The Hudson Valley’s Best Pasta Dish is So Good We Had to Clone it
I am completely obsessed with this delicious pasta dish from one of the Hudon Valley's best restaurants and even figured out how to make it at home.
Every once in a while you stumble across a restaurant that hits all the right buttons. For me, it's all about fresh ingredients, layers of flavor, and perfect execution. All of those things came together and sent me to pasta heaven when I ordered what I think is the best menu item in the Hudson Valley.
For years, our family would celebrate special occasions and holidays at Il Barilotto in the Village of Fishkill. When we heard that the restaurant had closed down we were crushed. So, you could imagine our delight when we heard that the people behind Il Barilotto had opened a brand new restaurant just down the street.
Il Figlio Enoteca opened last year and it's everything Il Barilotto was and more. While technically located in a strip mall, stepping into the huge space is like traveling through a portal to a restaurant in New York City. The two floors of dining and large bar accommodate way more people than Il Barilotto ever did. And the best part is that everything we loved about the old restaurant, including the greatest pasta dish of all time, lives on.
Strozzapreti loosely translates from Italian to mean "priest choker." While maybe not the most appetizing name, this pasta dish originally served at Il Barilotto is now available at Il Figlio and it's the most incredible thing I've ever ordered.
The priest choker pasta gets its name from glutenous Italian priests who allegedly loved this hand-rolled pasta so much that they choked themselves by gobbling it up so fast. You can think of it as an elongated cavatelli. And while this unique style of pasta is very special, what makes this dish is the sauce.
Il Figlio serves their strozzapreti with crumbled sausage in a tomato cream sauce with peas. The long, absorbant pasta soaks up all of the flavors making every bite a thing of perfection. Topped with freshly grated parmesan cheese, this meal is hands down the greatest thing I've ever eaten in the Hudson Valley. I love it so much that after Il Barilotto closed down I spent months hunting down recipes in hopes of making it at home.
The hardest part of recreating this incredible dish is tracking down priest choker pasta. I couldn't find any local stores that stocked strozzapreti but was able to order some online. While you could make this dish with other types of pasta, there's something magical about the priest choker pasta that really completes the dish.
Here's a side-by-side comparison between the Il Figlio strozzapreti and my homemade version. I was surprised by not only how similar they look, but also how I was able to recreate the taste of this insanely delicious pasta dish. (Mine's on the right)
I highly suggest visiting Il Figlio and ordering the strozzapreti before tackling this at home for the first time. Knowing just how incredible this meal is supposed to taste will help guide you through the process.
After translating some Italian recipes I found online and combining it with a few similar dishes I've found from around the country I think I've stumbled across a pretty close clone to the Il Figlio strozzapreti.
1 package of Premio sausage meat (no casings)
1 medium onion
1 bottle of strong red wine
4 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup of frozen peas
1 lb. strozzapreti pasta (priest chokers)
Fresh Parmesan cheese
Dice the onion and cook it in olive oil until translucent. Add sausage and cook down while breaking it into crumbly pieces. Take a bit of the red wine and add it to the pan until the sausage turns slightly purple. After the wine has been absorbed, add the tomato sauce and transfer to a pot with a loose lid to simmer for a few hours.
When ready to eat, begin cooking the strozzapreti pasta as directed and mix the cream and frozen peas into the sauce. Drain the pasta when finished and add it to the sauce. Let the flavors combine for a few minutes before plating the pasta and topping it with freshly grated parmesan.
If you try this dish for yourself, I'd love to hear how it came out and if you think it's as good as the strozzapreti at Il Figlio.