Italian Nice

Friendly, homestyle Italian—that’s not in the North End

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omemade pasta is hard to beat: tender curls of fusilli surrounded by fresh vegetables and a creamy tomato sauce. At least, that’s how it comes at Carlo’s Cucina Italiana, a tiny mom-and-pop restaurant that’s a closely guarded local secret for its great, low-price Italian cuisine outside the crowded, touristy North End. The pasta is what’s special here, from the pasta a la Patrizia to the fusilli con salsiccia and broccoli rabe—soft fusilli, sweet, salty sausage, and bitter broccoli rabe with garlic. There are also simple starters, fresh soups, and other hearty entrees that will hit the spot. The portions are huge, and owners Carlo and Irene Barone (she cooks) and their daughters, who will likely serve your meal, are friendly hosts, while the intimate atmosphere also makes it a great place for a cheap date. The wine list is surprisingly good, too. Tuder

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The average American consumes 35 pounds of pasta annually. Sales of pasta products in the United States total $6.4 billion a year.

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