Every morning from Monday to Friday, you can find me on Central Florida’s 408 toll road heading east for what can be between a 30 to 45 minute rush-hour drive to work. I have come to really not enjoy this drive. Because I dislike it so much, I make it a point to make this journey only when necessary, which for me is only during the weekday. However, a few weekends ago after lucking up on one of Scott Joseph’s, a famed Central Florida food critic, NPR clips I decided that I had to add one more long drive to my week to try one of Central Florida’s newest restaurants: Spoleto.
Spoleto is located probably less than a 5-minute drive from the main campus of the University of Central Florida, which just so happens to be my grad-school alma mater. It is in this new and trendy shopping area that was filled with coeds traipsing around. According to Rashmi Primlani of The Primlani Kitchen, this Spoleto location is the first in the U.S. How cool is that! While I only learned of this after the fact, it was really the food and customized pasta dishes that got me excited to make such a long drive for food, and it is the only reason that I look forward to going back.
The restaurant’s focus is on customized, made-to-order Italian fare. The first decision to be made when ordering, even before deciding which of the more than 24+ toppings that you want on your order, is if you want pasta, flatbread, or a salad. I went there for pasta, specifically for the whole grain pasta, so that is precisely what I started my order with. Next comes the difficult part, trying to decide on the toppings. There are a lot to choose from, and they are all freshly made. The great part is that 6 toppings are included with each order. After looking over what seemed like a buffet of toppings, I went with a pretty good selection: Truffle Roasted Mushrooms, Artichoke Hearts, Kalamata Olives, Eggplant, Yellow Squash, and Sundried Tomatoes.
After I selected all of my toppings, which I admit took longer than it should have, they were all placed in a small pan and were quickly sautéed over a stove right in front of me. This was also the step where I selected my sauce – marinara for me – and when my pasta selection was added.
It was a huge plate of pasta! I loved that it was chunky and was topped with only the items that I wanted… nothing more and nothing less. There was one thing that I didn’t enjoy so much: The pasta was slightly over cooked. Since visiting the motherland of pasta, I have become quite fond of pasta cooked al dente. This would’ve made my visit perfect, but I do have a feeling that they were just trying to placate our American taste buds. I get it.
Oh, your meat-eating friends or loved ones will definitely not be left out at Spoleto. Proteins like chicken, meatballs, prosciutto, and roasted link sausage can be added to any dish. Be sure to check out the pictures from my recent visit!