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For Ty Leon, fresh pasta is not just a passion but also a subject worthy of intense scholarship. In fact, in 2019, the chef took himself on a study-abroad program of sorts, working and learning at some of the country’s best noodle joints, including Lilia in Brooklyn and Flour & Water in San Francisco. Leon spent between four and six weeks at each restaurant, absorbing all he could about doughs and shapes and sauces. Today, you can taste what he gleaned from those experiences via Washington Park’s Restaurant Olivia (formerly Café Marmotte), where Leon is currently crafting at least 20 pounds of dough for fresh mafaldine, spaghetti, and more each morning for carryout and delivery. Choose a finished dish such as fusilli with brown-butter alfredo and pine nuts or take-and-bake lasagna ($20 for two servings; $40 for four to six)—or give yourself a hands-on seminar with one of Leon’s pasta kits (pictured above). It’s all akin to an edible graduate thesis that needs no defense whatsoever.
Leon makes his dough with whole eggs plus extra yolks and uses a La Monferrina bronze-die extruder to create short shapes like radiatore. Fewer eggs go into firmer, drier doughs that are perfect for long noodles, such as spaghetti and mafaldine.
It takes Leon two days to craft his meaty beef Bolognese, which is finished with milk and cream. The vegetarian pomodoro sauce is just as full-flavored, thanks to toasted garlic, San Marzano tomatoes, and plenty of chile flakes.
Focaccia ($6) dusted with Parmigiano-Reggiano and herbs is baked fresh daily at Restaurant Olivia, based on a recipe Leon learned at Lilia. It’s practically required eating with your at-home pasta dinner.
Restaurant Olivia’s pasta kits change daily, but the $35 DIY dinners always include enough food for four people, with your choice of one sauce and one pasta shape. Throw in an extra $10 and Leon and his team will donate a kit to a local family in need.