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Gemelli Pasta Dish at Gemelli
The best pasta dishes are often hearty, simple and made with premium ingredients that allow authentic flavors to shine.
So it is with the signature “Gemelli” dish at Gemelli restaurant in Asheville, where both the dish and the restaurant—whose names mean “twins” in Italian—are fitting tributes to the twin daughters of chef and owner Anthony Cerrato, who also owns the popular downtown eatery Strada Italiano.
The foundation of the Gemelli dish is the pasta—a shape also called gemelli, with each piece made from a double strand twisted together. Here it’s made in-house and infused with paprika.
But many of the flavor profiles, reminiscent of Southern Italian cuisines, come from the beautifully aromatic sauce and a housemade lamb sausage, which is mixed with tender florets of broccolini to create a nice texture.
As one of the more substantial pastas, gemelli is often prepared with sausage and can hold its own against bigger bites of flavorful meat. In this case, the sausage is made from lamb sourced from a sustainable farm in Pennsylvania and then seasoned and cured for two days for a rich warmth. The sauce, meanwhile, blends butter and white wine (a private label Gemelli wine from Italy) with the salty and umami heaven of white anchovies from Sicily. The dish is then topped with shavings of a sharp grana padano from the Po River Valley in Italy.
Gemelli, the dish, is served year-round at Gemelli, the restaurant, and has become a fan favorite with what Cerrato calls “fresh and simple, and yet evocative flavors.”
“Pasta is always well-loved, but there’s a real difference when it’s handmade and fresh—and then we get the brightness of the anchovy popping against the hearty warmth of the lamb,” Cerrato says. “It’s really a perfect pasta for any season.”