They all buy their fresh pastas from a shop called Raffetto’s, located in Greenwich Village—or as I like to call it, the Chefs’ Top Secret Pasta Headquarters. Since 1906, the Raffetto family has been quietly and steadily cranking out glorious homemade pastas, gnocchi, raviolis and pasta sauces both for wholesale and retail. Their customer base is vast, as they supply most of the city’s finest restaurants and hotels such as The Russian Tea Room, Waldorf Astoria and Il Mulino. Chances are, if you have dined in New York’s high end restaurants, you’ve had Raffeto’s pastas.
Walking in the cozy shop, you are greeted with a wall of dry Italian goods on the left and a refrigerated case of sauces and raviolis on the right. If fresh pasta is more your thing (and it should be!), check out the menu on the wall for a list of pastas made fresh that day.
Once you make your choice, an associate swiftly cuts the pasta to your specification and wraps it in a neat little package ready to be brought home. Neat eh? Wanting to try more flavors, I got myself half a pound of squid ink pasta cut in the linguine style and the chestnut pasta cut in the pappardelle style.
The best part? Their unbelievable price. The two pastas and a container of their homemade pink sauce costed a grand total of $10. Expect to pay triple the price at Dean & Deluca, which by the way, buys their fresh pasta from Raffetto’s!
If you have time, say hi to Andrew, the grandson of founder Marcello Raffetto. He now runs the business with his brother Richard and mother Romano. Although he’s quite busy, he doesn’t hesitate to stop and point you to good eats around the city or tell you a tale or two about pastas!
That night, armed with my purchases, I pretended to toil in the kitchen to create a pasta dinner for my friend and host. In reality, it took me less than 15 to boil the pasta, heat up the sauce and toss the two together along with grilled sausage and sautéed veggies. Bellissima!