaged ones. We chose wisely and selected the Canneloni di Pollo (INR 700), simple yet robust, deeply flavourful chicken (that in itself is a marvel!), stuffed in canneloni, slathered with cheese sauce and topped with mushrooms. As Churchill said, “My tastes are simple, I am easily satisfied with the best”, and this was one of those scenarios.
We completed our meal with yet another avatar of the humble pasta, Dolce or Dessert which was absolutely soul satisfying. The Bugie Ripiene (INR 500) was a home style, sugar dusted, crisp ravioli style pasta served with custard, chocolate and berries. It was one of those desserts that would suffice as a meal. We also played smart and added cocktails to the meal – the mixologist at Prego is akin to a drink masterchef and does a fabulous spin on a Negroni, one of the classiest cocktails to order with a meal like this.
The Pastificio Festival is on till 31st May, 2015