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Pasta Friday

Pasta Friday on Tuesday at the Roadhouse

A2 in A2: chef, author, and friend Allison Arevalo brings her passion for people and pasta-cooking to Ann Arbor

Speaking of pasta . . . maybe you have great memories, growing up, when you got together with your family and friends over a marvelous home-cooked meal? One where pasta was on the table, and good food, good conversation, good comradery were the order of the day? While most folks reminisce, Allison Arevalo took action—rather than regretfully lament the loss of the “good old days” of family dinners, she came up with Pasta Friday. What started a few years ago as a small seed of a good idea, turned into a weekly tradition that has brought together literally thousands of people in the Bay Area. And now, I’m happy to report, Pasta Friday is a wonderful, just-released-to-the-world, cookbook! (get a free recipe here) Soon Allison’s passion will turn into a small pasta restaurant in Brooklyn. It’s called Pasta Louise, named after her grandmother. Allison shares that, “After church every week, [she] cooked Sunday supper, a pasta feast put together by a 92-year-old woman who needed to stand on a step stool to flip the meatballs. This was how my family—and most Italian families on Long Island—spent their Sundays.”

For those of us who don’t live in New York, or who (like me) didn’t grow up in a big, pasta-eating Italian family, we get a chance to experience some of Allison’s passion and her pasta later this month at the Roadhouse. Allison will be coming to do “Pasta Friday on Tuesday” the evening of October 22!

Allison Arevalo Pasta FridayAllison grew up in an Italian family in which pasta was a centerpiece. About 15 years ago, she and her husband left New York and moved out west. Living in the Bay Area, she co-founded the excellent Homeroom with Erin Wade. The restaurant won rave reviews and grew quite a bit. While success was good, the business began to grow in directions Allison wasn’t wild about. Not bad stuff, just not the way she wanted to be in business. Staying true to her art she sold her shares and started thinking about what to do next. (She and I traded a lot of emails around this time since I was working on “The Art of Business” pamphlet and she and I clearly had a shared philosophical approach to our work.)

What she came up with was Pasta Friday—every Friday for two years, Allison invited a different group of friends and relatives over to her house for a pasta-based meal. Each week, a different pasta dish, different friends, always a good outcome. Last fall, Allison did the work (no small thing) to turn her weekly get-togethers into a cookbook. Which, as the cover says, is all about “love, community, and good food!”—three things that are close to our hearts here at Zingerman’s as well. If those themes resonate with you, and you like pasta a tiny bit as much as I do, then this dinner is for you!

What’s on the menu? Pasta! And lots of great seasonal vegetables. Each pasta course comes with a small salad to balance out the meal! The pastas include Cannelloni with Swiss chard, ricotta, and bechamel; Chitarra with Tunisian harissa and seafood; and Pappardelle with roasted pork and mushrooms. And for dessert? Allison’s family recipe for Ricotta Zeppole filled with lemon cream. If I wasn’t already working, I’d have signed up ten seconds after the announcement came out from the Roadhouse! Come meet Allison, eat some good pasta, meat some good people, and celebrate a taste of Pasta Friday on Tuesday!

Get your tickets to Pasta Friday (on a Tuesday!)
P.S. Allison cooks extensively with Rustichella pasta—you know, the one in the “brown bag” that we stock so much of at the Deli. I’m also a big fan! We’ve been selling their wonderful products for over 30 years now. I love their linguine and fettuccine. At the dinner we’ll be featuring their new pasta from the ancient Saragolla wheat—like the Grain Commission project at the Bakehouse, they’re working with ancient grains that have more flavor. Both Allison and I are captivated by its full flavor!