Pasta is my main indulgence, and with so many delicious dishes in our area, narrowing down the dishes to six was a challenge, so do expect a part two in the future. Note, too, that most restaurants now offer several gluten-free options for a slight additional charge.
Here, in no specific order, are some of my favorites:
3809 S. Tuttle Ave., Sarasota, (941) 927-8716, lascarpettasarasota.com
La Scarpetta serves an amazing version of tortelli d'anatra—torelli served with a light duck ragù and orange zest. Slightly rich, with bright citrus notes that will make you wish you licked the plate.
North Sarasota: 8203 Cooper Creek Blvd., Sarasota, (941) 359-6400; south Sarasota: 4045 Clark Road, Sarasota, (941) 921-9600; valentinopizzeria.com
If gorgonzola is your thing, then Valentino's Dejura gorgonzola is your dish. It's made with penne, gorgonzola, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh spinach, roasted garlic and a light cream sauce. The servings at dinner are large, so consider splitting two different pasta dishes and there will still be leftovers.
7129 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, (941) 556-9639, napulesarasota.com
Where do I begin with their delicious pasta dishes, all homemade, of course? Perhaps with al dente fettuccine swirled in a pistachio cream sauce with speck. It is rich and luscious and perfect with a bold glass of Barolo.
3900 Clark Road, Sarasota, (941) 952-3186, chiantisarasota.com
Chianti's "Sunday sauce" is the real-deal tradition of red gravy, with meatballs, pork ribs, homemade sausage and a pasta of your choice. Almost like going to nonna's house every Sunday
4141 S. Tamiami Trail, #13, Sarasota, (941) 870-2729, peperonatapasta.com
This pasta maker offers a huge variety of noodles, including high-nutrient flax pasta, but their ravioli are my favorite to purchase at the downtown Sarasota Farmers Market or at their store. Toss one package of butternut squash ravioli with one package of goat cheese ravioli and drizzle with olive oil, toasted pumpkin seeds and brown butter.
27 Fletcher Ave., Sarasota, (941) 552-9131, bavarospizza.com
The new kid on the block, Bavaro's serves a number of pastas in addition to its pizza selection. I'm a fan of the linguine con vongole, made with clams, white wine, garlic and parsley.