The best way to familiarize oneself with a different country's culture is to spend 10–15 years in one of its maximum-security prisons, but the second-best way is to taste its cuisine. Learn about Italy with today's Groupon: for $20, you get $40 worth of homemade Italian pasta, sauces, and Italian specialties at Frank Velleggia's Casa di Pasta.
An Italian grocery run by the Velleggia family for more than 40 years, Casa di Pasta stocks the shelves and display cases of its Little Italy location with more than 30 different styles of homemade pasta, as well as sauces and Italian eats. Casa di Pasta's staff starts with all-natural, fresh ingredients to create the carb strings and shapes, such as fettuccine, linguine, and tortellini, that populate its retail menu. Non-filled noodles come in a variety of tastes, such as saffron ($5.50/half lb.) and squid ink ($6.50/half lb.). Stuffed pasta, such as the asparagus ravioli ($7.90/dozen) and the manicotti with spinach ($9.95/half-dozen), oozes with cheese, meat, vegetables, and career advice. Scoop up an armful of gnocchi swaddling potatoes ($5.50/lb.), or fill plastic-bag-lined trousers with clusters of beet-and-blue-cheese ravioli ($7.85/dozen). Casa di Pasta also dishes up premade meals, homemade pasta sauces, and a host of authentic gourmet Italian groceries. The shop's Italian décor of white countertops, maroon walls, decorative signs, and Michelangelo pasta artwork gives the space an Old World feel.
Frank Velleggia's Casa di Pasta
The Velleggia family first laid their roots in Little Italy in 1970, establishing a specialty grocery store where they began to sell a combination of imported and housemade Italian foods. Relying on time-tested traditions and natural ingredients, they continue their culinary venture in much the same manner today. The highlight at Casa di Pasta is the store's homemade and hand-cut pastas, from gnocchi and tortellini to 26 kinds of ravioli stuffed with the likes of butternut squash, lobster, or smoked mozzarella and mushroom. Premade pans of lasagna and frozen italian sausages round out the selection of homemade goods that customers can pick up for nightly dinners or to feed groups at parties. Coolers and shelves also brim with olive oils, vinegars, breads, sweets, and cheeses imported directly from the Old World.