The Pastificio d’Oro pop-up will transport you to northern Italy with its delicate handmade tagliatelle and tortelloni

Pastificio d’Oro is a restaurant within another restaurant in St. Johns. But its heart – and therefore, your stomach – is in Bologna, the Italian city known for its handmade pasta, meat stew (aka “bolognese”) and mortadella (which America has transformed, yes, “bologna”). It also happens to be one of Portland’s sister cities.

The beloved cuisine of Emilia-Romagna, a region that includes Parma (as in prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiano) and Moderna (as in balsamic vinegar), appears on the menu of several Portland restaurants serving a variety of Italian dishes. . But at the Pastificio, you will only find foods originating from the north-central province. For chef Chase Dopson and his partner Maggie Irwin, it’s both a deliberate choice and a practical reality since Pastificio is a pop-up operating out of Gracie’s Apizza just two nights a week.

As you were learning to make sourdough at the start of the pandemic, Dopson caught “the pasta bug,” cracking eggs and rolling out the dough for tagliatelle and tortelloni with a 100-centimetre mattarello (a particular style of rolling pin). pastry shop).

“It’s very meditative,” he says. “It’s really fun to not use machines and do something with literally a wooden stick and a plank.”

Dopson had never actually worked in an Italian restaurant or cooked this type of food before – before the 2020 lockdown he spent several years at Jacqueline’s – but he loved eating it and turned to Evan Funke, of LA restaurant Felix Trattoria , as well as the YouTube series grannies pasta, for inspiration. He started Pastificio selling home kits and in September 2021 decided to try his luck at Gracie, where Irwin had previously worked.

With a single induction burner to boil water and Gracie’s wood-fired oven, Dopson typically builds his menu around just two pastas, most often a tagliatelle stew ($17) and stuffed pasta in the family of tortellini. The deeply flavored ragù has all the meats: beef chuck, pork shoulder, bologna, prosciutto, pancetta and lard, plus mirepoix, meat broth, red wine and just a hint of tomato. The beef, pork and lard come from Revel Meat Co. in Canby, while the cured components come from Cowbell in southeast Portland.

Other weeks you might find lasagna and the occasional primi special, most recently a breaded and fried pork cutlet with prosciutto di Parma and Parmigiana-Reggiano in cream sauce ($20). Eating light is not – even the simplest ricotta tortelloni ($15) with perfectly crispy sage leaves and browned butter is rich, while a dish called balanzoni, made with tortelloni with spinach, double the density by incorporating mortadella into the filling.

“It’s obviously very heavy food,” Dopson says, “but it’s very soothing to the soul.”

“Feed,” adds Irwin.

“It’s that fine line between wanting to play this Italian grandma who just wants to shovel food down your throat and how much can someone eat?” Dopson says.

To cut the rich, pickled seasonal vegetables ($5) and a simple escarole, radicchio and Little Gem insalata ($9), both from Wild Roots Farm. But the best thing to do is bring a really big appetite and order the whole menu. There’s always dessert, while antipasti include a plate of salumi ($9 or $12 with Parmigiano-Reggiano and balsamic vinegar) and Emilian fried bread with mortadella mostarda and squacquerone ($9), a creamy and extremely fresh than Dopson homemade because there’s really no way to import it.

“We had a guy who came, he grew up in Bologna,” Irwin says, “and he was like, ‘I could never have that [in America].’”

Dopson and Irwin haven’t been to Bologna themselves but hope to change that soon, and not just for a work trip – the two have been engaged since October 2020 (Irwin proposed).

“We want to go on honeymoon,” says Dopson. “We want to go there and just like, eat and get drunk and look at all the beautiful architecture.”

TO EAT: Pastificio d’Oro, 8737 N Lombard St., 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Tuesday.

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