Friday, June 22, 2012

A Slice of Alabama/Part 2: All Hail Pasta DePalma

First stop with Mom during my trip home to Alabama...  

To my 2nd home...T-town (Tuscaloosa)--for maybe my favorite dish that exists outside of my mother's cooking.  

The Pasta DePalma. 


If you have ever attended the University of Alabama, there are 3 names that are more than household...they're legend.

Paul "Bear" Bryant

Nick Saban


And in my book there are 3 things you absolutely have to do/have if you ever find yourself in Tuscaloosa.

An Alabama football game.  There is simply no experience like it. 

A Bloody Mary from Catch 22.  I had my first my freshman year of college and to this day I still haven't had one that can touch it.  Wish I had a photo, but I will be sure to rectify that on my next trip.

The Pasta DePalma. The namesake dish at DePalma's Italian Cafe. I have been going to this restaurant since my brother was at the University in the mid-90's.  And I am pretty sure I've never ordered anything but this dish.  

Noodles baked with mozzarella cheese until almost crisp (on top) stuffed with chicken, onions, and mushrooms. At least this is how I have always ordered it.  (The onions are my extra touch.)  My mother always orders the Italian sausage in place of the chicken.  Drenched in a cream sauce to short...a plate of pasta perfection.

I can't put into words how great it is.  It's honestly my favorite pasta dish that exists.  And almost anyone who's had it can attest to that.  It's a well-known fact that if you have lived in Tuscaloosa at some point or another...this is one of your favorites. Rich, but not overwhelming.  I think that is what I love most about it.  Some alfredo/cream sauces can  be too much...but this is more subtle and mild, but still flavorful.  It really is the most perfect blend of flavors.  

And then the bread sticks...they come first, of course, but I had to talk about the pasta beforehand for formality's sake.  We've always ordered 1/2 spinach and onions...and the other 1/2 sliced Italian sausage and onions.  Of course, dipped in marinara.

Strips of folded dough with the goods tucked inside...smothered in mozzarella.  I've always wondered about the bread.  It just tastes better than any bread in the world.  It has a sweet taste that blends and contrasts perfectly with the saltiness of the sausage, onions, spinach, and cheese.  I could go on and on, but the photos speak for themselves.

My mouth is watering looking at these photos again.  If I had my way, I would have this every. single. day.  

If you are ever visiting, it's on University Boulevard in the heart of downtown.  You can't go wrong.  Of course I can't vouch for the rest of the menu--can't even tell you what is on it (specifically) since I've probably not even glanced at it in over a decade.  But I do know they have a range of great classic pasta dishes, salads, and a pizza that is pretty d*** great, as well.  

At least that's what I hear.  I will always, always stick with my usual.    

Pasta DePalma.  Bread sticks.  A good wine. Great ambiance. In the heart of Tuscaloosa.  It just doesn't get much better than that. 

Roll Tide.

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