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Ristorante Roma's rigatoni all’amatriciana

Image: Michael Novak

Ristorante RomaRigatoni all’amatriciana

This humble downtown trattoria is like a direct flight to Rome, cheesy Trevi Fountain murals and boisterous families passing plates of steamed clams and hearty pastas included. Dig into a heap of perfectly al dente noodles tossed with nubs of pancetta, chile-spiced tomato sauce, and a shower of pecorino. It’s a sunny European vacation in a bowl

Smokehouse 21: Macaroni and Cheese 

Why mess with a good thing? Nob Hill’s cozy barbecue spot bakes up a wildly salty, sharp, creamy cup of proper mac like Mom used to make, literally—it’s a riff on owner B.J. Smith’s mom’s recipe. A blend of asiago, cheddar, and gorgonzola lends the elbow noodles some tang and bite, while hunks of Nueske’s bacon and toasty bits of the restaurant’s bacon molasses corn bread create layers of sweet-savory flavor. 

Alameda Café: Barley Risotto 

At the completely revamped Alameda Café on NE Fremont Street, the family-friendly kitchen scores with this simple winter risotto. Pearl barley is toasted, soaked in vegetable stock, tossed with creamed leeks, delicata squash, and chanterelles, and topped with a bramble of crispy shallots. The creamy, umami-rich dish slays even the deepest winter chill. 

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