Legend has it that Venus’ navel was the inspiration for the February 13th celebrated national food day – tortellini. The tale of its origin describes how a tavern owner attempted to spy on the goddess, and after only being able to see her navel through the keyhole, he returned to his kitchen inspired to make a delicious stuffed pasta in the shape of an outie. No matter how silly the story, I’m glad a chef decided that putting meat with cheese into a fun pasta would be a hit among Italians.
From the time of the gods and goddesses (1500s, according to the Italian storytellers) to the present day, Italian restaurants around the world have been serving their own rendition of the popular round pasta. Fillings have expanded from the original red meat and cheese recipe to include many other types of meat as well as vegetarian options. We searched around Denver to find a few must-try versions of the crave-worthy carbohydrate for your next pasta outing. Scroll and see which of these dishes catch your eye and inspire your next meal.
The culinary talent of Chef Ty Leon is one of the best when it comes to Denver’s Italian cuisine. This Wash Park restaurant specializes in handmade pasta, which means that among other delicious items on the menu, you must try their Duck Tortellini with braised consomme and parmesan.
Located across from the Convention Center on 14th Street, Terra is serving upscale American West cuisine. While they veer from the traditional meat-filled tortellini with a vegetarian alternative, the pasta does sit in a broth, which was a part of the original serving style of the dish. Enjoy their Butter Squash Tortellini with black garlic brodo and pickled peppers.
Cattivella’s featured exhibition kitchen sets your dining experience apart from a visually pleasing encounter. Located near the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and Havana Street, Chef Elise Wiggins’ well-established knowledge and first-hand experience in Italy have led her to create an unbelievable menu of the region’s best dishes. She displays the versatility of tortellini by its inclusion in their Pasticcio. We highly suggest you bite into this delicious dish that highlights meatballs, three-cheese tortellini, slow-braised bolognese, herby pomodoro, bechamel, and parmigiana brulee. (Warning: It’s not on their menu, but you can catch it as a special.)
You won’t find tortellini on their daily menu but watch for the specials at this fan favorite in town to get your chance to try whatever creative tortellini recipe Chef concocts. Even if you miss a chance at a tortellini special, you cannot go wrong at this authentic (from the service to the kitchen) Italian restaurant.