At home with Pasta Piatti

Every well-stocked kitchen should have a collection of take-out and delivery menus.

These vital supplies for lazy days are equally at home stuck on a college-aged slacker's fridge full of nothing but beer or tucked in the back of grandma's recipe box filled with family favorites.

My own collection, gathered in a magnetic clip attached to the side of my refrigerator, recently welcomed a new list from Pasta Piatti. The Ashland trattoria opened in 2004, offering traditional Italian dishes featuring local ingredients, but it added delivery in February.

Delivering a pizza is fairly simple, so that was my first choice when I called on Pasta Piatti to bring dinner to my door. My husband and I chose a pizza called Tre, topped with wild mushrooms, sausage and green olives, for our regular pizza-and-movie night at home on the couch. For delivery, Pasta Piatti offers a choice of the 10-inch pie served in their dining room or an 18-inch option.

The pizza, an 18-inch version for $18.95, was at our doorstep in record time, and the toppings were perfect. The melange of mushrooms included crimini, enoki and others that added a variety of textures and earthy flavors. The sausage was nicely spicy and not too greasy, while the pimento-stuffed green olives added a piquant tang that complemented the flavorful tomato sauce and rich cheese.

With Pasta Piatti proving its delivery crew was every bit as capable as the attentive staff in its dining room, the next time around we ordered pastas — fettuccine alfredo for $8.95 and a sausage and meatball ragu for $11.50 — and a Caesar salad for $6.95.

The Caesar was a lovely log-pile of leaves from the heart of a Romaine, lightly dressed in a classic Caesar dressing and topped with mounds of shredded Romano cheese, crunchy croutons and a wedge of lemon to squeeze on some extra zing. Eating at home means you can pick up lettuce leaves and nibble them out of hand, then lick your fingers. Yum.

The alfredo sauce, spiked with nutmeg, was just as rich and delicious as when I've had it in the restaurant's comfortable dining room, which is decorated in Tuscan tones.

But it was the meatballs I fell for — big and beefy, firm and flavorful, swimming in savory sauce. And instead of on top of spaghetti, these meatballs and the accompanying sausage are served on bucatini, a long, thin, ridged tubular pasta that looks like spaghetti at first glance, but soaks up sauces and surprises the mouth with its texture.

Magnificent meatballs also are available sliced on a pizza, or, at lunchtime, in a sub-style sandwich. Sandwich delivery stops at 4 p.m.

The delivery menu also includes dessert — tiramisu — and beer and a reasonably priced selection of wines.

A larger selection of dishes from the restaurant's menu is available for take-out if you swing by and pick it up yourself.

And, of course, for the full Pasta Piatti experience — including friendly professional service, relaxing dining room and street-side patio — stop by the restaurant.

Pasta Piatti normally delivers inside of Ashland only, but for large, pre-arranged orders, they are willing to go outside the city's borders.

But when you feel too lazy to even put on your shoes and go out, a delicious dinner is just a phone call away.

— Anita Burke

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