Photos by kc kratt
Traditionally, garganelli is an egg-based pasta, hand-rolled and not dissimilar to penne with its short, tubular shape. Sometimes, garganelli is rolled smooth; other times it’s created using a textured board, which leaves a ridged pattern, allowing sauce to cling. In addition to its eggy flavor profile, garganelli dough also incorporates freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and nutmeg.
At Craving, chef and owner, Adam Goetz, serves only handmade pasta, and the variety and number of pasta options available each day varies. Such is the case with the Hertel Avenue restaurant’s entire menu, since it’s based each day on what its farm suppliers have available. The flexibility this demands from the kitchen is extraordinary, and Craving hedges its weather-sensitive bets by preserving as much of the season as possible to insure it has a well-stocked pantry at all times. “We have two small garbage cans in our kitchen and I’d be surprised if we’ve ever filled both of them more than halfway,” Goetz reports. “We don’t throw food away here. Not ever.”
Goetz and his team use a different pasta dough for each shape of pasta they make. “I use a Phillips brand extruder, which is really meant for home use, but we only do a handful of pastas that require an extruder; we make most of the pasta a piece at a time with our hands.” Making one pasta dough (not to mention many) requires a lot of tweaking and even more comfortability with the dough and process than one might imagine. As with any flour-based recipe, the weather and humidity necessitate careful and constant adjustment.
When it comes to the garganelli, Craving most often serves this dish with a dark and sexy ragu made with veal from East Aurora’s Erbe Verda Farm. Goetz prides himself on getting a hundred percent yield on the animals he buys in whole from farmers. In this instance, he’ll roast the veal bones in several ways, which provides him with a freezer full of stocks that vary ever-so-subtly in flavor. His “stock library,” as he calls it, may feature any number of veal stocks, like one that’s heavy on tomatoes, or another that’s more deeply roasted. In addition to a really good stock, the use of the neck is the tip he’d most recommend to homecooks: “Most people don’t realize that the neck is really just so full of flavor.” He also uses shoulder cuts to make sure the ragu is full of tender pieces of meat.
Due to the labor involved in making this dish, Craving only offers its Garganelli with Veal Ragu in a small plate portion, but the buttery lushness of its intense and hearty sauce against the perfectly toothsome pasta promises any guest a satisfying dining experience.