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Best-Looking Pasta Dish San Francisco 2010 - The timballo di maccheroni at Quince

The timballo di maccheroni at Quince

The timballo di maccheroni at Quince

470 Pacific

San Francisco, CA 94133

415-775-8500

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Michael Tusk makes pasta with the same skill and focus as a 16th-century Venetian weaver or an Ottoman calligrapher. The man seems to spin his gossamer sheets and shapes out of a floury mist instead of kneading and rolling them. The skins of his agnolotti and fagotelli are almost translucent, his tagliolini drape and fold like silk. And while pasta often looks more humble than it tastes, this spring, Tusk created a spectacle: a ring of 3-inch-high tubes he titled a timballo di maccheroni, stood on end and filled with a pecorino-nettle béchamel sauce. The pasta fort, steamed until al dente, enclosed a mound of shredded lamb, with a few deep-green nettle leaves for garnish and a drizzle of lamb jus around the plate. It recalled the days when we used to gingerly deconstruct tower food, only without the potential for ruining the tablecloth and our shirts should the food come tumbling down in the wrong way. 

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