Restaurateurs Nick Hufft and Lon Marchand are known for inventive casual concepts like Overpass Merchant, Curbside Burgers and Gail’s Ice Cream. But lately, they’ve been spending a lot of time on pasta.
More than a year ago, the business partners started an artisan pasta division called Il Supremo, which makes small-batch, dried pasta for their restaurants and a growing number of others across the Gulf South.
Get a taste of the pasta in Baton Rouge at Overpass Merchant. Tube-like bucatini is plated in the Garlic Chicken Pasta. Short, twisted gemelli is the star of the Shrimp Pesto Pasta, and Veal Bolognese is served with creste di bruco, an elbow macaroni with ridged fins.
The three pasta types are part of a revolving door of unexpected shapes that are both fun to eat and hold sauce well. Watch for the flower-like fiori this spring, as well as pappardelle with spicy lamb gochujang sauce, Hufft says.
The pasta is made in New Orleans, where it’s sold at weekly pop-ups and on the menu of another Hufft Marchand Hospitality eatery, Junior’s on Harrison. It’s served in about 20 other restaurants between Houston and Florida’s 30A, Hufft says.
The fun part has been using dies (the cutters used to create shapes) to make varieties you don’t see every day, he adds.
“When we get new dies, chefs get excited about how to use them with seasonal sauces,” Hufft says.
Elsewhere, Nino’s chef Elton Hyndman has made a point of making and serving his own fresh pasta since he took over the restaurant’s operations back in 2009.
“It was the first decision we made,” says Hyndman, who had previously worked in restaurants in New Mexico where he learned to make fresh pasta.
Nino’s pasta is made by hand daily with coarse-ground semolina and features a tender texture, Hyndman says.
The dough is run through an extruder outfitted with dies to make spaghetti, used in Nino’s housemade Bolognese and the Lombardia with fresh shrimp, capers and lemon garlic butter.
Hyndman also makes lumache, a small shell-like pasta, for both red and white Ragu, and the S-shaped tube pasta, casarecce, for Puttanesca, a traditional rustic pasta of tomatoes, capers, olives and other pantry items.
“Fresh pasta is so different from dried pasta,” Hyndman says. “I mean, dried pasta is great—everyone loves dried pasta—but fresh has a very specific texture and mouthfeel you don’t get from dried.” theoverpassmerchant.com and ninos-italian.com
This article was originally published in the February 2024 issue of 225 magazine.