Five years ago when chef Federico Perandin opened Il Pastaficio in Cos Cob’s Mill Pond, residents from all parts of Greenwich and beyond responded enthusiastically to his artisanal pastas.
Handmade with special grains and flours from Italy, non-bleached and with no preservatives, the pastas are light and healthy.
Foodies delight at Perandin’s creativity, and stand wide-eyed before the display cases of tantalizing pastas in different colors and shapes.
This week Perandin and his wife Anissa Nouhi shared a secret they have been keeping for several. Il Pastaficio was selected for an episode of Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives program on the Food Network, where Fieri road trips across the US, exploring eateries and a new generation of owners and delicious homemade food.
The episode, titled “From Chicken to Noodles,” airs this Friday, October 13 at 9:00pm. Locally, Food Network is on channel 29 for Optimum customers. Check your cable guide or your channel.
This week Perandin shared the process of being selected for the program and the dishes Fieri chose to prepare with Perandin for Friday’s episode.
Initially a customer recommended Il Pastaficio for consideration for Fieri’s program.
The producers contacted Perandin in April saying he was being considered.
“We couldn’t’ believe it,” Nouhi said. “They asked us to put together a proposal of five dishes for them to consider.”
When they were selected, Perandin and Nouhi were overwhelmed.
“We were crying. We were crying and jumping up in the air. It was a dream come true,” she said.
Ultimately the two dishes chosen were Bigoli con Ragu’ d’Anatra, which is Bigoli pasta with fresh duck ragu, a dish typical of the area of Venice and Padova (Veneto region) in Italy where Perandin is from. Bigoli is a type of fresh pasta made only in that region.
Nouhi said the Bigoli dish is unique Veneto.
“Even me, I’m from Milan and we don’t have it. The dish is over 200 years old, and deeply rooted in the culture of the region.”
“It’s made with grappa,” she added. “For Federico he was very proud it was chosen because it was part of his culture, his childhood and his family.”
The second dish chosen was Perandin’s Truffle Lasagna, “Lasagna al Tartufo,” one of his first creations when he launched Pastaficio in 2018.
“Of course we have the original Lasagna Bolognese made with the traditional recipe, but Federico wanted an upscale dish you can serve at an elegant dinner,” Nouhi explained. “What’s better than an elegant truffle?”
Perandin said once they were selected events unfolded quickly and a crew came to Cos Cob and filmed for two days in May.
“When they came in here, it was very professional but very friendly,” Perandin said. “It was like having a friend you invited, a well known friend, but you say say welcome to my house. Let’s do something fun together.”
“He is an idol for me,” he said of Fieri. “Also in Italy we have the same show with him translated. It’s international!”
“You see someone on TV and then he walks into your store and asks how you’re doing and maybe you saw him the night before on TV. At first sight, you’re star stuck,” Nouhi said, adding, “It came across as just two friends chit-chatting and cooking together, but when we went home that night we sere sitting on the couch, saying to each other, ‘Do you realize, we’re going to be on the Food Network!”
Perandin and Nouhi have more great news. In September they opened a restaurant in Westport.
A portion of the Westport location is just like Cos Cob, with fresh pastas, sauces and desserts, all made in house. But there is also a full restaurant with a full selection of main courses, and even a liquor license with Italian wines, beers and cocktails on offer. And of course there are appetizers and salads and all Perandin’s creative pasta dishes, and then some!
Perandin said an experiment at home for his 8-year-old son has become a hit. One night he was making gnocchi and wondered how they’d taste if they were fried.
That was the night “Gnocchets,” short for Gli Gnocchi Fritti de Il Pastaficio, were born.
The tasty bite sized fried gnocchis are typically served with a marinara sauce.
“They’re like nuggets – simple and fun, and on the menu in Westport,” he said.
Nouhi and Perandin described their Greenwich customers as unafraid of exploring and trying new foods and restaurants.
“I love how well versed they are. They’re foodies and they’re international,” Nouhi said. “They love to enjoy their life and go out and eat well. They don’t just stay in Greenwich. If there is something new, interesting and good they will travel.”
Perandin said many regular Greenwich customers have been frequenting the new Westport restaurant, some from even further afield.
Nouhi said there is one New York City couple who come to Cos Cob every Sunday for lunch at Il Pastaficio.
Here are some of the popular dishes in Westport. (Both of the dishes featured on Fieri’s show are available to customers in both Greenwich and in Westport.)
Click here for the Westport menu.
Il Pastaficio Westport located in Sconset Square at 135 Post Road East. Tel. (203) 557-6299
In Greenwich Il Pastaficio is located in the Mill Pond Shopping Center at 213 East Putnam Ave in Cos Cob.
Tel (203) 900.1199
email [email protected]